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Private Zion Day Trip from Las Vegas

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All reviews afraid of heights walter's wiggles half mile scout lookout final ascent coming down take your time great hike chain section strenuous hike steep switchbacks west rim trail both sides decent shape amazing views be patient worth the effort
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Reviewed September 7, 2016

This is one of the most famous hikes in the world, let alone Zion National Park. The Narrows hike has had more fatalities, and the Observation Point longer with more elevation gain, but the Angel's Landing hike has its claim to notoriety in Zion Park.

I started off the hike by myself, as the wife was ill with an airline cold, and would have been scared to death of the heights.

I got off the free Zion park shuttle at the #6 Grotto stop, only a mile from where I was staying at the Zion Lodge. Elevation 3700', 930am..

The first part of the hike is along the West Rim Trail, a dirt trail with a gradual rise, running alongside the Virgin River, inside the Zion Canyon. Orange, brown. yellow, and red colored, layered Navajo sandstone walls rising up to 2300 feet, above the green vegetation and trees alongside the river.

The trail becomes paved concrete blocks, suitable for strollers and even wheel chaired grannies, provided your grandson(s) has a lot of muscle. I see a 6 year old girl hiking, even though the signs say not for children or anyone fearful of heights. No dogs and no bicycles allowed.

It's the last week of April, and daylight temperatures will peak in the mid 80s. However, this side of the trail is in the shade most of the morning. You do not want to do this trail during the peak season of summer, when canyon temperatures will rise into triple digits.

The trail becomes steeper and steeper, changing from a long gradual ascent, to long switchbacks, many underneath overhangs in the cliff face, with stone edges alongside the outside of the trail, in case someone slips.

Up and up I go, pausing often at the beginning to get used to the 4,000 feet altitude. Oxygen depleted atmosphere, with me taking deeper and deeper breaths to go up that mountain.

Eventually I reach the top of the first stage of the mountain. Here I go through a water carved canyon between two massive cliffs, the canyon being only about 40 feet wide, with a level path carved into the side of one of the cliffs. Windy and cool here, as the sunshine can't reach the bottom of the canyon.

After about a 10 minute walk, I start the second series of switchbacks, called Walter wiggles, this one a short series of very steep switchbacks, paved with ridged concrete for traction during the rain or snow. The trail is so steep its like going up a circular staircase, but without the stairs. Glancing down one can see at least half a dozen switchbacks, all full of people mainly in their 20s. Teenage girls in Chacko hiking sandals, guys in tennis shoes.

Eventually the switchbacks end, and we reach Scout's landing, after about 105 minutes of hiking, and a 1070 foot elevation gain. Awesome views of the canyon below, with a few adults carrying babies on their backs stopping here. .

Two porta potties at the landing, not mentioned in the tail literature.

The next part of the hike is to Angel's Landing, and involves using steel chain cables anchored into the Navajo sandstone rock. One needs to do rock climbing here, with narrow toe holds, while pulling oneself up on the steel chain cables, stretched up the mountain side. The lady in front of me, who has jumped out of airplanes at altitude, has a brief panic moment, and freezes in the middle of the cables. What ever you do, don't look down, lady!

One way route. Meet someone part way up, and someone has to let go of the chains. One guy wearing tennis shoes, slips a step on the sandy surface, while going around someone going the other way. Scary moment. Definitely only for people wearing hiking boots with grips on the bottom of the toes.

Eventually one reaches the ridge running up the top of the mountain. Half a mile, with 300 feet elevation gain, maybe 10-15 feet wide, with a chain cable running down the center. Exposed area with high winds. Signs warn of half a dozen deaths at this place since 2004. Warnings against climbing in the rain, snow, high winds, thunderstorms, or dwindling daylight.

One side of the ridge is a sheer cliff wall, while the other side of the ridge is steep drop off. One wrong step and it's 1400 feet to the bottom below. At 92 feet per second, you will have 15 seconds to live, turning a Kodak moment, into an Hasta La Vista moment, to quote our ex Governor.

During this free weekend, there are hordes of people climbing those last half mile, to the 5170' Angel Landing plateau, at the end of the ridge. Me, I'm not ready to meet the angels yet, and turn back after going through two series of cable chains alongside the side of the mountain.

Got to get ready for the Observation Point hike, which overlooks Angel Landing.

130pm, I'm safe and sound back to the start of the trail head, after 3.5 hours hiking, 5 miles and 1500 feet elevation gain.

Date of experience: April 2016
9  Thank Robert C
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed September 7, 2016

Do not be deceived by the initial gentle sections. The switchback section is very steep . The section past Scout's lookout is very narrow, is not sealed and requires climbing up rocks, often with the aid of a chain that needs both hands to pull yourself up. There is very little room to pass other hikers that are going the other way. The top has NO fences. Any stumbles could result in serious falls and signs indicate that unfortunately people have died falling from this section. However, having said that, the view was spectacular. Start as early as is safe and allow 4 hours for this hike. Take water.

Date of experience: September 2016
Thank pen_52
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed September 7, 2016

I recommend taking the first shuttle out of the Visitor's center at 6 am. Especially if you visit on holidays or weekends. We hiked this on Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Got to the shuttle line at 5:45 am and were the first ones. Within 10 minutes there were about 30-40 people behind us. Not only did we get to beat the crowds, but the heat of the day as well.

The hike isn't super strenuous until you get to the cables part. Then you are climbing up rocks and holding on to the cables for dear life, hoping not to fall off the 1000 foot cliff next to you. I saw many people turn back and I almost did myself. It was definitely a stomach churning hike. The views were absolutely stunning but not sure I would do this one again!!!

Date of experience: September 2016
1  Thank fleetfeet954
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed September 6, 2016 via mobile

One of our first hikes in the park. We're an active couple and love a challenge. We got on the first 6am shuttle as this one gets busy and you don't want to do the top with people to pass. It starts out as a nice path leading up to the mountain. You pick up elevation and once you're at Walters Wiggles you really get a workout. The top, last section, is narrow but accessible for many different abilities with patience and by using the chain. At the top there is room for many people and wonderful pictures of the valley below. Be careful on the descent as many of the rocks can be slick. A must do!

Date of experience: August 2016
Thank smrducs
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed September 5, 2016 via mobile

If you are unsure- DO NOT DO THIS HIKE. It requires a lot of courage. There are some points where you are holding on to a rock and letting people (sometimes 20) come down when you are climbing up and vice versa. It was so awesome once we had gone up and then down as down is difficult too.
If you do this. Enjoy every moment

Date of experience: September 2016
1  Thank WaverleyGK
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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