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Few hikes can hold a candle to Zion’s daring Angels Landing. Here is your step-by-step guide (with MAP and PHOTOS) on how to hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout.

Zion National Park At-A-Glance

Before diving in, here are a few Zion National Park highlights to help you plan your trip:

  • Best Time to Visit Zion National Park

Zion National Park is a great destination to visit at any time of the year. And, it is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. I have visited Zion so many times at different times of the year and I have to honestly say that it is an awesome place to see no matter what month you visit!

Needless to say, April and May and then September and October, are my favorite months to visit Zion National Park. The temperatures are mild with daytime temps in the 60s and 70s F. You will see fewer crowds as well and have some serene experiences on trails and at viewpoints.

Summer is the high season. Expect a lot of companionship on the trails and everywhere throughout the park. The temperatures skyrocket as well ranging from the high 80s to 100s F.

Winter is a good time to visit Zion National Park. Above all, you will be able to find some solitude. Snow seldom reaches the canyon floor and that being the case, the scenic drive and some hiking can be enjoyed during that time. Temperatures can range from low 50s to sometimes low 70s F. However, make sure to check the weather and local snow conditions. Make sure that the trails you are planning to hike are clear and safe.

  • Where to Stay When Visiting Zion National Park

Hands down, nothing beats staying inside the park! However, accommodations inside the park are very limited and you will need to make reservations at least a year in advance. Zion Lodge is the only hotel inside the park. It is open year-round and has several different types of accommodations like cabins, hotel rooms, and suites.

Zion National Park has three campgrounds. South and Watchman Campgrounds are inside the Zion Canyon, Lava Point Campground is about 1-hour drive from Zion Canyon on the Kolob Terrace Road. Reservations are required at South and Watchman Campgrounds.

Springdale, UT is conveniently right at the entrance to Zion and it is the perfect getaway to Zion National Park. I stayed in Springdale several times and my two top choices are Hampton Inn & Suites Springdale/Zion National Park, and SpringHill Suites by Marriott Springdale Zion National Park. Both places are clean and comfortable, and the location is perfect.

  • How to Get to Zion National Park

The closest International Airports to Zion National Park that you can fly into are located in Las Vegas (LAS), Nevada, and Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah. There are smaller Regional Airports in St. George (SGU), Utah, and Cedar City (CDC), Utah. I use Skyscanner to browse flights and find the best price.

  • How to Get Around in Zion National Park

If you are visiting Zion National Park between the months of March through November, then you will have to use the shuttle. No private vehicles are allowed inside the park. The cost of the shuttle is included in your recreational use pass. You can hop on and hop off at any of the shuttle stops.

There are two shuttle routes: Zion Canyon Shuttle, which runs along the Zion Scenic Drive and makes 9 stops at viewpoints and trailheads, and Springdale Shuttle which stops at 9 locations in the town of Springdale and picks up and drops off visitors at the park’s pedestrian/bike entrance.

  • How Much Does It Cost to Vist Zion National Park

In order to visit Zion National Park, you need to purchase a recreational day-use pass, which costs $35 per vehicle and is good for 7 consecutive days. You can purchase the pass right at the entrance to the park. If you are visiting several national parks then make sure to get America the Beautiful National Park Pass. This $80 pass is valid for 12 months and gets you into all 400+ national park sites!

How to Get a Permit to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

Important: Effective April 1, 2022, in response to concerns about crowding and congestion on the trail, everyone who hikes to Angels Landing needs to have a permit.

  • Specifically, you can hike the West Rim Trail from the trailhead at the Grotto to Scout Lookout without a permit. However, a permit is required from Scouts Lookout to Angels Landing.
  • Permits to hike are issued by lottery in two-time frames: seasonally (1-3 months prior) and day-before (1 day prior).
  • Permits are issued for three different time slots each day. Each time slot represents a time range during which a hike should begin from the Grotto in Zion Canyon (for example, someone with a ‘Before 9 AM’ permit may begin their hike any time prior to 9 AM at the Grotto).
  • For both seasonal and day-before lotteries, applicants may enter each lottery once and apply for a permit for up to six people (including the applicant). When applying, up to seven dates or date ranges along with preferred start times may be selected in preference order.
  • There is a $6 non-refundable application fee. Applicants issued permits will be charged a $3 per-person fee.
  • The confirmation email will need to be shown (printed or downloaded) to park staff on the day of your hike.
  • Angels Landing permits are available only through lotteries on Recreation.gov.

Intrepid’s Tip:

Permits are issued for three different time slots each day.

  • Before 9 am
  • Between 9 am and 12 pm
  • After 12 pm

Make sure to apply for a permit with a time slot scheduled for ‘before 9 am’. Get on the first shuttle at 6 am. Be the first in line at the Grotto Trailhead  (Zion Shuttle Stop #6) after the shuttle drops you off. This is the best time to hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout. You will have the entire place pretty much to yourself.

What You Need to Know About Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout Hike in Zion National Park

  • Angels Landing is a strenuous hike. The entire hike is pretty much straight up. You need to be in good physical shape to be able to do it.
  • Angels Landing hike is not for people with a fear of heights. The last section of the trail is on the narrow spine of the mountain. You will have to use chains to help you up.
  • Before you reach the chains, there is a spot to rest. I recommend that you take the time to regroup and get your energy back. It is a place where you can make the decision if you are up for the final stretch.
  • The trail can be hiked year-round, but in winter it is not uncommon to find ice and snow on the trail, so bring crampons or similar traction devices. In addition, the conditions might be dangerous during the winter months, so check with park rangers before attempting to hike Angels Landing Trail.
  • The sun exposure in the summer months can be extreme so hiking early in the day is best. In addition, the trail gets crowded during the summer months, so be patient and cordial.

Map of Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout Hike

Map of Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park

Map of Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park. Image Credit: NPS / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout in Zion National Park - Step-By- Step Guide

  • Roundtrip Distance: 5 miles
  • Trail Location: The Grotto (Zion Shuttle Stop #6)
  • Time: 4-6 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 feet
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Keep in mind that Angels Landing Trail is 2.5 miles one-way. It does not sound like a long hike, right?

Yes, 2.5 miles does not sound like a long hike. However, the elevation gain is 1,500 feet!

  • Grotto trailhead is located at an elevation of 4,300 ft. From Grotto trailhead to Refrigerator Canyon, it is a 600 ft ascent.
  • Refrigerator Canyon is located at an elevation of 4,900 ft. From Refrigerator Canyon to Scouts Lookout, is a 450 ft ascent.
  • Scouts Lookout is located at an elevation of 5,350 ft. From Scouts Lookout to Angels Landing, it is a 440 ft ascent.
  • Angels Landing is located at the elevation of 5,790 ft.

Angels Landing Trail starts at the Grotto Trailhead (Zion Shuttle Stop #6).

To begin with, cross the hiker’s bridge over the Virgin River and follow the trail.

You are now hiking along West Rim Trail.

The trail remains at an easy grade as it approaches the lower cliffs blocking the entrance to Refrigerator Canyon.

At 1.2 miles you will get to Refrigerator Canyon. It is a straight, shaded canyon named for its cool temperature year-round. It is a good spot to give your heart, lungs, and legs a break.

Next, as you get closer to the lower cliffs the trail begins a series of switchbacks. Although the switchbacks are wiggly, these are not the famous Walter’s Wiggles yet. You will reach them later on.

The first series of switchbacks will take you to the top of the ridge above Refrigerator Canyon.

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

The trail remains at a steady grade as it approaches the ridge above the Refrigerator Canyon. / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

Next, continue for about 0.6 miles. Subsequently, the trail mostly levels out, giving you a chance to recuperate a little bit before you hit one of the most famous sections of the trail, namely Walter’s Wiggles. Also, the views get so much better!

In my opinion, Walter’s Wiggles is the most grueling section of the trail. Each wiggle is a short switchback. There are a total of 21 of these wiggles that track back and forth!

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

Walter’s Wiggles is the most grueling section of the trail. Each wiggle is a short switchback / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

After you conquer the wiggles, you will be on the way to Scout’s Lookout. It is 0.2 miles from the end of Walter’s Wiggles to Scout’s Lookout.

Also, at this point, you leave West Rim Trail and continue on Angels Landing Trail.

The views get better and better. If you look down, you will be able to see the canyon below and the Organ. 

The Organ is a  400-foot high rib that juts out to the east of Angels Landing above the Virgin River. It derives its name from its many tall crack systems resembling organ pipes.

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

If you look down, you will be able to see the canyon below and the Organ. The Organ is a  400-foot high rib that juts out to the east of Angels Landing above the Virgin River / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

The Organ is a  400-foot high rib that juts out to the east of Angels Landing above the Virgin River. It derives its name from its many tall crack systems resembling organ pipes / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

Ahead of you is the seemingly impossible last half-mile of the trail leading to Angels Landing. You are going to hike on the near-vertical knife-edge of a rock.

You will be using chains anchored to the cliff walls to help you get higher up. There are guard rails as well as some steep carved steps to steady your climb.

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

Ahead of you is the seemingly impossible last half-mile of the trail leading to Angels Landing. You are going to hike on the near-vertical knife-edge of a rock / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

You will be using chains anchored to the cliff walls to help you get higher up. There are guard rails as well as some steep carved steps to steady your climb / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

For many, this is the stopping point. And, I want to stress that it is ok!

If you are not up to the final stretch, it is just fine! You can rest here, and then make your way down the trail.

If you decide to continue, then I recommend that you take your time and rest at this point. Once you are ready, begin your final ascent. Take your time and go slow, there is no need to rush.

Make sure to grasp the chain with all your strength and gradually pull yourself up. Get a good foothold. Once you get the rhythm going, you will be gaining the height.

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

Make sure to grasp the chain with all your strength and gradually pull yourself up. Get a good foothold / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

Once you get the rhythm going, you will be gaining the height / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

If you decide to continue through the final stretch, take your time and go slow / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

Soon, the unrelenting steepness of the trail eases and you will reach a large, mostly flat plateau.

Congratulations, you reached the top of Angels Landing. You are rewarded with amazing views!

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

Soon, the unrelenting steepness of the trail eases and you will reach a large, mostly flat plateau / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout 

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

Eventually, you will reach a large plateau and you will get a chance to enjoy incredible views / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

To the north, you can see Zion Canyon all the way up to the Temple of Sinawava.

To the south, you can see the Great White Throne, and directly east you can make out the trail to Echo Canyon/Observation Point as it climbs out of the canyon.

Now, when you are ready to get back, retrace your steps. Ahead of you is a long descent back to where you started. Take your time and enjoy the views along the way!

How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

To the south, you can see the Great White Throne, and directly east you can make out the trail to Echo Canyon/Observation Point as it climbs out of the canyon / How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Landing

What to Pack for Angels Landing Hike

I have seen many visitors to Zion National Park hiking in their flip-flops, without any sun protection, and above all with no water. Following is a simple list of what to pack for your visit to Zion:

  • Appropriate footwear

Trail shoes are great; hiking boots are even better since they offer more support. You’ll want sturdy, comfortable hiking boots with solid traction. Don’t forget to break in your shoes before bringing them to Zion National Park. Also, do not forget merino wool socks. They will keep your feet dry, and protect you from blisters.

  • Plenty of water

Without enough water, your body’s muscles and organs simply cannot perform as well. Consuming too little water will not only make you thirsty but susceptible to hypothermia and altitude sickness. I have been using Yeti Rumbler 26 oz insulated, stainless steel bottle, and I am highly recommending it!

  • Food

Food will help keep up energy and morale. I like RXBAR. It is a high-protein bar, gluten-free, and it is super yummy! Make sure to get a variety pack to keep it interesting.

  • Rain gear and extra clothing

The weatherman is not always right. Be prepared for unannounced rain or a cold spell. Dress in layers. It will allow you to adjust to changing weather and activity levels. Two rules: avoid cotton (it keeps moisture close to your skin) and always carry a hat. I have had my North Face Women’s Osito Triclimate Jacket for years, and I love it. Also, I am highly recommending these Patagonia moisture-wicking hiking shirts and Patagonia warm fleece pullovers.

  • First aid kit

Prepackaged first-aid kits for hikers are available at any outfitter.

  • Knife

A knife or even better, a multi-purpose tool is always good to have. These enable you to cut strips of cloth into bandages, remove splinters, etc.

  • Protect Yourself from the Sun

If you are hiking in the summer, keep in mind that many trails are unshaded, so it’s important to protect yourself from the sun. Sunscreen is essential, however, a lightweight long sleeve shirt is a must! My favorite are sun shirts by Columbia. Also, it is a good idea to wear lightweight long pants to protect yourself from the sun and bugs!

Wear sunglasses with UV protection. Sunglasses are an important part of your sun-protective wardrobe. When purchasing sunglasses, always look for lenses that offer UV protection.

A wide-brimmed hat is a simple and effective way to cover up your face and neck. When selecting a hat, choose one that has a wide brim, which will protect your ears, as well as your head and neck. Avoid baseball hats or straw hats with holes, as these are not as effective in protecting you outdoors.

  • Apply an effective insect repellent

Insect repellent is an important step against mosquitoes and ticks that can spread diseases like West Nile and Lyme.  When selecting an effective insect repellent, do not look at the brand names, but rather, look at the concentration of the active ingredients. Concentrations of DEET at 25 to 30% are the best to keep you protected.

  • Daypack/backpack

You need something you can carry comfortably and has the features designed to keep you hiking smartly. Don’t forget the rain cover; some packs come with one built-in. I have Osprey Daylite Daypack and it is perfect for day hiking.

  • Camera!!!

Zion National Park is a photographer’s dream! If you are like me, you will be taking hundreds, if not thousands, of photos. The scenery is just breathtaking and constantly changing. I have a Nikon COOLPIX P1000 Super Telephoto Camera that I bought a couple of years ago and I really like it.

  • A spare battery for the camera

Make sure to have a spare battery for your camera. I think there is nothing more frustrating than knowing that you still have half a day ahead of you, yet your camera’s battery is gone.

  • Trash Bag

This will make sure that the trail will stay beautiful for generations to come. A zip-lock bag is a great option as well for keeping the trash you pick up along the trail separate from the rest of your gear.

Intrepid Scout's Tips for How to Hike Angels Landing via Scouts Lookout

  • Stock up on snacks and water, and fill up the gas tank. Get all your groceries (water, snacks, lunch) and fill up the gas tank before entering the park. You will save some money by packing your own lunch. There is a restaurant and a small store at Zion Lodge, however, be prepared to pay extra for food and water.
  • Be prepared for crowds. Zion National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. 4.5 million people visited Zion National Park in 2019. With that being the case, be prepared for crowds everywhere.
  • Park your vehicle in Springdale, UT, and then take the shuttle. Parking is very limited inside Zion National Park and private vehicles are not allowed past the Canyon Junction if the shuttle is operating. Park your vehicle in Springdale and then take the shuttle. There are nine shuttle stops in Springdale.
  • Arrive early. The shuttle starts operating at 6 am. Be the first one in the line to board the shuttle. You will be able to experience some solitude on the trails and not wait in line to take a picture.
  • A trip to Zion is perfect when paired with a side trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument, or Canyonlands, Capitol Reef National Parks.

Check out my post: Zion to Bryce Canyon: 3-Day Adventure (with Maps and Photos)

Did you know that Utah has five national parks known as ‘The Mighty 5‘. Have you visited any of them? Which is your favorite Utah National Park? Let me know in the comments below which one you think is one of the best Utah national parks. Get inspired with this Epic 7-Day Road Trip Through Utah National Parks.

Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!

Are you planning a trip to Zion National Park?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

Click on any of the images below to get inspired and to help you with the planning process for your trip to Zion!

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