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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Zion National Park - Angels Landing and the Narrows Hike

Hey everyone,

I finally got to check out Zion National Park and had to share what I saw and what I learned through the process. I have wanted to check this park out for some time now and I can finally say that I have hiked to the top of Angels Landing!

Angels Landing is a strenuous 4 hour hike that is 5 miles total. The reason it takes 4 hours is because the last 1/2 mile involves steep incline climbing. There are chains built into the trail to trek up these steep areas to get to the very top of this mountain. It's very narrow so everyone coming up and down must take turns and share passing each other. It was extremely satisfying for me to feel myself getting higher physically and finding a better and different view. The scenery looked straight out of a story book. Shouldn't there be a castle in the horizon?




For a one week visitor pass, regular cars pay $30.
Here are some things I did not know about the park that are useful:
1. Come early. There parking lot does get full and you will have to circle around the lot for parking.
2. Free shuttle buses run daily. While they are running, you must park in the lot and take the shuttle. The shuttles run every few minutes and take you to all the major stops in the park.
3. Bring a backpack and lots of water. If you're pursuing Angels Landing, one small bottle won't do.
4. There are no restrooms once you start the trails but there are water fountains/restrooms at the shuttle stops.
5. Bring snacks/food. We were at the park all day and it's not easy/efficient taking a shuttle to leave drive out of the park just to eat and come back. There are many restaurants and gift shops right outside of the park where you can eat before and/or after your day is over.
6. For the Narrows, if the water level is too high (due to flood watch), the hiking area closes. Check their website to make sure they are open the day you plan on heading there.
7. If you're not a hat person and it's the summer, suck it up and wear a hat. You will thank yourself and me for following through with that decision as it is really hot.

We spent majority of our day at Angels Landing and ended around 5PM/ We started late as we got to the park 10:30AM. The lot was full and we had to drive around for at least 5 minutes to find parking. Then the shuttle bus line was so long, which was another 30-40 minute wait. They run all day during the summer schedule until 8:30PM (through 9/24/17).

After we finished Angels Landing, we decided to check out the Narrows hike. It wasn't a priority of ours and we were really tired but decided to check it out since we were only planning on being at Zion for the day. The Narrows is an 8 mile hike. From the shuttle stop, you must walk a flat 1 mile walk down a paved path to where the river entrance is. You literally hike through the river against the current over sand, rocks, etc.



There were many people there even in the later hours but it really wasn't the best having to carry our backpack through a river. The water, depending on your height, will be below your knees. The water is muddy so you cannot see your feet. We "hiked" for about 30 minutes just to see what it looked like beyond the first 2 bends and came back. We were told by the ranger that it's a hike that you can do for however long you want and just return at your leisure. It wasn't very comfortable or rewarding for us but a lot of families with children seemed to be enjoying it. By the entrance, there is calmer water kids were swimming in as well.

Overall, this was a wonderful experience. Angels Landing was magnificent and the most challenging yet rewarding hike I have been on so far. If you get a chance to check it out, I hope you have as good of a time as I did!

Cheers,
Dana

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