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Angels Landing

posted Nov 12, 2017, 4:04 PM by Justin P   [ updated Nov 12, 2017, 4:04 PM ]
Thursday,  we had breakfast and headed back to Zion National Park.  We were planning to hike to Angels Landing and this is one of the most popular hikes in the park, so we wanted to get an early start.  We parked at the visitor center and took the shuttle to stop #6, the Grotto.  Crossing the street and the river on a footbridge, we turned right to hike West Rim Trail.  The trail starts out gradual with nice views of the Virgin River and Angels Landing towering above.  The trail began to get steeper and switchback up the mountain.  Finally, as we approached Angels landing, the trail turned into a small gorge and leveled off a bit.  There was some beautiful fall color in the gorge.  After a nice flat section, the trail headed up Walters Wiggles, a series of 12 or so extremely steep and short switchbacks.  It was really cool how the trail had been designed here.  At the top of Walters Wiggles was Scouts Lookout.  West Rim Trail continued and Angels Landing split from here to head steeply up.  We took a short break before beginning.  The trail followed narrow ridgelines with 1000-foot drop offs on either side.  This is definitely not the trail for someone with a fear of heights.  Much of the trail had chains, which provided something to hold on to.  After the first climb up, we had to go back down a ways across a saddle and then steeply climb back up again.  Perhaps the most difficult part was passing around people, which inevitably occurred at the most narrow and difficult parts.  I guess we didn't start quite early enough, though it was definitely more crowded coming back down.  Soon we made it to the top and it was so worth the effort.  The views from up here were just great.  Looking south, we could see all the way down Zion Canyon.  To the northeast, Weeping Rock was visible way, way down.  We had a snack up here and relaxed, enjoying the view.  As more and more people arrived, we started making our way back down.  I'm glad we didn't start any later than we did.  The hike down was much easier.  Back at the Grotto, we took the shuttle down canyon and got off at Canyon Junction, stop #3.  Following Virgin River upstream a short ways, we stopped at some nice cascades along the river.  Then we took Pa'rus Trail and followed the river downstream back towards the visitor center.  There was another spot on the river where I spotted some cascades, but these were in fact a diversion dam.  Back at the visitor center, we returned to our car and drove past Canyon Junction up the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway.  At the first switchback, we pulled off and hiked up an unnamed trail following Pine Creek upstream.  The trail was easy at first, then we had a couple creek crossings that were easy to rock hop.  In high water, these might not be so easy.  Then we came to a difficult spot, where he had to climb up the steep rock face along the creek.  Just past here, we had to climb under a balanced rock and then came out at the base of Pine Creek Falls.  Even in low water, this was a real nice waterfall.  The upper section had three individual streams flowing together - in high water, they probably wouldn't be distinguishable.  The main lower drop was a thin ribbon of water sliding down the rock face.  We hung out and got some pictures before heading back.  Continuing up the switchbacks, eventually we came to the mile-long tunnel and drove through, parking on the left after the tunnel.  Hiking back on the road towards the tunnel, we picked up the Canyon Overlook Trail.  Less than a mile, this trail led to an overlook above the Great Arch.  We had great views of Zion Canyon in the distance and Pine Creek Canyon below.  Looking at the mountains to the south, I could see "caves" in the mountain, which were in fact the light openings in the tunnel.  After some pictures, we headed back.  Since we hadn't had the chance much this week, we put the top down on the convertible for our drive back.  Driving down the switchbacks, it was very scenic.  We made a stop at one of the overlooks with a beautiful view of the Great Arch.  We left Zion one last time and parked at the hotel.  Sandy wanted to do some shopping while we were here.  We stopped by David J. West Gallery.  His photos decorated our hotel room and the lobby of the hotel and we wanted to see his gallery.  Mr. West had some fantastic photographs - we bought a couple prints to take home.  Then we had dinner again at Jacks Sports Bar and started packing up after dinner.