If you are going to do one big hike this year, it's got to be Angels Landing in Utah.

Angel's Landing is a popular hiking destination located in Zion National Park in western Utah. Hikers come from all over the world to "climb the chains."

Forget about the fact that just before you get off the bus at the Angels Landing trailhead the last words you hear over the  bus speakers are, "People have died on this hike." It is pointed out that people with a fear of heights should not do this hike.

Zion National Park in southwestern Utah is absolutely breathtaking and worthy of a visit regardless of your age or hiking ability. However, the big draw, honestly, is Angels Landing. It's like no hike you have ever done.

It's about 5 miles round trip and 3/4 of the hike up is on a very nicely paved, continuously inclining path. It's the last 1/4 or so of the hike that will likely make this the most memorable hike of your life.

Full disclosure here, there is a good percentage of people that stop before they get to the chains and don't make it to the top. Reaching the summit of Angels Landing is clearly not within everyone's ability, whether it's physical restrictions or age - too old or too young.

From this point, the hike becomes a climb requiring the assistance of a firmly anchored chain to hold on to and, in some cases, pull yourself up the trail and over the rocks. To add to the challenge at this point is the fact that people are coming and going at the same time, and this stretch of the trail is narrow and often requires a single file line.

This portion of the hike was challenging at times, though I wouldn't call it necessarily difficult. While there are steep drop-offs which definitely present an element of danger(and excitement) there was never a time that I felt fearful or especially anxious. That chain was like a security blanket.

The bottom line is, this was the coolest and most thrilling hike I have ever done. While there are plenty of other great hiking trails in Zion, this is the granddaddy of them all, and without question the hiking highlight of the trip,  probably the year, possibly a lifetime. Check out the gallery below to get a glimpse of how amazing this hike is.

 

 

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