Picture this. You begin the hike on the wide and well-maintained West Rim Trail. It follows the river and then crosses the bottom of the canyon, surrounded by 270-million-year-old layers of rock. Relaxing, right? Just wait for it. The trail then starts to climb via a series of switchbacks leading up the side of the mountain. Then more switchbacks: 21 tighter turns, called “Walter’s Wiggles,” where elevation levels rapidly increase. Your heartbeat is probably rapidly increasing at this point, too.
On top of Walter’s Wiggles, you can stop for a stunning view (perhaps with a marriage proposal) and a restroom stop while you contemplate the final stretch of the hike. If you’re afraid of heights, it’s best to turn back now. The last stretch is the real test of bravery.
The last half mile of the hike is what really ranks it as one of the nation’s most dangerous. Angels Landing itself is a fin-like formation jutting 1,500 feet out of the canyon, and this is where you make the final 500-foot climb. Guardrails and chains bolted into the cliff help you keep from tumbling over the extremely steep ledge. You’re literally living on the edge, and you don’t want to trust the “angels” down there to catch you. Once you reach the top, however, it’ll all be worth it: 360-degree views of the canyon make a great backdrop for kicking back and having a meal before you come back down the way you came.
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This page was last updated on 2018.09.18