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Florida Keys September 2014

Monday, April 20, 2015

A day of hiking at Zion National Park


Date: 4/20/2015

Location: Zion National Park


Monday was our second full day at Zion National Park and we wanted to do one of their longer and more challenging hikes. The three  of us were intrigued to view the famous Angels Landing section of the West Rim Trail hike, but we all knew that with its’ exposed sections of trail, with thousand foot drop offs, it just wasn’t for us. But we’d go as far as we could and without taking any risks. Also, we really wanted to hike Walter’s Wiggles which winds it’s way up to the west rim high above the Zion valley floor. 


Starting our on the West Rim Trail. Lots of elevation gain ahead.


We started the hike somewhat early in the morning when it was still cool. We had several layers of clothes on, but soon warmed up as we climbed the very steep trail. Luckily the trail was not too busy with other hikers. We did leap frog a few groups as we’d hike ahead and then have to rest to catch our breath. Then others would pass us, but then rest, so we’d pass them again. This is how it went most of the way up to the section before Angels Landing.

A view from the lower section of the West Rim Trail looking back down Zion Valley towards the lodge


A little hard to see, but there is a series of switchbacks leading up the wall just ahead of us.


After a little over a mile and a half in we finally got to Walters Wiggles. This is a series of 21 steep switchbacks built by the first park superintendent, Walter Ruesh, back in the 1920’s.  Before Walter designed and  built these switchbacks, the west rim and Angel’s Landing was not accessible.

Allison making her way up Walter’s Wiggles


At the 2 mile mark we hit the saddle right before the accent up Angels Landing. The is where some people, who didn’t want to continue the hike, waited for others who were continuing on to the top. It was also a great place to rest, have a snack and take in the view.

Mother and Daughter high above the valley below.


To climb Angel’s Landing, you must hold onto chains secured to the side of the trail.


Some crazy hikers climbing their way up the beginning section of Angels Landing


This is as far as Julie got on Angels Landing. About 30 feet!!


Allison thinking about heading up, but didn’t get far.

There have been several death of hikers falling from the Angels Landing Trail over the past several years. But that doesn’t stop hordes of people from attempting this climb. At times it gets very busy on this hike and traffic jams develop during peak times. This isn’t the type of hiking we are into, so we’re glad we passed.


After resting for about 30 minutes we decided we still had enough energy to continue on the West Rim trail. It continues to climb away from Angels Landing and onto some more open areas with amazing views.









We are now high above Angels Landing and even higher above the floor of Zion Canyon


There was some amazing scenery high up on the West Rim Trail




Snack time on the West Rim Trail of Zion NP


Allison hugging the “safe” side of the trail as there were long drop off on the outside.


Yet another mother / daughter shot.


We hiked for a half mile past the Angels Landing turn off and found this part of the West Rim trail to be the best. Except for a few other hikers, we had this section of the trail almost to ourselves. It was also the most picturesque part of the trail with many different rock formations and one amazing view after another.

It was at this section of the trail that we decided we had gone far enough. We still had a long hike back down, so we decided to take a few pictures then turn around and head back to the lodge.



A trail marker high on the West Rim Trail. Just don’t go too far to the right as there’s as 1200 foot sheer cliff.


Heading back the way we came.


DSC_0314Flowers clinging to the red rock walls.


Back down Walters Wiggles


Still a ways to go as the trail weaves it way down towards the Virgin River.


Not Walters Wiggles, but still wiggly!


We finally made it back down to the bottom and the starting point of the West Rim Trail. We had tired tootsies, so took our hiking boots off and rested out feet in the cold water.



Up to this point our favorite hike was Grinnell Glacier Hike at Glacier National Park. But Julie and I both agree this hike is now our new favorite. It was challenging and the views and scenery were outstanding. We’d gladly do this hike again and maybe continue on a little further on the West Rim Trail. Just another reason to make a return visit to Zion.

Zion National Park - West Rim Hike at EveryTrail

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