Staying in St George requires a 55 minute drive to the park just outside Springdale. Lot of neat shops and restaurants through the town and when the sun comes up, as it does every day, the mountain tops are beautiful.
OK, late September, a Monday, I thought we would park at the Visitor Center and walk on the shuttle but no. They start running at 7am, we hoped to get on the 8am one but had to wait through one double shuttle and when the next pulled up 15 minutes later, we hopped on but.....
….all the seats were taken. Do yourself a favor, if all seats are taken, wave the next few people through and get on the next shuttle. Standing takes away all the views and the drive can be as long as 40 minutes depending on which of the 9 stops you select.
Our stop was the "Grotto" at stop #6. As the shuttle disgorged as many as 70 people, we hung back and waited for all to get a good head start. Then we crossed the bridge and began the hike to Angel's Landing, first via the West Rim Trail.
We follow a sandy path that parallels the Virgin River. There, upper left is the destination.
Roughly the route taken. The trail begins to rise, modestly at first and then some really, really steep switchbacks. The trail cuts into the mountain through Refrigerator Canyon toward a saddle and the steepness moderates and then....
Holy Mackeral!!! The designer of the route, a guy by the name of Walter, must have been a sadist. Tight, extremely steep switchbacks that are known as "Walter's Wiggles". I hit this section pretty hard and was relieved that....
….at last I emerge at Scout's Lookout. I wait for my wife and I guy asks if I want to have my picture taken so ok. While I wait, I see a steady stream of hikers begin the ascent of Angel's Landing.
Lot of people hang out here either as their destination for the day or to rest before the real fun begins.
Roughly midway up some people take advantage of a flat spot and rest and the views, magnificent!
We continue up, required to pause and allow down trail traffic to pass rather frequently. Looking back from where we started, if you have fear of exposure you will have a problem but just focus on the numerous chains that are good hand holds and don't look down, which worked for my wife.
The final mellow pitch to the end. If you want to try to set a good time, go on the first shuttle, get in front of everyone, pass them on the sandy part of the trail and then go. Otherwise, you'd have to be a major Richard Cranium to squeeze by people once you start the Landing hike off West Rim. Since 2004, 7 people have died falling off the thing.
Almost there and then....
….there! Round trip is 5.5 miles so the distance isn't much but the views and enjoyment of navigating the Landing portion of the hike makes it one of the best. The 1.6 miles of the steepest part of the West Rim hike that included Walter's Wiggles averaged 16%. On Strava, I am 53rd out of 2400. Kind of disappointed with that but don't have my hiking legs under me yet. May come back in October and do it again.
Looking in another direction, one can see the north fork of the Virgin River. On the hike down....
….I pass lots of people, including a guy with a propeller on his hat. First time for that.