Trail of the Week: Angels Landing, Zion National Park

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Our Trail of the Week feature is made possible through a partnership with Trail Run Project.

Located in Zion National Park in southern Utah, Angels Landing is one of the most acclaimed trails in the national park system—and a great location for a challenging trail run. It’s also a great launching off point for longer runs to the other side of the park.

From the Grotto shuttle drop-off, look for the signed trail on west side of the road. The trail, somewhat sandy but not hard, crosses the beautiful Virgin River, and bends north to largely follow it. Angels Landing will be staring right at you. Savor this mellow warmup, because you’ll be working hard soon.

As the grade increases, the trail becomes paved leading into the 21 grinding switchbacks called Walter’s Wiggle. You’ll then transition into the shady depths of Refrigerator Canyon beneath Angels Landing, then turning back right to enter the final switchbacks to Scout Lookout, where the pavement ends and the real fun begins.

Assess conditions and your comfort with the exposed route ahead. If you are game, continue on the final 1/2 mile to Angels Landing summit. There are chains anchored by posts as optional assistance when the route is exposed. Grab em if you want. Regardless, you’ll feel the rush.

If you want to get a longer run in, West Rim Trail extends to the northwest and continues 12 miles to a junction with Wildcat Canyon Trail and Lava Point Trailhead near the center of the park. Additional trails and dirt roads continue to the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, linking up to create the 48-mile Zion Traverse that ultrarunners and through-hikers have been ticking off their bucket list in recent years.

The Data

Miles: 4.4

Runnable: 72 percent

Singletrack: 20 percent

Average Grade: 20 percent

Total Ascent: 1,447 feet

Total Descent: -1,445 feet

Highest Elevation: 5,702 feet

For a closer look, check out the interactive map, data, photos and virtual run simulator courtesy of Trail Run Project:

 

RELATED: 8 Epic Running Adventures in America’s National Parks

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