Palms are sweaty.
Arms are heavy.
Vomit on your sweater, already?
Eminem could have very well written Lose Yourself about taking on Angel’s Landing. The daunting hike is one of the world’s scariest and deadliest. The uphill battle becomes exponentially more difficult once you close in on the final stretch. Looking down on either side of you can merit a heart attack, and let’s just hope you didn’t eat any of your mom’s spaghetti the night before.
Despite the difficulty and height, fearless hikers and travelers take on Angel’s Landing every day. While it has its terrifying moments, the chains to hold on to make the hike significantly safer. Regardless, this is not a hike for just anyone, and if you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering if you should go for it or just stay home.
- Are you scared of heights? Think twice.
I personally don’t suffer from a fear of heights, but looking down from parts of Angel’s Landing made me pretty queasy. If you are one of those people that pass out at the mere mention of a ferris wheel, you best stay home. Angel’s Landing is not a place you would want to pass out at. Again, the hike itself is pretty doable and safe thanks to the chains you can hold on to, but it is also about mental preparedness. For your safety and the safety of others, you might not want to risk it.
2. Leave the kids at home.
If you have children, you might want to avoid bringing them. There were a few young kids when I went, and one woman even had her baby strapped to her back the entire time. However, kids are pretty unpredictable and you don’t want them to be thousands of feet in the air when they decide to chase a squirrel. I know, I know, they’re not dogs, but it’s still better to err on the side of caution. The kids were small and very capable of completing the hike, but also weren’t completely keen on the idea of waiting their turn. There are some really narrows parts of Angel’s Landing, which means a lot of bottlenecks. You might need to let a group go up before you can go down, but sometimes kids don’t like to wait and can really cause problems in those situations.
3. If you decide to go, get there early.
The earlier, the better. I started the hike at around 8:30 AM, and finished the loop about four hours later. Completion time can vary depending on how many people are around, because like I mentioned, there are parts where people reach bottlenecks. The earlier you go, the easier it is to avoid the brutal sun. When you get to the top, you’d like to have a little bit of quiet and privacy before the tourists roll in to take endless pictures and dangerous selfies. There were quite a few people at the top when I got there around noon, so maybe leave even earlier than I did.
4. Out of shape? Still doable, but remember that it is mostly uphill.
I wasn’t in the best shape when I completed Angel’s Landing, but I still did pretty well. There’s nothing wrong with taking plenty of breaks, and leaving early allows you more flexibility with time. The first few sections are entirely uphill, and some are very steep. Once you get to the part where you’re actually hiking on the fin, the chains help ease the strain from your legs by allowing you to use your upper body to pull yourself forwards. Take your time, bring a lot of water, and enjoy the views.
5. 90% of it is mentality.
When you look at Angel’s Landing, you can see why it scares the bajeezus out of some people and why it captivates the desire of others. Physically, it is like most other hikes. It’s uphill, rocky, and requires impeccable focus at parts. Mentally, it can be life or death. Looking down can make your nerves creep up on you. Losing your balance briefly can shatter your hopes of finishing the hike altogether. Lapses in focus can truly be devastating. Remaining confident throughout can be a difficult task, but it will help you out more than the best pair of hiking boots will.
Once you get to the top, there will be no better feeling than looking out at your starting point and wondering how you got all the way over here.