An Easy guide to hiking Angel’s Landing

Angel’s Landing is one of the toughest hikes in the United States. It is by no means an easy hike. Therefore, I will provide you with a quick and easy guide for one of the most highly endurance paced hikes in the world.

Zion national Park is visited by 4.3 million tourists ever year and over half of them attempt the Angle’s Landing Hike. The hike is difficult and not recommended to anyone that has a serious fear of heights. The hike starts across from the Grotto Trailhead, the 6th stop on the Zion canyon shuttle.

Hike Details

  • Difficulty: Extremely strenuous, not recommend for individuals with serious fear of heights
  • Distance: 5 mile round trip
  • Time: 4-5 hour round trip
  • Location: The Grotto Trailhead
  • Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
  • Season: Angels’s Landing is open to hikers year around, but is not recommended during the winter if the trails are icy and slippery.

Before Hiking…

Before you embark on your journey for the hike of a life time. I recommend doing some cardio activities in the gym or outside. The whole point behind this is to build up your cardiovascular endurance for the hike. Before heading out on any major hike or road trip, I make sure to spend at least one week in the gym switching up my routine with HIIT training or Circuit workouts.

Pack Light!

The best way to ensure you make it to the top is by minimizing the weight load on your legs and back. Only pack what you need. Take a few bottles of water, some protein or granola bars, and some fruits (apple’s or orange’s are the best for a hike).

If you are taking a camera like me, make sure to only take the gear you are absolutely going to use. I took my Sony A7riii, 16-35mm lens, and a light tripod. Packing light will ensure that I don’t put a heavy strain on my body and will keep me going for a long time.

Start early

We started our day at 9 am and took the Zion Canyon Shuttle to The Grotto Trailhead and were on our way. Being early means much of the valley is still in the shade and cooler until the sun warms it up. It can tend to get hot, especially during the summer season.

Walter’s Wiggles

Walter’s Wiggles is a set of 21 switchbacks that are very steep and will present a challenge for any climber. This is the real challenge before the view point where the HIIT and Circuit training comes to pay off.

Scout’s Lookout

Just after the switchbacks is Scout’s Lookout, giving you a view of the the whole canyon. Restrooms are available at the lookout point. This is where most people take a break before finishing the hike or if you are afraid of heights this is where you turn around.

The Last 1/2 mile

The last 1/2 miles is what makes Angel’s Landing the most visited hike in Zion National Park. With 1000 ft drop off on both sides, some places are 2 feet wide that require to hang onto the chains bolted into the rocks. The path up Angel’s Landing gives its intimidating reputation and a thrill for some individuals.

Also know as “Hogsback,” the gigantic rock is crowded with thrill seekers. Be careful when you cross path with another hiker and always make sure you are properly secured before you cross. Always hang on to the chain and never let go when climbing, also do not rush the climb be patient and calm. After climbing the Hogsback, it is a flat walk to the viewpoint. Take in the view, relax and enjoy before heading back down.

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Hike of a lifetime in Kauai

The micro climates of Kauai have created some unique and breathtaking landscapes. Waimea Canyon is one of the most picturesque landscapes in Kauai. The orange and red dirt makes it feel like you are on mars. 

We headed out from the The Koloa Landing Resort and made our way towards the Waimea Canyon in Kōkeʻe State Park. Make sure to keep reading until the end, there is a bonus viewpoint.

How to get there?

  1. Take HI-50 W to head towards the town of Waimea.

  2. Make a right on the HI-550 N.

  3. Keep driving until you hit mile marker 13.

  4. Turn right on to Puu Hinahina viewpoint parking lot

We were not ready for this!

Once you park your car, take the steps up to the Puu Hinahina viewpoint to catch a glimpse of the Waimea Canyon. Walk back towards the end of the parking lot and you will find the canyon trail to your right.

The Canyon trail hike to the Waipo’o falls is about 3.6 mile hike round trip and takes approximately 2.5 hours. As soon as we parked our car, it started raining cats and dogs and then 2 minutes later it was gone. That is something you are going to have to get used to. After the rain stopped, we grabbed our bags and headed down the canyon trail. I was wearing my white converse and my 2 other friends were wearing their workout nike shoes. We had clearly underestimated this hike and the weather. More on how that turned out later down the page.

Walking through a rain forest

We were really excited for this hike, as this was the only adventure activity we had planned in Kauai. Ten minutes in to the hike, we started second guessing our situation at hand. We could keep going or we can go back. The trail was muddy, it was raining, and I had expensive camera equipment; but this was our only chance to hike in Kauai. As we approached the hike, we told ourselves “this is going be a hike of a lifetime”. After that we never looked back, we wanted that view point and that secret waterfall at the end. It was like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Slipping, Falling, and more slipping

WEAR THE CORRECT SHOES, I can’t emphasize this enough wear your hiking shoes. Although there were some women who did the hike in sandals. There were 3 year old kids hiking along the way. I will admit I was the first one to fall on my butt with my camera in my hand. It is not worth it people, put those cameras in your bag and take them out once you get to the view point.

Walking over tree roots, climbing down trees, crossing a big puddle while holding on to a rope with one hand, strolling through lush green landscapes felt like I was in the amazon rain forest. I could not believe I was here..

About half way

About half way you will see a junction and a small parking lot. Pro tip: Only drive to that parking lot if you have a 4-wheel drive. You will see a sign for Canyon Trail and Waipo’o Falls. We didn’t take the Canyon Trail and continued to the falls. The trail starts to get more treacherous as you go further into the hike. There are switchbacks going up and down, watch where you step, and double check you have proper footing before taking the next. During the rainy season, which is almost all the time, it can get very slippery. There is one part in the hike where everyone slipped. My friend George kept on slipping “every step” he took, or at least that’s what he said.

Once you get closer you will start to get a glimpse of the Waimea Canyon on your right side. Go up a few rocks and you will arrive at an open mountain covered in red dirt. Be careful because there are no guard rails, the ridge seems to fall straight down the canyon.  

Don’t stop there, your reward awaits

As the clouds are rolling through, you can admire the sheer beauty of the Waimea Canyon. Keep going straight and the mountain starts to curve to the left, follow it down, make a left, duck under some trees, and squeeze through some big rocks and your reward waits at the end.

This is where the Waipo’o Falls begin. I wasted no time, I set up my camera and walked right in to the small pool. Be careful stepping on the rocks, the water can make them slippery. Although it is not the waterfall you see from the lookout point, it is better than the big one.

Hike of a lifetime?

If you ask me, this hike was worth every slip, every fall, every “oh s**t” moment. I knew that I was never going to experience this kind of thrill in my life anywhere. I am so glad I booked that last-minute flight to Kauai. This was an experience I will never ever forget.  

My advice: Don’t let a little fall on your butt stop you from experiencing one of the best moments of your life.

I will leave you with a quote from my friend George: “This is probably the best worst idea we have had”.

Bonus viewpoint:

I want to thank you if you have made it this far in to the blog. Once you have made it back to your car from the Waipo’o Falls hike. Keep on driving up to the main road until it ends, you will arrive at the Pu’u O Kila Lookout point. This look out point offers breathtaking views of the Kalalau valley. This valley has been featured in many blockbuster films, one of them being Jurassic Park.

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