Zion National Park Day 4 - West Rim Trail and Angels Landing
Posted on 2019-05-13
We woke up on Monday with some seriously sore shoulders and aching feet from our ~24 mile trek the day before. But we had another big day planned. There were two options really: 1.) Hike the ~8 miles to the West Rim camp ground 6 where we could camp for the night and then just kick back for the rest of the day. Then hightail it the rest of the way down the next morning, or 2.) Finish out the full hike today. After our (failed ) experiment with trying to relax on the first day our backcountry adventure, we ended up opting for #2. If you're planning you're own trans Zion check, be sure to check out our observations on route options on our pro tips page on the sidebar. So anyway, we struggled back into our packs and got an early start (before we even had breakfast - which is very unlike me)
![blogPics](/static/img/Zion4/Zn0.jpg "Hitting the trail from Wildcat Canyon")
The section between Wildcat Canyon and the West Rim trail was actually a really nice morning hike. It was kind of romantic with lots of flowered forest areas wide enough to walk together. The views opened up about 6 miles in with some beautiful blue-green rolling hills on our left that reminded us of our hikes at home in the Appalachian mountains and then a striking red/green canyon view on the right. It was a perfect spot to stop and heat up some oatmeal for breakfast in the jetboil.
![blogPics](/static/img/Zion4/Zn1.jpg "Oatmeal and Views")
From our breakfast spot, we headed down some really muddy trails into Potato Hollow. It was an entirely different landscape of green fields and fallen trees. Kenny really liked hiking through this spot.
![blogPics](/static/img/Zion4/Zn2.jpg "Potato Hollow")
The trail got a little tougher as we climbed up out of Potato Hollow and over to the rocky west rim trail. My favorite part about this section was all of wildflowers.
![blogPics](/static/img/Zion4/Zn3.jpg "Hiking up to the West Rim Trail")
The views did not disappoint though! The West Rim trail was breathtaking! We eventually made it up to a clearing where the West Rim trail intersects with the Grotto Trail and Telephone Canyon. We grabbed some lunch and chatted with other hikers while admiring the view.
![blogPics](/static/img/Zion4/Zn4.jpg "Views of the canyon")
After lunch we made our way down the Grotto trail toward Angels Landing. This trail was STEEP. We did not envy the people that had walked up it that morning. It was hard enough on our knees just going down. It was also super rocky, which did nothing to help our joints. The views were great though and it definitely left you with the awe inspiring feeling that walking along the edge of a cliff always does.
![blogPics](/static/img/Zion4/Zn5.jpg "Steep trail down to Angels Landing")
In about 3 miles we were rewarded with some great views of Angels Landing. It was teeming with people since many of the other trails in the area were closed due to water levels and rock slides. But they had a pit toilet! Which was pretty exciting since it was the first one we had seen in over 24 hours. Angels Landing was marked as just a .5 mile trail to the top and back... but it was a lot of cliffs and rocks to climb for just a 1/2 mile trail. The path was lined with chains to help in the more narrow and steep sections, but it's definitely not for the faint of heart.
![blogPics](/static/img/Zion4/Zn6.jpg "Climbing up the chains to Angels Landing")
The path was enough to make me a little nervous, but Kenny zoomed up one handed like an acrobat while taking pictures (per normal). It wasn't nearly as terrifying as [Half Dome](https://www.thekhsquared.com/blog/51), but it was by far the most treacherous path we walked on at Zion and I was glad to not have our packs. BUT when we got to the top the views were incredible! The top of angels landing is narrow, so you get drop off views of the entire canyon in all directions!
![blogPics](/static/img/Zion4/Zn7.jpg "View from the top of Angels Landing")
After spending some moments soaking in the views at the top, we headed back down and jumped back on the Grotto trail. By this point our feet and shoulders were screaming and the last 2 miles felt pretty tough. We took a lot of breaks in order to keep going, but at least the scenery was still amazing.
![blogPics](/static/img/Zion4/Zn8.jpg "On the way down")
The last half mile of the trail followed the Virgin River and we took the opportunity to jump in! Check out the video for some footage :). The water was freezing but it felt great after days in the desert. We finally made it to the shuttle around 6. Luckily for us (and probably everyone else because we didn't smell great) we were the only ones on the shuttle so we skipped all of the stops and headed right back to the visitor center.
And that was a wrap for our back country adventure through Zion! It was a challenging, hot, beautiful, freeing, adventure! We can't wait to go back to try the Narrows and the East Rim Trail!