Angels Landing Hike

Zion National Park


It all started with an invitation from John Allen on the SoCal RV list for people to join him and his son Nathan in their hiking trip to Zion National park to hike Angels Landing. John had did the hike a few years ago with his daughter when she turned 13. Now that Nathan was 13, he was doing it again. The original plan was to meet in St. George Utah on Saturday morning, but most of the group decided to leave on Friday afternoon so they wouldn't have to deal with the California marine layer. Katie and Tom ended up spending most of Friday reassembling their RV-4's fuel tanks to comply with a new Vans service bulletin. Saturday morning we departed early at 6:30am. We flew GPS direct from Deer Valley Airport to municipal airport at St. George, Utah. We flew over the western part of the Grand Canyon at 11,500 feet which gave us a comfortable margin about the Grand Canyon special flight rules airspace. We were expecting to see a lot of tour traffic but only saw one other airplane.

We also monitored and broadcast our position on the Grand Canyon frequency, but it was not very active either. Guess the tours are not flying yet at 7:30am.


Coming in for a landing at St. George reminded us of the Sedona, AZ airport. It is on top of a mesa too. When we landed, John and his son were there to greet us and direct us to a tiedown spot. The Van John had rented soon showed up and we grabbed our hiking backpacks and headed north with some new friends for adventure.

Parking was limited outside Zion park but we found a spot on the street close to one of the shuttle stops. We all got on but when we pulled out, Bill Marvel was still at the Van. He had heard the Van making noises after locking it and went back to check it out and found one of the passenger doors not completely shut. We asked the shuttle to wait, but the driver said she couldn't. Fortunately, there is a new shuttle every few minutes. Bill caught the next shuttle. The picture below shows him getting off of it to join the group.

Bill Marvel and Kim Gills coming out of the gift shop/restaurant at the park entrance.

Looking up through the shuttles air conditioning system. (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

Nathan and John pose for a "Start of the hike" Photo. (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

We start the hike. The first part is level for a few hundred feet. John and Nathan take the lead.

The hike ends up 2.5 miles and 1700 vertical feet later at the top of the cliff above.

Nathan checks to see if the slow pokes are still coming.

If you look close, you can see part of the trail cut into the wall of rock above.

Katie and Dave take a break in the shade and rehydrate. It was already starting to get warm.

Kim is a student pilot and flew out with Bill in his Grumman Tiger. Bill is talking to Kim about flight planning.

Part way up the hike, Katie stops to pose for a picture. Its a sheer drop off behind her. Dont think she realized how close to the edge she was.

(photo Looking South down the valley (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

From left to right, Kim, Katie, Tom, Bill and Dave.(photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

John and Nathan climbing one of the steeper sections of the climb. The switchbacks were only about 20 feet long before you had to switch directions. The switchbacks are known as "Walters Wiggles". The trail was constructed in 1926.

Looking back down "Walters Wiggles".

We thought this was the top of the hike, but boy were we wrong!! After seeing what laid ahead, it became the top of the hike for some of us.

Dave poses for a photo part way past Scouts Lookout.

A great picture of Bill. I believe that Bill ended up passing everyone up and was the first one to the top of the hike. (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

Katie and Dave enjoy some people watching. It was funny to hear peoples reactions to what they saw ahead of them. Dave just finished building a Harmon Rocket.

Oh, SH## was one of the more polite phrases heard when you turned the corner and saw the ridge you had to go up next with the sheer 1000 ft plus dropoff to either side.

Another look at the next part of the climb from Bill's camera.

(photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

(photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

(photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

Steps carved into the stone (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

View from the top (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

View from the top (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

View from the top (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

View from the top (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

Coming back down from the top. It can be a traffic jam at some points. The sheer drop offs didnt seem to bother a lot of the climbers. (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

A close up of the chain you can hold onto on your up the hike's steeper sections. Some people had a death grip on it. (photo courtesy of Bill Marvel)

After the hike, most of the gang departed back to their homes. Katie and Tom decided to spend Saturday night in St. George and fly back on Sunday morning. Luckily, Sullivan’s Rococo Steakhouse and Inn is located right outside of the transient parking area . Katie said the filet was great. The salmon wasn't bad either, or the strawberry chesscake. We had a great meal while enjoying a great view outside overlooking the city.

Trip synopsis: Great companions/flight/hike/food - Four stars!!!!