Angels Landing is one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park. The number of people visiting Zion is growing quickly rapidly from about 2.8 million visits in 2011 to nearly 4.5 million visits in 2019.
The trail and viewpoint can have an abundance of hikers daily. This is especially the case on weekends during the summer months. The Angels Landing Trail is one of the most sought-after destinations and more than 300,000 people hiked it in 2019.
Looking out over Zion Canyon from the top of Angels Landing, you’re transported. The colossal vertical faces of sandstone speckled in the dark green of desert foliage, presiding over the lush banks of the Virgin river is absolutely spectacular. For a moment, you forget where you are. The valley appears almost like the heart of some strange primordial jungle. You think to yourself, “what planet am I on right now?”
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When the trail is crowded to the point of reaching gridlock, the situation can even get dangerous. Unfortunately, due to its epic popularity, the National Park Service will implement a permit system for this hike, which is similar to the Half Dome permit system in Yosemite.
According to the National Parks Service (NPS), there will be two lotteries, one seasonal and another one day prior to planned hikes. Each drawing costs $6 per person to enter and prospective adventurers who win must pay a $3 per person fee. These fees will cover the cost of running the lottery and park rangers to check permits on the trail. NPS staff have not announced the number of hikers that will be allowed per day, but planning documents outlined a previous experiment that limited visitors over Memorial Day weekend to 120 people per hour on the trail. The permit system will apply specifically to the narrowest section of the trail, often called the “chain section” because it has metal handholds driven into the rock. The new pilot trail lottery plan reflects comments from more than 1,000 people.
On and after April 1, 2022, hikers going to Angels Landing will need a permit. The NPS will issue permits using online lotteries. The first lottery opens on January 3, 2022. Learn more!
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