USAKirsty Owen

Zion

USAKirsty Owen
Zion

Shaped by the Virgin River, Zion's valley floor, in contrast to the exposed rock which surrounds it, is green and lush, home to a variety of plants and wildlife. With only one full day in Zion, we were determined to make the most of our time, so took a walk up to the emerald pools, passing waterfalls en route, before embarking on something a bit more challenging.

The hike up to Angel's Landing is as famous for its strenuous final stretch as it is for its incredible views across the Zion Canyon. It was only at the start of our hike that I got nervous; looking up at the fin of rock towering above us, I questioned whether we would make it to the top. The first stage of the hike, which takes you up a series of paved switchbacks, is all relatively straightforward providing you have a good level of fitness. Through some tree-lined pathways and up yet more calf-killing switchbacks and you reach Scout Lookout. This is the area which much of the literature reminds you is a perfectly acceptable place to stop, take in the already impressive views and then head back down. It is also here that you get a first look at the steep, narrow ridge - flanked by 1500 ft drops and only occasional chains to offer support - that forms the last part of the journey. 

A moderate fear of heights almost made us turn back, but fellow hikers were encouraging and, most importantly, offered a supportive hand on the more complex parts. Getting to the top felt like a real achievement, made all the better by the moments of camaraderie that come from strangers undertaking a challenge together.


View from the top of Angels Landing looking over the Zion valley. Kirsty Owen photography
Waterfall in Zion national park, Utah. Kirsty Owen photography
Looking through a waterfall in Zion national park. Kirsty Owen photography
Waterfall on Emerald Pools hike in Zion national park. Kirsty Owen photography
People on the switchbacks at the start of the Angels Landing trail in Zion. Kirsty Owen photography
Deer in Zion national park. Kirsty Owen photography
Mother and baby Deer in Zion national park. Kirsty Owen photography