Photo by: Getty Images

Getty Images

Angels Landing Is One of the Most Dangerous Hikes in the US

By: Annie Hartman

This renowned hiking destination is not for the faint of heart.

August 01, 2019

Note: Angels Landing and its surrounding trails are currently closed due to storm damage. You can check the National Park Service website for current trail conditions.

Calling all adventurers! Angels Landing is one of the world's most renowned hiking destinations — though it's certainly not for the faint of heart. With dizzying heights, and hairpin turns, the thousands of hikers it draws every year might not know exactly what they're getting themselves into.

Photo by: Getty Images

Getty Images

Daredevils at Angels Landing

Zion National Park in Utah has plenty of trails, but Angels Landing may be the most breathtaking. Picture this. You begin the hike on the wide and well-maintained West Rim Trail. It follows the river and then crosses the bottom of the canyon, surrounded by 270-million-year-old layers of rock. Relaxing, right? Just wait for it. The trail then starts to climb via a series of switchbacks leading up the side of the mountain. Then more switchbacks: 21 tighter turns, called "Walter's Wiggles," where elevation levels rapidly increase. Your heartbeat is probably rapidly increasing at this point, too.

On top of Walter's Wiggles, you can stop for a stunning view (perhaps with a marriage proposal) and a restroom stop while you contemplate the final stretch of the hike. If you're afraid of heights, it's best to turn back now. The last stretch is the real test of bravery.

Living on the Edge

The last half mile of the hike is what really ranks it as one of the nation's most dangerous. Angels Landing itself is a fin-like formation jutting 1,500 feet out of the canyon, and this is where you make the final 500-foot climb. Guardrails and chains bolted into the cliff help you keep from tumbling over the extremely steep ledge. You're literally living on the edge, and you don't want to trust the "angels" down there to catch you. Once you reach the top, however, it'll all be worth it: 360-degree views of the canyon make a great backdrop for kicking back and having a meal before you come back down the way you came.

Angels Landing might be dangerous, but thankfully, not too many people have had fatal falls. According to the park website, seven people have died in the 100 years the park has existed. Still, this is a very strenuous hike. If you're out of shape, bringing young children along, feel ill or prone to fainting, or are just plain afraid of heights, opt for an easier trail.

Angel's Landing is a great hike for most of the year, besides the cold winter months when the trails could become dangerously slippery. Summer is the most popular time of year — and therefore the most crowded — but it can also get extremely hot, so opt for an early morning hike while the temperatures are still mild.

Sure, it's dangerous, but there's a reason this is one of Zion's most popular hikes. If you're up for the challenge, Angels Landing will definitely deliver rewards.

This article first appeared on Curiosity.com.

Next Up

Meet the First 6 Awardees of The Explorers Club Discovery Expedition Grant Program

Today, The Explorers Club, a non-profit world leader in exploration, and Discovery Channel announced the first class of awardees to receive approximately a quarter of a million dollars collectively to fund their expeditions. Let’s meet The Explorers Club Discovery Grant awardees.

Every Year, Thousands of Glass Orbs Are Hidden on This Oregon Beach

When you think of treasure hunters, it's typically Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones that come to mind. But modern-day treasure hunters do exist. In the coastal town of Lincoln City, Oregon, beachcombers flock to the sand in hopes of finding one very specific treasure: glass fishing floats.

New Decade, New Adventures: Where Your Travels Should Take You Next

With a new decade comes new opportunities, and there’s no time like the present to start exploring parts of the world you’ve never dared to venture to before.

Can You Name the New Seven Wonders of the World?

Millions of people voted these magnificent places as the "new" seven wonders of the world.

Nobody Knows Who Designed the Taj Mahal

Commissioned in 1632, The Taj Mahal is one of the newest Seven Wonders of the World, and surprisingly no one knows who actually designed it.

Is This Mars-like Desert the World’s Best Spot to Watch the Stars?

Forget Chile’s Atacama Desert, or Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. A petrified forest in Colombia is where you want to go for the best stargazing on the planet.

Chichen Itza's El Castillo is a Pyramid in a Pyramid in a Pyramid

If researchers can reach it, it could tell them important things about the early people who built it.

The Bermuda Triangle Isn't Actually a Mystery

Discovery.com unpacks the mysteries and myths long surrounding the Bermuda Triangle.

Austria's Grüner See Has A Park That's Underwater All Summer

This emerald-green lake is one of Austria's most beautiful bodies of water.