One thing I forgot about Weeping Rock was how tranquil it was sitting there under the rock with the water falling all around, the singing birds and the chirping frogs. I wish I had taken my mp3 recorder.
This is a strenuous hike but completely worth it when you reach the top. As we climbed, one of my brothers, who had done this hike before, explained that there are three hard parts, the first set of switchbacks up the cliff face from the Virgin River, Walter’s Wiggles and then the final ascent up to Angels Landing following a chain most of the way. Really just those first two parts were hard unless you’re scared of heights. The part with the chain wasn’t that bad. After Walter’s Wiggles and the first set of switchbacks it really is not that strenuous.
The view is amazing as you climb up the cliffs. At the top of the first switchbacks the canyon already looks pretty cool and that is just foreshadowing of what’s to come at Scout Lookout and the very top. After that first set of switchbacks that are carved into the cliff side, you walk into Refrigerator Canyon, a narrow canyon in between two cliffs. When you first walk in, it does feel like you’re walking into a refrigerator, especially after hiking so hard in the warm sun.
This part of the hike isn’t bad at all. It is relatively flat compared to the rest and is nicely shaded in a beautiful canyon with fun shaped rocks on the wall you walk along. This canyon takes you to the hardest part of the hike, mostly because you have already been hiking for a while. This part is called Walter’s Wiggles, named after the first park superintendent. It is a series of about 21 little switchbacks that travel vertically up a 200’ or so high cliff. It is pretty cool to look at, like watching Lombard Street in San Francisco.
After you reach the top of this, walk a short distance more and you are at Scout Lookout with an amazing view of the Big Bend area of Zion. You look down on the Virgin River; see the Great White Throne in front of you and the Organ below you. You can look up the canyon toward the Temple of Sinawava and the Narrows. This is where most people stop and turn around on this hike. There are toilets up there and two trails that go away from it, the one to Angels Landing and the other to the West Rim Spring.
Of course we took the trail up to Angels Landing following a chain most of the way and walking across sections of cliff not wider than three or four feet across with vertical drops on either side of 1,000 or more feet. Unless you are scared, even in the slightest bit, of heights you will be fine on this hike. My dad did complain that with his short legs some of the trail was hard but that is where the chain and upper body strength can come in to play.
When we reached the top we had a grand vista of Zion Canyon. Looking up the canyon we could see the Temple of Sinawava. Looking to the side of us we could see the Weeping Rock, Observation Point, the cable system from the 1800s and more. Looking down the canyon we could see all the way to the campsites. It is majestic. After a while of sitting and looking out, the wind started picking up and we headed down. Later we heard that someone got spooked by the height and froze on the trail. They had to send rangers up to get the person down and they had search and rescue waiting at the bottom of the cliff.
I always expected Angels Landing to be so unreachable, but I did it and it was awesome.
One thing I love about Zion is that there are hikes for every skill and fitness level. That evening, still sore, we took one of the easier paths up the Riverside Walk from the Temple of Sinawava to the trailhead for the Narrows. Along the way, we enjoyed hanging gardens, the river, tiny snails only found in Zion and each other’s company.
Check out my pictures of the adventure in my Facebook album. More to come soon about my Zion adventure …