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Want to hike Angels Landing? You now need a permit

Angel's Landing in Zion National Park
After years of deliberation, those wishing to hike Angels Landing in Zion National Park now need a permit to do so (Image credit: Michal Lotocki / EyeEm)

It’s official. After years of deliberation, those wishing to hike Angels Landing in Zion National Park now need a permit to do so.

The National Parks Service (NPS) has announced that the pilot permitting program commences for all hikers on April 1, 2022. Permits will be issued via a lottery program and applications open at Recreation.gov on January 3.

Angels Landing is the most popular day hike in Zion, and also the most dangerous – 14 people have died there since the year 2000. NPR Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh says the permit program is intended to address this issue and make the hike a more enjoyable experience.

“Angels Landing is one of the most iconic destinations in Zion National Park and issuing permits will make going there fair for everyone. The system we’ve put in place will reduce crowding on the trail, address safety concerns and make it easy for visitors to plan ahead.”

Hikers walk along the narrow fin of Angels Landing in Zion Utah

Angels Landing is the most popular day hike in Zion, and also the most dangerous  (Image credit: Jordan Siemens)

Angels Landing is a 1,488ft tall rock formation occupying the Big Bend of Zion Canyon and the precarious trail to the top takes you up a hair-raising narrow rock fin covering 1500ft in elevation gain in only 2.5 miles of climbing. The hike is strenuous and often single file, making it a popular feat with thrill seekers, and at the top you are treated to spectacular views of the Canyon.

Those wishing to hike Angels landing after March 31, 2022 can either enter a seasonal lottery, or a different lottery on the day before their intended climb. It will cost $6 to enter the lottery, and if you are successful, a further $3 per person. These fees will cover the costs of maintaining the lottery program and staffing the trail to check for permits.

Handrail on Ange's Landing in Zion Utah

The hike is strenuous and often single file, making it a popular feat with thrill seekers (Image credit: picturist)

NPS has promised to monitor the program and make changes as needed. The move comes after the Park saw a massive uptick in visits – from about 2.8 million in 2011 to nearly 4.5 million in 2019. Zion was Utah’s first National Park and remains the most popular in the state, largely due to Zion Canyon, the 15 mile long canyon carved by the Virgin River that cuts up to 2,640ft deep into the earth leaving high red sandstone walls, sparkling waterfalls, and hanging gardens that draws people from around the world wishing to go hiking and canyoneering here.

Learn when and how to enter the lotteries at go.nps.gov/AngelsLanding (opens in new tab)

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.