Angels Landing in Zion switching to reservation system

An undated file photo from 2017 shows hiker descending the Angels Landing route with near 1,000-foot drops on both side, Zion National Park, Utah | Photo by Caitlin Ceci/Zion National Park, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The popular Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park will be switching to a reservation system after the end of the year.

This 2015 file photo shows the last leg to the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park, Utah, March 11, 2015 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

Cass Bromley, chief of resource management at the park, announced to the Springdale Town Council during their monthly meeting on Wednesday afternoon that a reservation will be required after January for hikers wanting to traverse the Angels Landing Trail.

Bromley revealed few other details, other than to say a lottery system will be involved. More details are expected to be released Friday.

The five-mile trail is known for its majestic views as well as a narrow and precarious route, including a last mile-and-a-half where hikers face a steep drop if they go off the side. Hikers can hang on to a chain handrail in a portion of the steep area.

Because of the steep cliffs, it is one of the more dangerous hikes in the park system with 13 hikers falling to their death since 2000.

The park estimates during the peak season between May and November, 1,110 to 2,000 hikers per day take the hike. During the Memorial Day weekend, the park experimented with an amusement park-like queue system at the start of the trail.

This appears to not be a queue as much as a system where those wanting to hike Angels Landing need a reservation in advance.

An example of a lottery-style reservation hiking system can be found at Canyon Buttes North in Kanab, also known as “The Wave.” There, 48 people up to four months in advance can “win” a hiking spot online, while 16 additional people on site per day are chosen in the morning to be allowed to take the hike.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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