Prepare for the West Rim Trail at Zion National Park
Today we are going to give you all you need to know to Prepare for your hike of the West Rim from the Grotto to Scout Lookout and the base of Angels Landing. If you are a beginner hiker read until the end for a bonus tip: Let’s Get Started
The West Rim Trail starts at the Grotto. It is stop 6 on the Shuttle. Here you can hike the West Rim or the Kayenta Trail. Be sure to use the bathroom here and check your hiking poles and gear. Kayenta Trail will take you to the Emerald Pools. Angels Landing is accessible using the West Rim trail to Scout Lookout. Both hikes are opposite the Virgin River from the shuttle Stop. The bridge over the Virgin River provides a beautiful view of the water and the Canyon Floor. At the end of the bridge go right to hike the West Rim.
Keep reading to find out what gear you need to enjoy your hike.
In preparing for the West Rim, you need to understand the elevation gain. It is 1,500 vertical feet to Scout Lookout. The ascent is paved but difficult. For perspective, to hike from the Grotto to Scout Lookout you have to climb higher than every skyscraper in New York City Except One World Trade Center. Here is our video if you want more views of the West Rim
These recommendations for what to take with you on this hike is basically what we carried with us. Carry a hydration backpack similar to the Teton Sports Oasis and carry a full bladder of water. On every hike you need a first aid kit. An accident can occur on any hike. We saw a lot of people stop and rest at Angels Landing for various reasons and if you spend any time there you will want protein bars or other food to refuel. We also take treats like gummy worms to give us something to look forward to while on the trail. The route is scenic so take your phone, camera, binoculars and any other device to document your day. Make sure you have sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen, and dress in layers for temperature changes. The trail is paved, however wear good walking or hiking shoes. If you go further on the West Rim you will want hiking shoes. If you take hiking poles use rubber tips. You could go crazy with other items but, these are essential in our experience. Here are Amazon affiliate links for the gear we took with us for ideas. If you purchase from these links we may earn a small commission.
Keep reading to find out what animal could kill you at Angels Landing
There are a series of switchbacks at the lower elevation that are casual and take moderate effort. The next stage of the hike goes into the canyon a little more and there are signs to be quiet as birds lose the ability to hunt and fly in the area if people make a lot of noise.
The final challenge before Scout Lookout is Walter’s Wiggles. It is 250 feet of elevation gain of very tight switchbacks and no guard rail. As people pass, show mutual respect and be careful to reduce the risk of a fall.
We hiked to Angels Landing and had a nice rest at the Angels Landing trailhead. The trailhead is a stopping place for many. We noticed people tended to have a snack, take a drink, and prepare for the Angels Landing hike. There are also toilets here if you need to go. More importantly are the squirrels. They are everywhere. Keep an eye on your pack and make sure the squirrels stay out of your bag and your food. The squirrels carry the plague and one person was bit when we were there. If you are going to hike Angels Landing you will need a permit. Nps.gov has directions on how to apply for the permit and the process. We did notice Rangers in the Grotto and at the Angels Landing trailhead checking for permits.
Pay attention through the end of this article to know what to expect on the rest of the trail.
We walked up the West Rim a little further to Scout Lookout and took in some grand views of Angels Landing and the rest of the Canyon. The trail continues from here however this is a great place to relax and enjoy the blue sky, Canyon views, and rest up for the trip back down. Binoculars would be a bonus here as California Condors fly high above, along the Canyon Rim.
Plan on the descent back to the Grotto providing different views and shadows as the sun moves over the sky. The hike down is a lot of fun. The full hike takes 3-4 hours and is about 3.5 miles. Views out into the canyon at the various elevations provide unique perspectives. If you are a beginner hiker and want to get started on your first hike watch this video