April 17, 2023

What to Do if You Don’t Get an Angels Landing Permit

Planning a visit to Zion National Park in 2023? One big item on many visitors’ bucket lists this year is hiking the famous Angels Landing. With social media videos bringing newfound attention to the trail’s incredible views and iconic ridgeline section, the trail is more popular than ever before. But with the new Angels Landing permit system that launched just last year, getting the chance to hike this iconic trail is a little more challenging than it has been in the past.

Entering the Seasonal Lottery when it opens for the dates of your visit to Cliffrose Lodge can increase your chances of getting a permit. But if you don’t get one in Seasonal or Day-Before lotteries, don’t fret; there are plenty of other incredible hiking trails to enjoy in the park.

Keep reading as we explore a few of the best trails in Zion National Park.

Canyon Overlook 

If you’re worried about missing out on the incredible views from the peak of Angels Landing, Canyon Overlook Trail is a great alternative. At just one mile round trip and only 163 feet of elevation gain, the trail is far easier than Angels Landing. But at the turnaround point, you’ll enjoy incredible views of Zion’s Lower Canyon, as well as the Pine Creek slot canyon far below you. This trail is rated moderately difficult but is a great choice for families or those not quite up to the challenge of Angels Landing.

The great views and short distance of this trail make it a popular choice for visitors to Zion National Park. If this Zion hiking trail is on your list, consider hitting the trail very early in the day, or in the late afternoon/early evening when many visitors to the park have begun to head back to their Springdale resorts. 

You won’t need to ride the shuttle for this trail, as it’s located in the Upper Canyon. Instead, hop in your car and drive the half-mile from Cliffrose Lodge to the entrance to the park. From there, continue on SR-9 for 5.9 miles through the Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel. The trailhead for Canyon Overlook is located just past the exit of the tunnel, on the right-hand side.

The Narrows

Angels Landing may be Zion’s best-known trail, but this doesn’t mean that it’s the only unique or challenging option. The Narrows is another iconic Zion hiking trail. Instead of climbing one of Zion’s towering peaks, this trail takes you deep in Zion Canyon. 

Hikers can choose between a Bottom-Up or Through-Hike of The Narrows. A Through-Hike requires a Wilderness Permit and requires hikers to arrange their own transportation to Chamberlain’s Ranch. From there, you’ll hike 16 miles downstream through the Virgin River as it carves its way into Zion National Park. This trail is even more challenging than Angels Landing and requires specialized equipment and camping gear. 

The Bottom-Up hike doesn’t require a permit and can be customized to suit your abilities and schedule. After riding the Springdale shuttle or walking to the entrance of the park from Cliffrose Lodge, you’ll ride the Zion Canyon Shuttle to the last stop. From there, hike the short Riverside Walk. At the end of the trail, you’ll find a few steps down to the riverbank of the Virgin River, and the start of The Narrows. You can dip your toes in the river and take in the views, or hike a few miles upstream to get a feel for this incredible trail.

Watchman Trail

The Angels Landing permit system was launched as a result of the growing popularity of the trail. Other trails in Zion, including the Bottom-Up portion of The Narrows and Canyon Overlook, are also popular among hikers. But if you’re looking for a less popular trail to enjoy during your visit to the park, you have plenty of options for that, too.

The Watchman Trail is located close to the South Entrance of Zion National Park. But it’s often overlooked by visitors who hop straight on the Zion Canyon Shuttle to head to other popular trailheads. This trail is three miles roundtrip and rated easy to moderate, making it a great choice for families or for a quick afternoon hike. You won’t have to climb any steep elevations to enjoy great views of the valley below and the town of Springdale. This trail doesn’t offer much shade, so you’ll want to pack plenty of water or hit the trail first thing in the morning before the heat of the day sets in.

Planning Your 2023 Adventure in Zion National Park

If you didn’t get an Angels Landing permit for your visit to Cliffrose Lodge, don’t worry. You won’t have any trouble finding other challenging trails or incredible views during your stay. These trails are just a few of the many options. Stop by the Zion Canyon Visitor Center to pick up a map and learn about the countless other trails located throughout the park.

Ready to start planning your own 2023 visit to Zion National Park? Book your stay at Cliffrose Lodge today!

Skip to content