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West Rim Trail (Cabin Spring 3 to Grotto Picnic Area)

Zion National Park

Zion National Park Links:

May 18th, 1998

5.0 miles
500 vertical feet
Total Time: 4:00

Rating: 8/10

Directions:   View Driving Map

Ben, Jay, Weihaw, and I hiked the West Rim Trail, from the Cabin Spring camp 3 to the Grotto Picnic Area, at Zion National Park.

We stopped at Cabin Spring to fill up on water again. As we were finishing up, another group of hikers joined us. They'd hiked down from Potato Hollow -- but they were from Texas so they referred to it as "Potato Holler". After wishing them a good trip, we were on our way down, though we'd pass each other several times on the way down.

Taking a break on the way back

When we reached Scout's Lookout, we stopped for lunch. Chipmunks darted around us, begging for food. We were running short on time, since we had the East Rim Trail to do later, but I decided to take a short trip out toward Angels Landing while the others were eating and resting. I gave myself 20 minutes before I would turn around. I thought I could make it...

Half Dome has nothing on Angels Landing for those of you with even a mild fear of heights. Which includes me. Footing is treacherous, and there's a chain bolted to the top for you to hang on -- in some places. In others, you're on your own. After following the "trail" to what I thought was the top, I was met with a horrifying reality. I wasn't even halfway there. The peak I'd reached had been hiding the real peak. I was instantly reminded of a recent Simpsons episode in which Homer climbed Springfield's tallest peak -- no, that's not it, it's the one three times taller to the, that's not's the one three times taller to the right of that!

Angels Landing, as seen from the false summit

I think a lot of other hikers were also caught off-guard. I suspect that many people see that second peak and then turn around, defeated. I continued on a little longer, alternately walking and crawling on all fours along a knife-edge of a ridge, with perhaps a thousand foot drop on either side. Eventually my time ran out when I was only about half-way up, and I had to turn around. Maybe someday I'll return to go all the way up.

Ben heading down Walter's Wiggles

I returned to Scout's Lookout and we continued down Walter's Wiggles and back to the Grotto Picnic Area as the day began to heat up.

More switchbacks await us near the bottom!

Return to Zion/Bryce/Grand Canyon trip report.

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