Pay to hike part of Zion’s Angels Landing? Park proposes permit lottery

Local News

FILE – This Sept. 15, 2015, file photo, shows Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah. Zion National Park announced Monday, Marc h 23, 2020, it is closing its campgrounds and part of a popular trail called Angel’s Landing that is often crowded with people. The top part of the hike that is being closed is bordered by steep drops and ascends some 1,500 feet (457 meters) above the southern Utah park’s red-rock cliffs, offering sweeping views.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4) – Spur of the moment trips to Zion National Park to hike Angels Landing may soon be no more.

One of Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks is considering a day-use permit lottery if you want to hike the half-mile chain section of Angels Landing. A $6 lottery application fee and a $3 per person fee is being proposed.

Permits would be required for Angels Landing starting in 2022.

The chained trail of Angels Landing is highly sought-after at Zion, the National Park Service explains, with more than 300,000 visitors making the ascent in 2019 alone. Recent increased park popularity has caused intense crowding and congestion on Angels Landing’s trail, officials add.

Increased crowding is raising safety and visitor experience concerns.

In 2017, officials say they initiated a trail use study to understand hiking patterns and visitor experience on Angels Landing and in The Narrows. In 2019 and 2021, informal means of managing hiker flow along the chains section, based on the study results, were implemented on holiday weekends. This allowed officials to understand levels and rates of visitor use that alleviate congestion and safety concerns on the trail.

  • Narrow portions of Angels Landing Trail require chains to traverse.
  • view from Angels Landing Zion National Park _6454553228333960791
  • Narrow portions of Angels Landing Trail require chains to traverse.

Based on these efforts and public input, Zion is proposing a day-use permit lottery system for the chained section of Angels Landing for 2022. Visitors would be allowed to day-hike the West Rim Trail up to and beyond Scout Lookout without a permit.

The two proposed fees – $6 for the application fee and $3 per person – would help cover the cost to operate the online lottery platform and implement and manage the program in the field. Permits would allow for groups of up to six people and proof of identification would be required before accessing the chained portion of the trail.

Park officials say permits would be made available in an advanced lottery several months before the visit date. A second opportunity would be available the day before the desired hiking day.

The National Park Service is now looking for public input on this proposal, as well as a possible change in amenity fees for the Lava Point Campground. There, a $20 nightly fee for campsites has been proposed to address the costs associated with servicing the remote campsites.

Public comments on proposed changes to the amenity fees for the Lava Point Campground and day-use permit pilot on Angels Landing are being accepted from August 13, 2021, through September 12, 2021, on the NPS Planning, Environment, & Public Comment (PEPC) website.

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