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Reporting from the St. George area focused on local government, public lands and the environment, indigenous issues and faith and spirituality.

Angels Landing Will Soon Require A Ticket To Hike — Here’s How It Will Work

A photo of people hiking at Angels Landing.
Courtesy of Zion National Park
People hiking Angels Landing in March 2020. Zion National Park officials will soon be implementing a reservation system to hike the trail.

Angels Landing, one of Zion National Park’s busiest and most iconic hikes, could soon require a reservation to hike. Park officials said they’re proposing a lottery system in hopes of improving visitors’ experience.

“The hope is … [visitors] will be able to focus on spectacular views and the chains and watch of the condors and be able to really enjoy the hike and not have to focus on the pure number of people out there,” said Cass Bromley, the chief of resource management at Zion.

The plan is to make people pay to enter a lottery, which will open quarterly, though some slots will be available the day before. The lottery is scheduled to open starting this January for people looking to hike sometime between March and May.

It will cost $6 for up to six people to enter. Then, each person will have to pay an additional $3 to use the trail. Officials haven’t decided yet how many tickets will be available each day.

Lana Hiss, an assistant guide at Zion Adventures in Springdale, said she tries to hike Angels Landing in the off season, to avoid crowds. She hopes this system will help people in that regard.

“I think that is going to create that experience for people that they're going to have to plan ahead and then it's going to be a more enjoyable hike, having less people than feeling that two hour wait sometimes just for that mile,” Hiss said.

The permits will be for the chained section of the hike, or the last half mile of the trail. More than 300,000 people made that final climb in 2019, according to park officials.

Springdale Mayor Stan Smith said he supports the park’s plans and thinks it will help spread people out throughout the day.

“When you get a lot of people on that chain and you get some impatient people, it becomes quite dangerous,” Smith said. “It'll be more structured and it’s something that needs to happen.”

Thirteen people have died on the trail since 2000, according to an investigation by Fox 13. However, park officials said during a press conference Monday that there’s no correlation between crowding and falls in the last five years.

Porter George, who works at Zion Guru, an equipment rental and guide company in town, said he isn’t on board with the proposal. He said he thinks reservations will be too hard to get a hold of.

“Zion is a space for people to come out into nature and kind of start to develop some feelings about it,” George said. “If they can't really get in anymore, we're going to take a few steps backwards as far as conservation and protecting the land.”

Alan Holben is a retired software engineer turned photographer who lives in Ivins. He said he’s hiked Angels Landing several times and is in favor of a system that manages the crowds. But, he said, he’ll miss not being able to spontaneously visit the trail.

“That's really the only limiting factor for me is being able to do something spur of the moment,” Holben said. “It's like, I can't get a permit for six months or maybe [I’ll] never get one or whatever. That’s my only concern about it.”

The proposed system is open for public comment until Sept. 12 on the park’s website.

Lexi is KUER's Southwest Bureau reporter
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