Want to hike to Angels Landing in Zion National Park? You’ll have to be a little bit brave, and a little bit lucky.
As of April 1, hikers will need a permit to make the strenuous 5-mile trek, which climbs 1,488 feet and is definitely not for anyone with a fear of heights.
The new policy comes in response to a rise in visitors to the park in recent years. June was the busiest month ever for Zion, which opened its doors in 1919, and the park is on course to have its busiest year ever, surpassing 2019′s 4.5 million visitors.
The Angels Landing trail in particular has become increasingly crowded — and dangerous. At least 13 people have died on the trail since 2000.
“Angels Landing is one of the most iconic destinations in Zion National Park and issuing permits will make going there fair for everyone.” Jeff Bradybaugh, park superintendent, said in a statement. “The system we’ve put in place will reduce crowding on the trail, address safety concerns and make it easy for visitors to plan ahead.”
You can also enter a daily lottery (the day before you plan to hike) beginning March 31. It’ll cost $6 to enter, which won’t be refunded if you “lose.” Those who win a permit will be required to pay an additional $3 fee, per person.
The funds will go toward managing the lotteries and also cover the cost of additional National Park Service rangers needed to check permits and assist visitors.
The permits are part of a pilot program that the National Park Service will adjust as needed, according to a news release.
“The pilot permit program reflects comments from nearly 1,000 members of the public, park neighbors and other stakeholders,” the release states. “It also reflects lessons NPS learned by metering the number of hikers on the trail in 2019 and 2021.”
In October, the first 10 miles of a planned 24.5-mile mountain bike trail system opened to the public as part of an effort to help spread out Zion’s crowds. The trail was built on donated land and will loop around the eastern edge of the park.