Planning a summer visit to your favorite Zion National Park hotel this year? If this isn’t your first trip, you’re no doubt already thinking about which scenic drives you’ll take, where you’ll stop for photos, or which hiking trails you’d like to tackle during your visit. But if your last visit was prior to April 1, 2022, there’s one big change you’ll need to know about before your visit.

If you have your heart set on hiking to Angels Landing this trip, you can no longer ride the shuttle to the trailhead and hit the trail. Instead, any guests planning to attempt this challenging hike will need a permit. And getting a permit is a bit more complicated than simply stopping by the visitor center.

Planning a stay at your favorite Zion National Park lodging this year? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the new permit system and how to enter the lottery to try to get one for your trip.

What is Angels Landing?

From the towering red rock peaks to the abundance of deep canyons, there are plenty of things that help to make Zion National Park the second most-visited national park in the country. There’s a lot to see and do during a visit to the park. Of course, most of the park’s more than 5 million annual visitors plan to do at least a little bit of hiking during their visit. And the most popular and well-known trail is Angels Landing.

This iconic trail isn’t for the faint of heart. The trail is 5-miles roundtrip, with nearly 1,500 feet of elevation change. Some of the most challenging features include the infamous Walter’s Wiggles—a set of 21 narrow, steep switchbacks—and the heart pounding final half-mile, which takes hikers along a narrow ridge with only a chain handrail on one side protecting them from sheer drop-offs on either side. But despite the trail’s dangers, it has previously attracted more than 300,000 annual hikers. 

The New Permit System for Angels Landing

To combat the crowds of hikers and reduce the impact the number of visitors have on the delicate ecosystems around the trail, the National Park Service enacted a new permit system for this popular trail. Now, hikers hoping to scale to the summit will need to enter a lottery system to get a permit for their visit.

The new Angels Landing Pilot Permit Program began on April 1, 2022. In order to get a permit, guests will need to enter a lottery for the date that they’re hoping to hike this trail. There are actually two separate lotteries; the Seasonal Lottery and the Day-before Lottery. This means that you’ll have two chances to grab a permit for you and your group,

Seasonal Lottery

The Seasonal Lottery divides the year into four separate seasons. Guests planning a stay at a Zion National Park hotel for a specific date a few months in the future can use this lottery to try to get a permit to hike to Angels Landing during their visit. 

This lottery opens up a few months before the start of the season. The dates for the initial Seasonal Lottery are as follows:

  • For hiking dates between April 1 and May 31, 2022, the Seasonal Lottery ran from January 3 to January 20, with permits issued on January 25.
  • The lottery for the season running from June 1 to August 31 opened on April 1 and lasted until April 20, with permits issued on April 25.
  • For hiking dates between September 1 and November 30, the Seasonal Lottery runs from July 1 to July 20, with permits issued on July 25.
  • The lottery for the season running from December 1 to February 28, 2023, will open on October 1 and run through October 20, with permits issued on October 25.

The dates have not been announced for the remainder of 2023 at this time. Entering the Seasonal Lottery costs $6, and can be used to enter up to 6 people. If you do get a permit, you’ll need to pay an additional $3 per person for the permit. You can cancel your permit up to two days prior to the date and receive a refund of the $3 per person fee.

Day-before Lottery

The Seasonal Lottery makes it difficult for locals or those planning a last-minute trip, because you have to enter the lottery at least a few months ahead of when you plan to visit. But for those planning a spontaneous stay at their favorite Zion National Park hotel, or for those who didn’t get a permit in the Seasonal Lottery, there is a second lottery.

As the name suggests, the Day-before Lottery allows guests to try for a permit for the following day. This lottery opens daily at 12:01 a.m. and stays open until 3 p.m. MT. Permits are issued at 4 p.m. that day for hikes the following day.

The Day-before Lottery also costs $6 to enter and includes up to 6 people. If you get a permit, you will need to pay $3 per person. This fee is not refundable.

Planning Your Stay at the Best Zion National Park Hotel

Whether you’re planning ahead for a future stay at your favorite Zion National Park lodging or looking to book a last-minute trip, if you’re hoping to hike to Angels Landing, you’ll want to make sure you enter one or both of the lotteries.

If you don’t get a permit, don’t fret; there are plenty more hikes to enjoy in Zion!

Of course, the best way to increase your odds of getting a permit to hike this iconic trail is to plan your trip early so that you can enter the Seasonal Lottery. Book your future stay at Flanigan’s today, and set a reminder for yourself to enter the Seasonal Lottery as soon as it opens for your trip dates!

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