Just a few months ago, guests of Springdale hotels could roll out of bed in the morning and decide that was the day they would attempt to tackle the iconic Angels Landing trail. This famous hike — arguably the most famous in Zion National Park, and one of the most famous trails in the U.S. — features a number of challenging elements. 

From the 21 steep switchbacks, named “Walter’s Wiggles,” to the heart-rate-raising ridge walk, where only a single chain-link handrail separates you from the steep drop-offs on either side, the trail isn’t for the faint of heart. But while hikers have long trained and prepared for the hike, until this year, they’ve been able to spontaneously hike it, or attempt to hike it, whenever they chose to. 

That changed in early 2022. Following several years of crowding on the trail, the National Park Service began to research ideas for reducing lines at the trailhead, as well as overcrowding on the trail. Their solution is a new permit and lottery system, which launched on April 1, 2022. Visitors have two chances to get a permit for their choice of date. Without a permit, you’ll be unable to hike to Angels Landing during your visit.

But if you don’t get a permit, don’t fret; there are plenty of other equally incredible trails to enjoy in the park. If you’ve booked your choice of Springdale Utah hotels and are ready to start planning some hikes, keep reading to learn a few great alternatives to Angels Landing in case you don’t get a permit.

Kolob Arch

Staying at Springdale hotels close to the entrance to Zion National Park is a great way to make it easy to get to the park early in the day before the crowds descend. But if you feel like sleeping in or simply want a more private hike, head to Zion’s lesser-known section, Kolob Canyons. 

Located north of Zion’s main section, where most of the park’s visitors go, this section is less developed and less crowded, but no less stunning. There is no shuttle service in this part of the park, so you will need to drive, and the entrance is located about a 45-minute drive from Springdale. But if you’re willing to get off the beaten path, you can hike Kolob Arch Trail

Most visitors to Zion already know about Angels Landing. But fewer know that the park is also home to the world’s second-largest natural arch. That’s what you’ll get a chance to see when you take on this 7-mile one-way, moderate hike. While this park is considerably longer than Angels Landing, with fewer crowds and less climbing, experienced hikers will likely find that they can complete each in a similar amount of time.

Watchman Trail

This next hike offers stunning views of a different peak in Zion’s Lower Canyon. Watchman Trail is a far easier hike than Angels Landing. It features much less climbing and is just 3 miles round trip. But this shorter trail still offers some great views of the canyon. 

The trailhead for Watchman Trail is located just behind the Zion Canyon Visitors Center, at Shuttle Stop 1. This makes it a great choice for guests of Springdale Utah hotels because you can ride the Springdale Shuttle to the entrance to the park, then easily walk to this trailhead. Despite its convenient location, this trail is often overlooked by visitors who are eager to get to better-known trails like The Narrows or Angels Landing. This means that you’ll likely encounter fewer crowds, especially early or late in the day.

Cable Mountain Trail

If the thrill of hiking to Angels Landing is what you’re afraid of missing out on, you won’t want to miss this next trail. Cable Mountain Trail is a challenging 7.7-mile round trip hike that features a steeper climb than you’ll find at Angels Landing. On this one, you’ll start at the bottom of the canyon floor, and make your way to the top. 

During your hike, you’ll get to see the remnants of the trail’s namesake, a cable system that once carried lumber from the bottom of the canyon to the rim. The cable system was constructed in 1901 and later abandoned in 1930, after Zion National Park had already been founded. This trail is one of the more popular on this list, though you won’t see the lines that Angels Landing was once known for, and it’s long enough that you’ll likely be spaced out from other hikers.

Planning Your Visit to the Best Springdale Hotels

Didn’t get a permit to hike to Angels Landing? Don’t fret — the park offers plenty of other stunning trails for you to enjoy! The best Springdale hotels, like Flanigan’s Inn, allow you to stay close to the action, and to stops on the Springdale Shuttle line, making it easier to make the most of your time in the park.

Ready to start planning your next outdoor adventure in Zion National Park? Now that the summer season is in full swing, now is the time to book your 2022 stay at Flanigan’s Inn.

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