Zion National Park: Hike Observation point instead of Angel’s Landing

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I visited Zion National Park last week for the third time, and I know it won’t be the last.

Zion is a place of such beauty and adventure to me. Red rock mountains that open to a valley, contrasting lush greenery, the flowing Virgin River.. it is still my favorite Utah National Park, and one of the most beautiful places I have been. We were lucky enough to be there for two weekdays in early December. We had fantastic weather and even better- no crowds! It was lovely.

Why I chose Observation Point over Angel’s Landing

When planning our 2 week trip through Utah, me and my boyfriend, Tyler, initially wanted to hike Angel’s Landing. I had hiked it before, but I wanted him to experience the thrill and beauty of the hike too!

However, the more we thought about it, and the more that COVID cases kept rising to unprecedented levels; it soon became apparent that hiking Angel’s Landing wasn’t a good idea. To be frank, hiking this during a raging pandemic, being about a foot from dozens of people at all times, and holding a chain that has been held by hundreds of others in the past few days is just irresponsible.

If you have hiked Angel’s Landing in the past, you should know what I’m talking about.

Also, hiking Angel’s Landing is stressful in itself. Between gripping the chains, fearing the dropoff on each side, and wearing a mask on this hike while having my normal COVID anxiety heightened, this just did NOT seem like a good time!

The hike to Observation Point via the East Mesa Trail affords better views of Angel’s Landing, is a much easier hike, and much less crowded! It’s a win-win-win!

Observation Point via East Mesa Trail Hike Stats

6.7 miles & 695 ft. elevation gain. Check recent trail information & closings here.

This hike is easy to follow and very gradual in its elevation. I would honestly say it would be easy if you hike often or are in good physical shape.

How to Get There

Here is how to get to the East Mesa trailhead from the town of Springdale.

Observation Point is actually not located in Zion National Park. Instead, it’s about 25 minutes outside the park entrance. This is another reason why the trail isn’t too crowded.

The road to the trailhead is paved or in good condition up until the last 0.6 miles. On your navigation note this mileage. If you feel like you or your car cannot handle the road- park at this spot, there is a large opening.

However, the road is better than it looks in my opinion. We made it in my AWD Honda Cr-V with no lift and also saw a sedan in the parking area. So, use your discretion, and if you don’t feel like your car will make it, then park and just walk a lil extra! With that being said, DO NOT drive this road if it has had recent rain or snow. In this case, I don’t think I would recommend any type of car driving that last bit!

We hiked Observation Point for sunset, and ran into about 10-15 people hiking back to their car, and only one other person was at the summit with us for about 5-10 minutes. So. Much. Solitude. Granted, we hiked this on a weekday in December so I can’t speak for other months or times of day. But, being far away from the crowds in a usually crowded place like Zion is really special!

Be safe and have fun, and comment if you have hiked this trail before!

I hope you enjoyed my content and found it helpful for your next trip. Please like this post, subscribe to my blog, and follow me on Instagram for more travel inspiration. Thanks for reading! 🙂

Looking for more content on things to do in Utah? Check out my blog post on 3 Slot Canyons to explore!

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