Scout Lookout via West Rim Trail
The West Rim Trail to Scout Lookout is the less popular neighbor of the Angel’s Landing overlook in Zion National Park. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth your while. This paved, out-and-back trail affords all the views of Angel’s landing without the stomach-turning exposure or the packs of people. The West Rim Trail to Scout Lookout is a good option for families with older children who want to get some photos without working their way through a crowd.
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Route Description for Scout Lookout via West Rim Trail
The West Rim Trail to Scout Lookout is a paved trail up from the southern trailhead to a fantastic lookout point just beside Angel’s Landing. Don’t let the pavement fool you, this trail has some steep sections that can make it a real slog in the heat of the day. Start this hike early to avoid getting roasted by the sun. This hike gets a lot of traffic, so starting early also gets you a spot ahead of the crowds. Parts of this trail are quite exposed; if you are hiking with children, be sure they understand not to play around the edges of the cliffs along the trail and at the viewpoint.
The Scout Lookout viewpoint is an underrated overlook in the canyon. Often overshadowed by neighboring Angel’s Landing, this viewpoint is just as good as, if not better than, its more popular counterpart. The flat saddle of Scout Lookout offers the same views at a slightly lower elevation, and with significantly less people. The Scout Lookout and Angel’s Landing viewpoints do share a trail, and both can easily be visited in one afternoon.
Hop off the Zion Canyon Shuttle at the 6th stop: The Grotto. The West Rim Trailhead (South) is just over the bridge. At the trailhead, take a right and head north. About 0.5 km in there is a spur trail on your right-hand side. This trail just goes down to the river, the main trail continues up ahead. As you begin your ascent on the first, and steepest set of switchbacks, you will pass through the one shady section on this trail: Refrigerator Canyon. This area earns its name by being the one cool spot to rest on the West Rim to Scout Lookout trail. Another mile past these switchbacks will bring you to another series of switchbacks as the trail gets steep once again. These switchbacks are affectionately known as “Walters Wiggles”, named after Walter Ruesch, the first caretaker of Zion National Park. Take your time and feel the burn as you gain elevation. At the top of the Wiggles, the trail splits in two: the right trail will take you to Angel’s Landing, the left trail brings you a short distance to Scout Lookout.
Take a rest at the lookout and admire the view of the valley below. This is a great spot for lunch and a photo-op. To get back to the shuttle, follow the same trail back to The Grotto. This area has lots of other hikes so if you are feeling adventurous, there are plenty of ways to extend your day exploring this beautiful section of the Park.
Walter’s Wiggles is a series of 21 switchbacks up a steep section of the West Rim Trail. These switchbacks are located just before the trail branches off to Angel’s Landing in one direction and continues on to Scout’s lookout in the other. The Wiggles are named after the first Park Superintendent: Walter Ruesch, who designed the switchbacks back in 1926.
Frequently Asked Questions
How tall is Scout Lookout?
Scout lookout towers approximately 427 m above the Virgin River in the valley below.
Insider Hints for Scout Lookout via West Rim Trail
- Start this trail early in the morning to beat the crowds and the sun.
- Wear a sunhat and light layers, this trail gets a lot of exposure in the afternoon.
- Fill up your water at the Grotto picnic site before embarking on the trail, this trail can be hot and steep - you’ll need at least a liter of water per person. We recommend taking at least 2L per person in the summer months.
Getting to the Scout Lookout via West Rim Trail Trailhead
Catch the Zion Canyon Shuttle at the Visitor’s centre near Springdale, this is a free service that operates almost year-round. Hop off the shuttle at the 6th stop: The Grotto. This picnic spot is the southern starting point for the West Rim Trail, and is the best access point to Scout Lookout.
Scout Lookout via West Rim Trail Elevation Graph
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Scout Lookout via West Rim Trail Reviews
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