The West Rim Trail (Bottom-up)
The West Rim Trail starting at the southern trailhead is a moderately challenging day hike with fantastic views of the main canyon. Hike past Zion icons such as Walter’s Wiggles, Angels Landing and Scout Lookout. This trail can also be done “top-down” as a longer day hike or as a multi-day backpacking trip.
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Route Description for The West Rim Trail (Bottom-up)
The West Rim Trail from the southern trailhead is a fantastic hike featuring viewpoints that should be on every hiker’s bucket list. Due to its popularity, this trail is well maintained and well signed. Hikers should be advised that the trail is very busy from the trailhead to Angels Landing, but it does usually quiet down past Scout lookout. This trail has a significant incline, so bringing hiking poles and lots of water is advised. You also won’t want to forget the camera, the views from this trail are some of the best in all of Zion.
At the Grotto Picnic site, cross the footbridge over the Virgin River to The West Rim Southern Trailhead. The path divides here - take a right and head north. As you begin your ascent on the first (and steepest) set of switchbacks, you’ll find yourself travelling through the cool walls of Refrigerator Canyon. This is a good spot to rest in the shade as the trail ahead is hot and exposed. Soon, you’ll reach the second set of switchbacks: affectionately known as “Walters Wiggles”, named after Walter Ruesch, the first caretaker of Zion National Park who designed this section of the trail in 1926. At the top of the Wiggles, the trail splits in two, each path will take you to a fantastic viewpoint. The right trail will take you off of the West Rim Trail to Angel’s Landing, the left trail brings you a short distance along the West Rim Trail to Scout Lookout. To get to Angels Landing, follow the right-hand path along the spine of the mountain. This section of trail is very exposed, with both sides dropping away to the valley below. There are chains and guardrails along this section, but this path is not recommended for young children or people who are afraid of heights. If you are feeling uneasy by the time you reach the first set of chains, it's best to turn back, as the trail only gets more exposed. The views from Angels Landing and Scout Lookout are equally stunning, and Scout lookout is usually less crowded and less exposed. From Scout Lookout, the West Rim trail continues on for another 3 miles before dividing again at Cabin Spring. This divide marks the turn-around point for this day hike.
If you want to extend your time exploring this area, the Telephone Loop from Cabin Spring can be added on to this hike. If you want to spend more than a day along the West Rim Trail, camping is permitted at designated campsites along the Telephone loop with a backcountry permit.
Getting to the The West Rim Trail (Bottom-up) 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.
The West Rim Trail (Bottom-up) Elevation Graph
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The West Rim Trail (Bottom-up) Reviews
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