Zion National Park Makes You Enter a Lottery to Go on This Terrifying Hike

by Victoria Santiago

One of the most iconic and scariest hikes in Zion National Park, Angels Landing, is now only accessible via lottery. During most of the pandemic, Angels Landing was closed to the public. As the world started to open up again, so did this iconic hike. However, it seems that too many people were eager to get back into the great outdoors. Many parks, including Zion, were being overcrowded.

The pandemic gave the U.S. National Parks Service (NPS) a rare moment to pause. They were able to consider the sustainability of our national parks. Many of them get millions of visitors per year. For example, Zion National Park gets more than 4.5 million visitors a year. That number has only gone up in recent years. Of those visitors, around 300,000 tackle the Angels Landing hike. That’s about 1,000 hikers each day.

Thus, a hike lottery.

Zion National Park Hike Lottery Should Help With Trail Congestion

NPS is piloting a permit program within the park for those that want to climb to Angels Landing.

“Angels Landing is one of the most iconic destinations in Zion National Park and issuing permits will make going there fair for everyone,” said NPS superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. “The system we’ve put in place will reduce crowding on the trail, address safety concerns and make it easy for visitors to plan ahead.”

The Angels Landing lottery system is modeled after other similar programs. These timed ticketing programs are often huge successes. Not only do they reduce the number of people exploring, but they also add to the mystery and intrigue of the attraction.

What We Know About the Lottery

The lottery will start on April 1, 2022. There will only be a certain number of tickets available each day. However, that number has not been specified yet. Each lottery ticket covers up to six hikers.

Anyone interested in going on the Angels Landing hike will have to go to recreation.gov. There, they’ll have to pay $6 (non-refundable) to enter the lottery. There are two timeframes to choose from on the site: seasonal and last-minute. The seasonal lottery will run four times a year. If you chose this, you can pick seven ranked days and times that you’d like to hike. The last-minute lottery is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll apply for a permit the day before you’d like to hike. There’s a three-hour window to register if you go this route, between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

If you win, you’ll have to pay another $3 to actually do the Zion National Park hike. According to Traveller, the spring seasonal lottery is already closed and tickets have gone out. The summer seasonal lottery will be open between April 1 and April 20.