Recent Angel’s Landing Death Prompts Safety Reminders
Recently, on Tuesday, February 6, news outlets reported that a 13-year old girl died falling from Angels Landing the day before. Because this is now the second year in a row that a fatality has occurred on this trail, we feel that it is important to remind everyone how to stay safe in Zion National Park. Though the circumstances surrounding this recent and tragic incident are still unknown and very well may remain that way as we’ve learned that she was alone and removed from her party at the time she fell, we must stress the fact that very basic Zion safety awareness will keep everyone safe and will prevent future incidents from occurring as well as any other injuries inside the park. Zion is a place of discovery, wonder, and fun and being conscientious about Zion safety will help everyone’s trip to be those things and so much more.
General Hiking Smarts
Hiking is an incredibly fun and rewarding activity, but don’t make the mistake of taking it for granted, regardless of how experienced you may feel that you are. You need to know the limits of your own body and plan your hikes accordingly. For example, embarking on a challenging hike is great, but don’t make the mistake of engaging in anything that is beyond your capacity. This goes hand-in-hand with making sure that you are well-versed on the trails that you choose, particularly the mileage and the route. Getting lost or otherwise taking much longer than expected to complete a hike and risking exhaustion or injury can easily be avoided by becoming familiar beforehand with the necessary information. Cover this base by bringing someone along with you who have successfully completed the hike before. And certainly don’t bring children along on certain hikes if they are clearly too young to handle the day’s journey or too young to understand safety principles. This is Zion safety 101.
Stay Alert and Be Mindful
Most of the trails in Zion are very low risk, but some, such as Angel’s Landing, require maximum awareness at all times. In some sections of some hikes, you absolutely must be 100% in tune with each and every step that you take as the terrain can be quite treacherous. Danger can manifest itself in a variety of ways out in the wilderness, such as narrow walk space, rocky and unstable terrain, cliffs that are eroding, and crevices that can sometimes be hard to see, just to name a few. Staying alert and being mindful at all times, especially while on trails that are known to contain an above-average risk level, is wise for all Zion visitors.
Stay Away From Wildlife
Encountering an animal up close and personal is unlikely as the majority of the creatures that live inside Zion National Park prefer to steer clear of people themselves. Most of the animal sightings in the park involve deer, birds, and squirrels. However, there are critters such as rattlesnakes, for example, that you may catch a glimpse of if you’re lucky and that bring with them a level of danger. If you happen to see one, don’t engage it in any way. In fact, fully avoid altogether. This approach (or lack of) is the surest path to Zion safety in such a situation. Certainly, don’t leave the trail to try and approach any form of wildlife. It’s best to stay on the path and leave the animals be.
Southern Utah has amazing weather which is one of the reasons Zion National Park is so popular. But you really don’t want to get caught in a rainstorm while your deep into a hike. This presents all sorts of Zion safety issues and potentially dangerous situations. Always check the weather before coming to Zion. It must also be said here that packing enough water and food to sustain yourself during very hot days is part of weather awareness. You don’t want exhaustion or dehydration while inside the park. And obviously, don’t go anywhere near the Narrows if the weather calls for rain. Check the weather far in advance of your trip.