There’s no shortage of day trips to enjoy during a stay at our Canyon resort. From the uniquely beautiful sand dunes at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the lesser-known side of the popular national park, staying in Hildale, Utah makes it easy to explore some of Southern Utah’s most stunning destinations.

But there’s no denying that one of the most popular destinations is Zion National Park. When choosing where to stay in Southern Utah, many visitors look for a destination close to this park. Water Canyon Resort is located less than an hour from Springdale, Utah and the South Entrance to Zion. This makes it easy to enjoy a day trip or two to the national park, while still enjoying a relaxing stay at one of the best luxury resorts Utah has to offer.

If you’re thinking about visiting Zion during your Canyons resort stay, you might also be thinking about taking on the park’s most iconic trail; Angels Landing. But hiking this unique and challenging trail got a little more complicated in 2022, when the National Park Service implemented a new permit system.

Keep reading to learn more about Angels Landing, how to get a permit, and how to plan a day trip to Zion during your stay in one of the best luxury resorts Utah has to offer.

What is Angels Landing?

Located in Zion’s Lower Canyon, Angels Landing is a challenging 5.4-mile out-and-back trail with nearly 1,500 feet of elevation gain. The hike’s tall peak, visible from nearly everywhere in the park, got its name from early park visitor Frederick Vining Fisher, a Methodist minister who visited the canyon in 1916. Fisher commented that only an angel could land on the tall red rock peak.

While thousands of visitors prove Fisher wrong each year, the hike to Angels Landing isn’t for the faint of heart. The steep climb, long distance, and high summer temperatures have earned the trail a “strenuous” rating. But the final section of the trail has hikers climbing 500 feet in elevation along a narrow ridgeline, with only a chain link handrail between them and the steep drop-offs on either side.

The popularity of the trail has led to crowding in recent years. During the busy summer months and on holiday weekends, lines often formed, with hikers sometimes waiting up to 4 hours for their turn on the trail. In an effort to keep park visitors safe and protect the delicate ecosystems on and around the trail, the National Park Service implemented a new permit and lottery system in early 2022.

Angels Landing Pilot Permit Program

The National Park Service launched a pilot permit and lottery program on April 1, 2022. Starting from that date, all visitors hoping to hike Angels Landing need to have a permit in hand in order to do so. Visitors have two chances to get a permit for their choice of dates during their stay; the Seasonal Lottery and the Day-Before Lottery.

The Seasonal Lottery

Four Seasonal Lotteries are held each year. Two of these have already passed for 2023. But if you’re planning to a stay at our Canyons Resort after September 1, 2023, you can enter one of the following Seasonal Lotteries:

  • For hikes between September 1 and November 30, 2023, the Seasonal Lottery will be open from July 1 to July 20. Permits will be awarded on July 25.
  • For hikes between December 1, 2023, and February 29, 2024, the Seasonal Lottery will be open from October 1 to October 20. Permits will be awarded on October 25.

Each of the two lotteries can be accessed via the National Park Service’s website. To enter the Seasonal Lottery, visitors will need to pay a non-refundable fee of $6, which allows them to enter the lottery for up to six hikers at a time. If you are chosen in the lottery, you’ll need to pay $3 per person for the permit. This permit fee is refundable if your permit is canceled at least two days before your hike.

The Day-Before Lottery

If you don’t get a permit in the Seasonal Lottery, or if you’re planning a last-minute stay at Canyons Resort, one of the best luxury resorts Utah has to offer, you can also enter the Day-Before Lottery. As the name suggests, this lottery is open from 12:01 a.m. to 3 p.m. MT each day, and awards permits for the following day. Winners of permits for the next day are announced at 4 p.m. MT.

The same $6 application fee applies and can be used to enter up to six hikers in the lottery. You’ll also need to pay $3 for the permit if your name is chosen in the lottery. For this lottery, both fees are nonrefundable.

While it’s best to enter the Seasonal Lottery to increase your odds of getting a permit, this lottery is a great second chance at a permit. If you’ve chosen where to stay in Southern Utah based on visiting Zion, you can even enter this lottery daily, and head to Zion from Water Canyon on a day trip if you do obtain a permit.

Planning a Day Trip to Zion From Canyons Resort

Whether you’re planning a visit far enough in advance to enter the Seasonal Lottery or a last-minute visit and hoping to snag a permit in the Day-Before Lottery, you’ll want to do a little pre-planning if you’re hoping to day trip to Zion. The most important thing that you can do is to consider where to stay in Southern Utah.

Staying in our Canyons resort makes it easy to visit Zion one, two, or multiple times during your stay. At Water Canyon Resort, you get the best of both worlds; easy access to Southern Utah’s top attractions, but the peace and tranquility only found away from the busy tourist towns.
Thinking about visiting Water Canyon and Zion in 2023? Now is a great time to book your next stay. Right now, when you book a stay of three or more nights, you’ll enjoy a 25 percent discount on your stay. Book today to take advantage of these savings.