This was a three day, two night backpacking trip. When we were requesting this trip, there was a slight issue with the wild cat connector trail. The wild cat connector had been closed due to fires. The park ranger checked and all the fires had been put out and we were good to proceed. However this did restrict our campsite options on the wildcat trail.
We hired a shuttle driver to take us from the Visitor Center, to the Wildcat Connector trailhead. It was about a 50 min ride, and it cost us $25 a person. The visitor center had the cards of about four places that provided trail head shuttle service. The place we went with was the most flexible on pickup times, which worked great for us, since we started this trip late afternoon and most shuttles only pickup early morning.
After being dropped off by our shuttle driver we started the wildcat connector trail. The first few miles of this trail is not what you would expect from Zion. It’s very flat, and very open. The trail follows several washes and will start gaining in elevation. It’s at this point the trail gets a little hard to follow. Keep a sharp eye out for cairns. We did get a little lost but eventually found the right path. The trail turns into more of a wooded area; it was here we decided to setup camp. We knew if we went much further we would enter the no camping zone, due to the recent fire activity.
The next day we set out to our designated campsite on the west rim (camp site #3). Our journey continued through the recent fire, so we had a lovely charred wood smell for about a mile. As we were climbing around the edge Wildcat Canyon, we got treated to several great views of Wildcat. From the wildcat canyon we continued on to the West Rim trail.
On the west rim trail we continued hiking on a giant plateau. With every step we could see the surrounding mountains, and would be greeted to a view of a new canyon every so often. We stopped and refilled our water at a spring in potato hollow. It’s also a great place to take a little rest, before continuing on the west rim trail. As you continue on the views just become more incredible. The surrounding mountains and plateaus are breathtaking. Finally after a long day we arrived at our campsite. Here we enjoyed the views of the sunset, and were treated by a fantastic night sky. We even got to see the IIS fly over while camped out on the west rim.
That morning we continued along the west rim trail. The trail continued to delight us with the views of Zion’s park. The next highlight this trail had in store for us was Angel’s Landing. Angel’s Landing is a rock outcropping that is not for those who are afraid of heights, or are not sure footed. At first I didn’t think Angel’s Landing was that dangerous, but as I continued to climb I realized that there are several spots where if you slipped, you would not be having a good day. At several points chains are available on Angel's landing. These chains are for you to hold on to, NOT to prevent you from falling off! I eventually did make it to the top of Angel’s Landing. The views from up above are truly fantastic.
After descending from Angel’s Landing we continued our descent from the west rim. From here on the trail is a series of switchbacks, as you go down the mountain. Overall a fantastic hike, and a great finish with Angel’s Landing.
Wildcat Connector, Wildcat Canyon, West Rim, Angels Landing