Zion National Park offers visitors epic hikes with magnificent views of its sheer-faced terracotta cliffs and the meandering Virgin River. While there are many great trails to choose from, Scout Lookout is one of the best activities in the park, especially if you’re looking for a strenuous hike with unique views and without having to go through the cliff part of Angels Landing. If you want to know more about Scout Lookout, read on to find all you need to know about this hike.
Where is Scout Lookout
Scout Lookout is located in Zion National Park. Like many hikes in the park, Scout Lookout is reachable via Zion’s shuttle bus service. You can board at the Visitor Center and get off at The Grotto stop where the beginning of the hike is.
If you need more information about how to plan a trip to visit the park for the first time, be sure to read the Beginner’s Guide to Zion.
The trail is the same that goes to Angels Landing. Because of this, you’ll walk four out of the five miles of the Angels Landing Trail. There will still be more than 1,000 feet of elevation gain, you’ll still go through more than 20 challenging switchbacks, and also have stunning views of the valley below and the nearby mountains without the crazy final stretch of walking on Angels Landing’s narrow ridge.
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How is the Scout Lookout Hike
The hike starts at The Grotto shuttle stop. You’ll be going up with the same people that are going to Angels Landing and, because this is a popular hike, it’s better to have an early start.
After the flat part of the beginning, you’ll get to the switchbacks, where 21 of them await you. Although challenging, this part is very enjoyable for the landscape. And if you get tired along the way, just stop to soak in the spectacular views behind you while resting for a bit.
Once you arrive at Scout Lookout, there won’t be a sign. You’ll know you’re there when you see the sign for the cliff walk of Angels Landing. Then, you can just go to the left, find a place to sit down and enjoy the jaw-dropping scenery.
* Before starting the hike, check out the trail conditions at the Visitor Center or on Zion’s website.
Why Visit Scout Lookout
Scout Lookout is the perfect hike if you want gorgeous views of Zion National Park but don’t want to walk over the steep narrow ridge with cliff exposure to the summit of Angels Landing.
And since now hikers are required to have a permit to go all the way up to Angels Landing, Scout Lookout is the best bet if you can’t get the permit. Why? Because the online lottery is only for the part of the trail with chains. If you want to hike to Scout Lookout, a permit is not required.
HIKING STATS – SCOUT LOOKOUT
- Beginning of the Hike: The Grotto shuttle stop
- Distance: 4 miles (round trip)
- Duration: ~4 hours
- Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
- Difficulty: Strenuous
- Best time of the day: Early morning to avoid the heat
- Facilities: There are bathrooms and water fountains at the beginning of the hike at The Grotto shuttle stop
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