How to Hike Scout Lookout in Zion National Park – a great alternative to Angels Landing

Zion National Park October 2020-01476

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.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ: Best Hikes in Zion National Park and Best Hotels Near Zion National Park

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.

Angels Landing and Scout Lookout Hike Switchbacks

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.

Angels Landing Hike Sign

* 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.

People standing at Scout Lookout near Angels Landing Cliff


  • 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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I am Elen, and I help 9-5ers plan their next getaway. I curate travel experiences, from places to sip a coffee to stays in boutique hotels, so you can save time when planning your next vacation. Here you will find travel guides, tips, and the best itineraries for your next trip.

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