Rare waterfall drops off trendsetters’ bucket list after visitors’ access is restricted

Hikers will now need to apply for a permit before heading out to see the angel falls cliff in the southwestern US

The trail to see the canyon hanging above a gorge on the edge of the Kaiparowits mountain range at Zion national park in Utah, which includes what have been called the world’s most famous waterfall, is now officially closed.

Hiking Angels Landing, seen from the rim of the Kaiparowits canyon, will require a permit to access the area Photograph: Joshua Trujillo/Zion National Park

All public access to the area where Zion Canyon fills with water, the waterfall on the rim of which is known as the world’s most photographed view, has been restricted by a new rule at the park. A permit will now be required for anyone who wants to hike the 1.5km trail in winter or spring to access the 100ft drop on the canyon edge.

Hiking Angels Landing is unique because of the 160 metre drop on the rim of the canyon. Photograph: Joshua Trujillo/Zion National Park

The move to restrict access to the area, near the northern edge of the Kaiparowits canyon in Zion national park, was made by park staff last month in response to concerns from visitors who were forced to walk down and wait for the plume of water to recede each time they made the 13- to 18-minute walk from the trail to the water source.

Under the new rules, no more than six permits will be issued each year for winter and spring visitors to the fall. The permit is valid for the entire day.

Encampments must be the on-site campgrounds at Zion. Photograph: Joshua Trujillo/Zion National Park

Spring is not a time to hike the trail through Zion when snow continues to build up at the top of the gorge because that takes at least four to six hours, according to Bruce Cox, a ranger at the park.

Temperatures can plummet in the canyon in winter but it can also be hot, Cox said. He said the “open gorge” offers a mild camping experience for those who do not have snow clothes or extra layers of clothing.

Cox said the park has to limit the number of people who can visit the gorge and participate in winter activities because of the lack of trash bins.

You may love the view, but …

The trail required a permit from a prior peak season to be open to the public. Photograph: Joshua Trujillo/Zion National Park

The new trail opening in the fall will be marked by signs warning visitors to stay out of the valley in winter, Cox said.

In January, four men were rescued after falling from Zion Falls when a group attempted to gather one of the cliffs between the two.

A the time of writing, the season for end-of-year hiking through the canyon had not yet opened.

“Some folks love it but others, especially experienced hikers, they’re a little uncomfortable” because of the lack of facilities at campgrounds, Cox said.

Zion is listed on the National Park Service’s (NPS) top ten North American attractions – the top 10 of which are:

No. 1: Grand Canyon, Arizona

No. 2: Niagara Falls, New York

No. 3: Yosemite, California

No. 4: Canaveral National Seashore, Florida

No. 5: Red Rock Canyon, Arizona

No. 6: Point Reyes National Seashore, California

No. 7: Zion, Utah

No. 8: Joshua Tree National Park, California

No. 9: Yosemite National Park, California

No. 10: Yellowstone, Wyoming

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