This is an amazing and vertiginous hike! The views over Zion Canyon are spectacular. It had snowed over night and this added to the landscape's beauty. Though not physically challenging, it is nevertheless a mostly uphill effort does but more importantly, one must not have a fear of heights. I found some sections to be dizzying and one must be very cautious, despite the chains bolted on the side of the cliffs. The trail starts out with a wide well paved path; eventually, the trail zigzags upwards steeply and on occasion, you can look back down. Eventually, the view over to the south of Zion Canyon reveals itself and the paved path ends to give way to the actual terrain. The path continues upwards along a rather steep rock face slope. At that point, I was beginning to be hesitant or at least very cautious at the sight of what lay ahead. A few feet before me was a young woman that had stopped in her tracks visibly assessing if she was to continue or not. She was a local and told me she had done this hike a few times before but in the summer. She eventually decided to turn around, fearing this was perhaps too risky. She only had hiking shoes on and much of the slope was covered in snow. I myself had my crampons on so I felt safe and went ahead very carefully; up to that point, this had been the scariest section of trail I had ever done. You have a clear exposed view of the entire canyon to the south as well as a view hundreds of feet down from where you stand. This was at once awesome and terrifying, at least for me. I stood there for a few moments, simply to get accustomed to the environment and my situation. After a little while, I felt confident to continue on.
From there on, the trail was interspersed with easy sections and vertiginous climbs and ledges looking down deep into the canyon. Bolted chains help provide a sense of safety. But thinking back on it, the scariest thing is perhaps looking at what lays ahead rather than actually walking along those sections. Once I went through a narrow ledge, it didn't seem to be as bad as it looked before going through it. But the danger is still there and one false move can lead to certain death.
I was there on christmas day and as I move along, I suddenly see there before me, coming down my way, Santa! Actually, it was a hiker loosely dressed as Santa and he was giving out candy canes no less! He was only one of the very few hikers I met going up. On the way down, I met a lot more people; the risky sections only allow for a single person at a time so you either wait for others to cross those sections of they wait for you. I sometimes feel pressured to hurry up to cross over sections if I know people are waiting for me to finish. Mindful of this, I always tell people to take their time on such occasions and on this trail especially, people need to be very cautious.