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Zion's Angels Landing hiking permit system launches

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File Photo

A permit is now required to hike the popular Angels Landing trail at Zion National Park.

Some of the first people to hike it Friday with the new pilot system in place said it was less crowded and felt safer.

The park’s visitor use manager said reduced crowding and enhanced safety is exactly why the new program was put into place — to improve people’s experience, as visitation has risen in recent years.

There are now two lotteries for Angels Landing hikes.

The seasonal permit will open months in advance and the other can be entered the day before a planned hike.

Park officials emphasize that it’s a pilot program and may require some tweaks.