Emerald Pools | Zion National Park
Several hiking options are available here, ranging from short and easy to strenuous and steep.
Trail Type: Hiking
Length: 3 miles roundtrip
Location: Zion Canyon
Elevation Change: 70 feet to lower, 150 feet to middle, 350 feet to upper
All hikes lead to sparkling waterfalls and glistening pools. Majestic sights can be seen all along the trails, including views of Lady Mountain, the Great White Throne, Red Arch Mountain and cliffs in all directions. The lower trail is well suited for young children, baby strollers and people in wheelchairs (with some assistance).
Location: Zion National Park
Difficulty: It's easy to reach the lower pools, a little bit more difficult to the middle, and strenuous to the upper pool.
Length: Round trip distances are 1.2 miles to lower, 2 miles to middle and 3 miles to upper
Elevation change: 70 feet to lower, 150 feet to middle, 350 feet to upper
Weather: The Emerald Pools trails can be hiked year-round. Summers are hot and so hiking is most pleasant during morning hours. Spring and fall are ideal times to hike. During winter ice may be present in some spots, but it can usually be avoided. Spring runoff enlarges the streams and creates powerful, dramatic waterfalls.
Other Factors: Full services are available at Zion Lodge, across the highway from the trailhead, including restrooms, drinking water, a snack bar and restaurant. Route Descriptions: The trailhead is across the highway from Zion Lodge. Two trails begin there. The Lower Trail follows the canyon bottom to Lower Emerald Pool, which is located at the base of a cliff. Two small streams spread across the cliff face and trickle into the pools. The trail leads behind the falling water. (During spring runoff, the stream may surge and create powerful waterfalls.)The Middle Trail climbs the ridge to a series of viewpoints above the lower pool. From the lower pool, you can climb a steep route and connect with the Middle Trail. You can also reach the Middle Trail viewpoints from The Grotto via the Kayenta Trail. From the Middle Trail, a steep trail continues up the canyon up to the Upper Pool. The upper pool is larger, with a high waterfall coming into it from a towering cliff. During runoff, that waterfall can be very dramatic. All trails are clearly marked and easy to follow. The Upper Trail is steep and sandy and has some eroded spots.
Emerald Pools Trailhead
Two trails start at this spot, the Lower and the Middle. The trail to the lower Pool is fairly straightforward, just over half a mile long, meandering through the riparian habitat along the bottom of the river, even passing underneath the two waterfalls that come from the Middle Pool above.
Despite the relative ease of the hike, hikers find themselves amid the classic towering rock formations of Zion—but surrounded by a paradise of green.
Steeper and longer than the Lower Pool Trail, the trail to the Middle Pools begins in the same spot, but climbs higher up the slope, exploring yet another level of the exquisite Zion waterway.
The Upper Pool is harder to reach than the other two, though worth the extra time that it will take to visit. Waterfalls, fast and powerful during the runoff months, add to the breathtaking backdrop of Zion Canyon.