Emerald Pools Trail

Emerald Pools Trail: Attractions, Travel, Facts, Tips, Guide

The Emerald Pools Trail is more than just a hiking path; it is a journey of discovery, a voyage into the heart of one of nature’s most captivating landscapes. With its cascading waterfalls, tranquil pools, and lush hanging gardens, this trail offers a glimpse into a world untouched by time, where beauty flourishes in every corner. Whether embarking on a solo adventure or exploring with family and friends, hikers are sure to be spellbound by the enchanting allure of this Zion gem.  This article will give an overview of Emerald Pools Trail. Keep reading.

The Allure of Emerald Pools Trail

Nestled within the breathtaking expanse of Zion National Park lies a trail that captivates visitors with its natural beauty and family-friendly appeal: The Emerald Pools Trail. This iconic pathway winds through a landscape adorned with cascading waterfalls, lush hanging gardens, and serene pools of emerald-tinted water. As one of Zion’s most cherished treasures, this trail beckons adventurers of all ages to explore its wonders and immerse themselves in the splendor of nature.

Emerald Pools Trail

Trail Type: Hiking
Length: 3 miles roundtrip
Location: Zion Canyon
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Change: 70 feet to lower, 150 feet to center, 350 feet to higher

Discover the Enchanting Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park

Overview: The Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park offers a captivating journey through lush landscapes and refreshing waterfalls. With its varying difficulty levels and stunning scenery, it’s a must-visit for hikers of all skill levels.

Trail Details:

  • Access Points: Begin your adventure at the footbridge over the Virgin River, located near the Zion Lodge. From here, the trail leads to three distinct pools: Lower, Middle, and Upper.
  • Distance: The round-trip distances are as follows:
    • Lower Pool: 1.2 miles
    • Middle Pool: 2 miles
    • Upper Pool: 3 miles
  • Elevation Change: Expect moderate elevation changes along the trail:
    • Lower Pool: 70 feet
    • Middle Pool: 150 feet
    • Upper Pool: 350 feet
  • Trail Conditions: The Emerald Pools Trail can be hiked year-round, but conditions vary:
    • Summers can be hot, so it’s best to hike during the cooler morning hours.
    • Spring and fall offer ideal hiking conditions.
    • Winter may bring icy spots, but they’re usually manageable. Spring runoff creates dramatic waterfalls.

Experience Levels:

  • Lower Pool: Easily accessible, suitable for all hikers.
  • Middle Pool: Slightly more challenging but rewarding.
  • Upper Pool: Strenuous ascent, suitable for experienced hikers seeking a rewarding challenge.

Tips for Hikers:

  • Carry plenty of water, especially during hot weather.
  • Wear sturdy hiking shoes with good traction.
  • Start early to avoid crowds and enjoy cooler temperatures.
  • Check weather conditions before heading out, especially during winter and spring runoff.
  • Respect wildlife and stay on designated trails to preserve the park’s natural beauty.

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Zion National Park. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll to the Lower Pool or an exhilarating hike to the Upper Pool, the Emerald Pools Trail promises an enchanting adventure amidst nature’s splendor.

The Enchanting Oasis: Exploring the Pools

As hikers venture along the Emerald Pools Trail, they are greeted by a series of enchanting pools that shimmer with hues of emerald and turquoise. These tranquil oases provide a refreshing respite from the arid desert surroundings, inviting weary travelers to pause and soak in the beauty that surrounds them. With each step, the allure of these pools deepens, captivating the senses with the gentle lull of cascading water and the vibrant colors reflected upon the surface.

A Symphony of Waterfalls: Nature’s Masterpiece

The trail meanders amidst a symphony of waterfalls, each cascading a testament to nature’s mastery of artistry. From delicate streams that trickle down moss-covered rocks to majestic torrents that thunder into crystal-clear pools below, the waterfalls along the Emerald Pools Trail offer a mesmerizing display of power and grace. Every twist and turn of the pathway unveils a new spectacle, leaving hikers awe-struck by the sheer magnificence of their surroundings.

Lush Hanging Gardens: A Verdant Tapestry

Amidst the rugged terrain, lush hanging gardens drape the landscape like a verdant tapestry, adding a touch of vibrancy to the rocky cliffsides. These botanical wonders teem with life, their emerald foliage providing a sanctuary for a myriad of plant and animal species. As hikers pass beneath the canopy of greenery, they are enveloped in a sense of tranquility, transported to a world where nature reigns supreme and the beauty of the wilderness knows no bounds.

Path Difficulty: A Spectrum of Challenge

Traversing the Emerald Pools Trail offers a spectrum of challenge, ranging from a leisurely stroll to a moderate hike, contingent upon the desired distance covered. As explorers delve deeper into its expanse, they encounter varying levels of difficulty, with the Lower, Middle, and Upper Pools marking distinct points along the journey.

Accessibility and Ease: Lower Pool Path

For those seeking a leisurely jaunt amidst nature’s splendor, the path to the Lower Pool presents an accessible option. Paved and accommodating to strollers and wheelchairs with assistance, this portion of the trail offers a gentle introduction to the wonders that await. Families with young children, individuals with mobility aids, and those desiring a relaxed pace will find the Lower Pool path to be a welcoming choice.

Increasing Challenge: Middle and Upper Pools

As adventurers progress beyond the Lower Pool, the difficulty gradually intensifies, particularly upon reaching the Middle and Upper Pools. While still suitable for most healthy adults and children, these sections demand a bit more stamina and determination. The terrain becomes more rugged, requiring careful navigation and a willingness to overcome obstacles along the way.

Spectacular Vistas: A Rewarding Journey

Regardless of the chosen route, all paths lead to breathtaking vistas that showcase the unparalleled beauty of Zion National Park. From the sparkling waterfalls to the glistening pools of emerald, each step unveils majestic sights that leave a lasting impression on the senses. Throughout the journey, hikers are treated to panoramic views of iconic landmarks such as Lady Mountain, the Great White Throne, Red Arch Mountain, and towering cliffs that stretch in every direction.

Emerald Pools Trail

Exploring the Emerald Pools Trail: A Three-Mile Adventure

Overview: Embark on a delightful three-mile round-trip hike along the Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park. This scenic trail leads you to three enchanting pools—Lower, Middle, and Upper—each offering its own unique beauty and charm.

Lower Pool:

  • The journey begins on a paved path alongside the Virgin River, surrounded by majestic cottonwood trees.
  • Admire the picturesque waterfalls cascading over the trail as you approach the Lower Pool.
  • While swimming is not permitted, hikers can enjoy the refreshing mist from the falls, especially during spring and after storms.

Middle Pool:

  • Beyond the Lower Pool, the trail becomes unpaved but remains well-maintained.
  • Ascend a series of constructed rock steps, resembling a grand stairway, as you make your way to the Middle Pool.
  • Caution is advised near the Middle Pool, where chains and warning signs prevent hikers from getting too close to the streams feeding the waterfalls.

Upper Pool:

  • Prepare for a rugged and strenuous climb in the final half-mile to the Upper Pool, gaining 200 feet in elevation.
  • The Upper Emerald Pool marks the endpoint of a challenging technical canyoneering route known as Heaps Canyon.
  • Witness skilled canyoneers descending the final 300-foot free-hanging rappel, a thrilling sight for adventurous hikers.
  • Depending on the season, marvel at the beauty of a majestic waterfall or enjoy the tranquility of a nearly dry Upper Pool.
  • Rest and rejuvenate at the scenic rock formations near the Upper Pool before beginning your return journey.

Trail Tips:

  • Carry sufficient water and wear sturdy hiking shoes for the varied terrain.
  • Heed warning signs and exercise caution, especially near steep drop-offs and slippery surfaces.
  • Respect park regulations and refrain from swimming in the pools to preserve the natural habitat.
  • Check weather conditions before your hike and be prepared for changing trail conditions.
  • Take breaks as needed and savor the breathtaking scenery along the Emerald Pools Trail.

Embark on a memorable adventure through Zion National Park’s captivating landscapes, where the Emerald Pools Trail promises an unforgettable journey filled with natural wonders and scenic beauty at every turn.

Components and Route Descriptions for the Emerald Pools Trail


  • Full services are available at Zion Lodge, located across the highway from the trailhead, including restrooms, drinking water, a snack bar, and a restaurant.
  • The trailhead is situated across the highway from Zion Lodge, where two trails begin.
  • The Lower Trail follows the canyon bottom to the lower Emerald Pool, positioned at the base of a cliff, where small streams spread across the cliff face and trickle into the pool. During spring runoff, these streams may surge, creating powerful waterfalls.
  • The Middle Trail climbs the ridge to a series of viewpoints above the lower pool.
  • From the lower pool, a steep route connects to the Middle Trail. Alternatively, hikers can reach the Middle Trail viewpoints from The Grotto via the Kayenta Trail.
  • From the Middle Trail, a steep path continues up the canyon to the Upper Pool, which is larger and features a dramatic waterfall, especially during runoff.

Route Descriptions:

  • The trail to the lower Pool is relatively easy, just over half a mile long, meandering through riparian habitat along the river bottom, passing beneath the two waterfalls from the Middle Pool above.
  • The hike offers stunning views of towering rock formations amidst lush greenery, providing a paradise-like experience.
  • Longer and steeper than the lower Pool Trail, the path to the Middle Pools begins at the same spot but climbs higher up the slope, exploring another level of the captivating Zion waterway.

Alternate Route:

  • The Emerald Pools Trail can also be accessed from the Kayenta Trail, starting further up Zion Canyon at The Grotto shuttle stop.
  • The Kayenta Trail connects to the Emerald Pools Trail between the lower and Middle Pools, offering an alternative entry point.
  • For additional information, visitors can inquire at the Zion Visitor Center.

Experience the enchanting beauty of Zion National Park along the Emerald Pools Trail, where stunning waterfalls, lush vegetation, and majestic rock formations await at every turn.

Rules and Regulations:

  1. No swimming or wading: Swimming or wading in the pools is prohibited for safety and conservation reasons.

  2. No pets: To preserve the natural habitat and wildlife, pets are not allowed on the trail.

  3. No littering: Visitors must refrain from littering and are required to carry out all their waste, adhering to the “pack out what you pack in” principle.

Special Concerns:

  1. Restrooms and water refill station: Facilities such as restrooms and a water bottle refill station are available at the Zion Lodge shuttle stop for visitors’ convenience. Fitness – Meditation – Diet – Weight Loss – Healthy Living – Yoga

  2. Trail closure: Previously, there was a connecting trail from the Middle Emerald Pool back to the trailhead, allowing for a loop hike. However, due to a flood event, this trail has been closed indefinitely. Visitors must obey all trail closure signs.

  3. Difficulty of reaching the Upper Pool: The Upper Pool is more challenging to reach compared to the other two pools. However, the extra effort required to visit it is rewarded by its scenic beauty, particularly during the runoff months when the waterfalls are fast-flowing and majestic.

Explore the Emerald Pools Trail while adhering to these rules and regulations, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience while preserving the natural beauty of Zion National Park.

Other Recommended Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *