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Emerald Pools Trail in Zion NP

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

Location : Zion Nation Park, UT

Parking : Park at Visitor Center, take shuttle to trailhead

Trail type : Out and Back

Trail Length : 2.5 miles

Elevation Gain : 620 ft

Difficulty : Easy to reach the lower pool, moderate to reach the middle pool and strenuous to reach the upper pool.

Trails traversed :

Pro Tip : Wear ankle support hiking boots as there are a number of steep steps to climb.


The Emerald Pools Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park. Along with having spectacular views of the mountains and cliffs of Zion on the route, part of the trail - up to the Lower Pool - is easy to access by folks of all ages and is paved for wheelchair and stroller access.

View of the cliffs from the trail

 

>> Got a question about the Emerald Pools Trail that you need answered quickly? DM me on Instagram @SolaraStills and I’ll be happy to help! I only accept DMs from followers, so hit the follow button before sending.

 

Parking: From March to November, the Zion Shuttle service is operational throughout the park. During this period, visitors are expected to park at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center or in the town of Springdale, and access the various points in the park via the shuttle. The Zion Lodge stop is where you would need to get off to access the trail to the Emerald Pools. Flush toilets and water stations are available at the shuttle stop which is directly across from the trailhead.

The Trail: The trailhead is well marked and starts across the road from the Zion Cafe. The first third of the trail, all the way to the Lower Pool is fully paved and with very little elevation gain.

The Lower Trail runs along the bottom of the canyon to Lower Emerald Pool, which is located at the base of a cliff. Two small streams trickle down the face of the cliff, into the pools. The trail runs behind the falling water and continues upwards towards the Middle Pools. When we went in mid September of 2022, the falling water was just a trickle.


Lower Trail waterfall

The Middle Trail starts from the falling stream and steeply climbs upwards through a set of steep steps to the Middle Pool. The Middle Pool was small and almost dried up when we went in September.

Steep steps!

From the Middle Pools, the Upper Trail ascends steeply upwards with more steps for more than half a mile, until you reach the Upper Pool. During spring or after a heavy rainfall, a tall waterfall falls into the Upper Pool from a towering cliff. The Upper Trail is the steepest portion of the entire trail and is quite a workout to reach the top.


Upper Pool and the sliver of a waterfall

Once you reach the Upper Pool, trace your way back down the same trail, past the Middle Pool and Lower Pool, until you reach the Lodge and the shuttle stop.

In summary, the Emerald Pool trail is worth the hike during spring or after a heavy rainfall. At other times of the year, the pools and the waterfalls are dry and may not be worth the strenuous hike.



 

>> Got a question about the Emerald Pools Trail that you need answered quickly? DM me on Instagram @SolaraStills and I’ll be happy to help! I only accept DMs from followers, so hit the follow button before sending.

 

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