Hiking Project Logo

Emerald Pools

Easy/Intermediate
  3.9 ( 137 ) Favorite

Trail

2.0 mile 3.3 kilometer out and back
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 457' 139 m
Descent: -458' -140 m
High: 4,709' 1,435 m
Low: 4,282' 1,305 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)

Dogs

Leashed
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Brian Smith

An easily accessible Zion classic.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Short enough that almost any kid can complete it, but hard enough to make it rewarding, this hike ends at an awesome cascade the whole family can enjoy. The lower and middle pools are great, too.

Overview

This is a short and potentially quick out-and-back hike, depending on how long you decide to stop at each pool. Given the high volume of visitors that flock to this attraction, the trail has been brandished with guardrails and barriers to keep both people and the natural environment safe.

Need to Know

This hike gets an easy rating due to the gradual grades and well-maintained nature of its paved paths. However, if you decide to visit the upper pool, the difficulty is much higher. The trail to the upper pool is steep, sandy and often very hot. Most tourists will turn around at the lower or middle pool.

Description

From Zion Lodge, cross the footbridge that leads over the Virgin River. On the western bank, turn right onto the Lower Emerald Pools Trail and follow it to the north for a quarter-mile above the river. The trail then turns westward into Heaps Canyon and parallels a stream to the first of the Emerald Pools.

Enjoy the beauty of the cascade, which flows at varying rates depending on season and precipitation, and then continue on the trail to the middle pool. The middle pool is located on the cliff above the lower pool and feeds the falls. If you're feeling adventurous, hike up the steep and sandy Upper Emerald Pools Trail to view the highest of the pools and another waterfall.

From here, either retrace your steps to Zion lodge or take the Kayenta Trail to the Grotto picnic area.

Flora & Fauna

Immutable yet ever changing, the cliffs of Zion stand resolute, a glowing presence in late day, a wild calm. Melodies of waters soothe desert-parched ears, streams twinkle over stone, wren song cascades from red rock cliffs, cottonwood leaves jitter on the breeze. But when lightning flashes water falls erupt from dry cliffs, and floods flash down waterless canyons exploding log jams, hurling boulders, croaking wild joyousness, and dancing stone and water and time. Zion is alive with movement, a river of life always here and always changing.

The riparian area of the Virgin River supports enormous cottonwood trees and a diversity of herbaceous plants and grasses. Nearby, saturated wetlands make nice habitat for cattails, willows, aquatic plants, and rushes. Water seeping out of the Navajo sandstone creates tranquil springs and the unique “hanging gardens” for which Zion is famous, full of ferns, wildflowers, and mosses.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

ADA Accessible, History & Background

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow hikers know what's here.

Contacts

Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In

Check-Ins

Sep 16, 2019
Sherl Fenton
Sep 1, 2019
Lauren Dorman
Aug 3, 2019
Emina Kwok
With Eric, Michael, Mirai and Kate to the Lower Pool — 18h 00m
Aug 2, 2019
Isabel Skilton
Jul 29, 2019
Yvonne Liu
Jul 25, 2019
Jeffrey Hensley
Jul 22, 2019
Sharon Watts
2mi — 2h 30m
Jul 20, 2019
Dagnika Main
With Chris, Lea and Jana.

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 137 votes

#4

in Zion Canyon

#66

Overall
  3.9 from 137 votes
5 Star
26%
4 Star
46%
3 Star
22%
2 Star
6%
1 Star
0%
Featured Hike Rankings

#4

in Zion Canyon

#12

in Utah

#66

Overall
90 Views Last Month
3,868 Since Feb 5, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

20%
49%
27%
4%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking