HIKED EMERALD POOLS

Zion National Park Travel Blog

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WATCHMAN


HIGHLIGHTS OF THE HIKE AND DAY:

 

-          We arrived within 3hrs. We left at 9am. We noted that UTAH is an hour ahead.

 
-          The drive was incredible through the 15 across Arizona.

 
-           The weather was perfect. I just had to turn off the air conditioner driving up hill.


-          The drive was so fast. I plan to drive up to Brice national park in June and it’s another an hour more.
 

-          We drove through towns called, virgin, and hurricane.

 

-          We pitched the tent and unloaded then walked to the visitor center to find a trail map.
 

-          Zion is a tourist spot. there was shuttle to take us to the different trails listed.

 
-          Our campsite was near restaurants, markets, and a movie theater. Why would you want to watch a movie in Zion?

 
-           The view was majestic. We were nestled between 2 mountain ranges.

 
-          We grilled hot dogs for lunch before hiking.

 
-          We hiked all 4 trails.
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL
  A total of 8 miles within about 5 hours.


-          I heard people screaming that the water was hitting them. geeeeeeez it's just water, it's not wine. if it is i will be under it with my mouth open HAHAHAHAHA.

 
-          We saw squirrels and caterpillars on the trails.
 

-          There were small waterfalls.

 
-          The trails were mixtures on sand, concrete, and big boulders.
 

-          The weather was wonderful. In the shade was nice and cool.
 

-          There were beautiful flowers on the trails and flowers blooming on cactuses.
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL

 

-          It is called emerald pools because the water is green from the algae.
 

-          This was a busy day. There were so many people on this trail.


-          Went to visit the meetup.com hiking group campsite. We hung out and had beer. Since one of the guys needed a jump start his truck. we bartered on beer. we met Kelly and Mike, the organizer of the hiking group.
 

-          Even though this is not my type of camping. After a long day of hiking. A shuttle back to the campsite is helpful and relaxing.
 
 

Emerald Pools


Emerald Pools is one of Zion's sweetest signature trails.
Generously endowed with breathtaking scenery, this trail is one that children and adults alike will have fun hiking. Waterfalls, pools and a dazzling display of monoliths create the Emerald Pools Trail System.

Emerald Pools at a Glance

Photo Album: Emerald Pools Pictures

Trail Map: Emerald Pools Map

Map: Zion National Park Map

Day Hike: Yes

Trail Distance: 3 miles round trip

Lower Pool: .6 mile one way. 30 minutes. 69' ascent.

Middle Pools: 1 mile one way. 1 hour. 150' ascent.

Upper Pool: 1.5 miles one way. 1.5 hour. 350' ascent.

Kayenta Trail: 1 mile one way. 1 hour. 150' ascent.

Accessible Trail: The lower pool only.

Trail Usage: Heavy in the summer. One of the three most used trails in the park.

Difficulty: Lower Pool - Easy.
Middle Pool - Moderate. Upper Pool - Moderately Strenuous.

Sun Exposure: Full sun in most places.

Permits: Not needed

Trail Conditions: Well maintained. Paved lower trail. Dirt and rock, middle and upper trails.

Trailhead: Footbridge across the road from the Zion Lodge.

Trailend: Exiting on the Emerald Pools Trails leads to the Zion Lodge. The Kayenta Trail exit leads to the Grotto Picnic area.

Best Season: Year-round.

Trail Access: Late March to November, park at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, and ride the shuttle. The rest of the year, drive into Zion Canyon and park at the Emerald Pools parking lot.

Off the Beaten Path: No, this is a popular trail.

Classic Zion Hike: Yes

Elevation Gain: Lower Pool - 69'. Middle Pool - 150'. Upper Pool - 350'.
DON'T FEED THE WILD ANIMALS!!! :)
Kayenta to Middle Pool - 150'.

Restrooms: Zion Lodge and Grotto picnic area.

Water Availability: Water bottles can be filled at the Grotto picnic area or the Zion Lodge.

See our vacation planning section for classic Zion National Park trails or glance at our favorite Zion National Park trails list or choose from a complete Zion National Park hiking guide. Get on the Zion Canyon Shuttle to hike the trail on this page.

Emerald Pools Trail System

Lower Emerald Pool

At the trailhead, choose the scenic Lower Emerald Pool Trail rather than the steeper Middle Emerald Pool Trail. Much of the paved lower trail is shaded by cottonwood and boxelder trees as it winds along the North Fork of the Virgin River. It's just over a half-mile to the lush alcove of the lower pool. Moisture seeps from sandstone and mist sprays from the falls, feeding lush hanging gardens in the recessed rock.
VIEW FROM THE MIDDLE EMERALD POOL TRAIL
Ferns and moss sprout from the mountainside with an occasional monkey flower, shooting star or delicate columbine peering from the more subtle vegetation. The trail ducks behind twin waterfalls, spilling from the middle pools, leaving black streaks of desert varnish behind. Droplets dance off boulders that have fallen from above, now lining the pool of mossy green water.

Middle Emerald Pools Trail

Continue behind the falls. The unpaved trail emerges into sunlight, leading to the middle pools. After a couple of short switchbacks, and a gain of over 100' in elevation, hikers come to the plateau of the middle pools. At the middle pools, shallow streams cross the trail, before the water spills over the lip to the lower pool. The first middle pool is formed by the Behunin Canyon watershed - one of Zion's drier canyoneering routes.
Next, just over the ridge, the second middle pool is created by the Heaps Canyon watershed - one of Zion's most difficult canyoneering routes. After a storm, when water is flowing in Heaps Canyon and Behunin Canyon, the waterfalls become profuse. Watch that children never stray near the overhanging ledge, past the chained areas, where algae and slippery rock result in unsafe footing.

A gallery of Zion landmarks compete for attention from the lofty perch of the middle pools, but Red Arch Mountain is center stage. Lady Mountain, one of the original trails in Zion Canyon, towers almost 3000' above the canyon floor. The difficulty of maintaining the "via feratta" of Lady Mountain and nearly impossible conditions for rescue forced the park to disassemble the chains and ladders along the trail and discontinue promotion of the hike in the 1970's.
UNDER THE WATERFALL
Looking north, glimpses of Mount Majestic and Cathedral Mountain are observed.

Upper Emerald Pool Trail

The trail leading to the Upper Emerald Pool is on the ridge between the two middle pools. Though most of the foot traffic ends at the spur to the upper pool, where the trail becomes more rugged and steep, the upper pool at the end is worth every step. This secluded oasis is framed by colossal cliffs on three sides. Watch for canyoneers rappelling from Heaps Canyon down the backside of the boulder-rimmed pool.

Kayenta Trail

There are three ways to enter or exit the Emerald Pools Trail System, so unlike most of Zion's trails there is no need to backtrack. For a variation on the exit, take either the Middle Emerald Pools Trail back to where the trail began or the Kayenta Trail to the Grotto.
LOWER EMERALD POOL
If exiting via the Kayenta Trail, after the shuttles have shut down for the season, (November-March) follow the .5 mile Grotto Trail back to the Emerald Pools parking area, located across the road from the Zion Lodge.

Trail History:

The Emerald Pools Trail was completed in 1925 and named due to the green tint the algae gives the three pools. Rock slides have changed the trail system over the years. Heaps Canyon and Behunin Canyon were named after Mormon pioneers from the late 1800's. The old stone building at the Grotto is the original Zion National Park Visitor Center, the second visitor center is now the Zion Human History Museum.


Three Patriarchs


One of the first shuttle stops is to a short, uphill path leading to a view point to see a trio of similar shaped cliffs.
Three Patriarchs
The Three Patriarchs are named: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. From the view point many Zion National Park landmarks are seen including Mount Moroni, the Spearhead, Mountain of the Sun and the Twin Brothers. Reverend Fisher along with naming the Great White Throne and Angels Landing named the Three Patriarches: Abraham (6990'), Isaac (6825') and Jacob (6831').




Petra2111 says:
Wow Mell, thanks for sharing! I love to go someday!!
Posted on: Jun 05, 2009
mellemel8 says:
you are very welcome. i always blog with info about the city then my day.
Posted on: Jun 01, 2009
nicolecarp says:
This is a wealth of information!! I surprisingly have not been to Zion but am hoping to go this summer! I just got a roof rack for my beast of a SUV - my beloved FJ Cruiser and am hoping to go off roading soon and this just make sme want to go sooner. Thanks for the info.
Posted on: May 28, 2009
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WATCHMAN
WATCHMAN
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL
DONT FEED THE WILD ANIMALS!!! :)
DON'T FEED THE WILD ANIMALS!!! :)
VIEW FROM THE MIDDLE EMERALD POOL …
VIEW FROM THE MIDDLE EMERALD POOL…
UNDER THE WATERFALL
UNDER THE WATERFALL
LOWER EMERALD POOL
LOWER EMERALD POOL
Three Patriarchs
Three Patriarchs
TO THE VISITOR CENTER
TO THE VISITOR CENTER
THE VIRGIN RIVER
THE VIRGIN RIVER
VIEW FROM THE MIDDLE EMERALD POOL …
VIEW FROM THE MIDDLE EMERALD POOL…
VIEW FROM THE MIDDLE EMERALD POOL …
VIEW FROM THE MIDDLE EMERALD POOL…
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL TRAIL
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL TRAIL
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL TRAIL
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL TRAIL
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL TRAIL
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL TRAIL
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL TRAIL
MIDDLE EMERALD POOL TRAIL
LOWER EMERALD POOL
LOWER EMERALD POOL
LOWER EMERALD POOL
LOWER EMERALD POOL
LOWER EMERALD POOL
LOWER EMERALD POOL
ME :)
ME :)
DINNER :)
DINNER :)
HUGE FAT BURGERS :)
HUGE FAT BURGERS :)
FIRE!!!!
FIRE!!!!
Zion National Park
photo by: rsvpme