Zion NP - Emerald Pools
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.2 mile round trip
  • Travel Time: 1-3 hours round trip
  • Elevation: 350' gain to the upper pool
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The Emerald Pool Trails are one of the most accessible and beautiful trails in Zion National Park.  They get their name from the green algea that grows in them.  There are two different trailheads and multiple different loops you can make to see the 3 different pools.

The Zion's Lodge Trailhead has the easiest trail to the lower pool.  During the summer take the Zion Canyon shuttle to the Zion Lodge stop.  Head accross the road to a bridge that crosses the Virgin River, and make a right after you cross the bridge.  This trail is paved and climbs about 70 feet to the lower pool through the forest.  The lower pool is at the base of a 40 foot cliff with several waterfalls into it.  After a rainstorm and in the spring the waterfalls are beautiful.  In the morning and early afternoon, the sun shines through the mist of the waterfalls creating rainbows.

The Grotto Trailhead is the next shuttle stop past Zion Lodge.  The 1 mile trail takes you to the Middle pool with a short connector trail that will take you down to the lower pool.  This trail isn't paved, and has some exposure to the sun and the cliffs.

From the Middle pool you can take a .5 mile trail up to the Upper Pool.  This trail is steeper and is a little more sandy than the other trails.  It climbs about 200 feet up from the middle pool.  This pool is located at the top of the side canyon and abuts the 1000' canyon walls.  There are some waterfalls that flow out of some of the cracks of the canyon.

From the Zion Lodge Trailhead, if you head left after crossing the bridge, you will end up at the middle pool.  This trail climbs up to a shelf above the lower pool trail.  This trail can be a great place to hike in the late afternoon when you are looking for some shade from the sun. The middle pool is about 1.2 miles from the trailhead.  This is a great way to come back from the Emerald Pools.

Overall the Emerald Pools give you a great look at the wonders of Zion Canyon.  The Lower Pool is by far the most accessible, but could be considered the most beautiful.  The Pools aren't very big or deep, but are a wonderful oasis in the desert.

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