Sunday, August 5, 2012

Upper and Lower Emerald Pools Trail (Zion National Park)

Hiking to the Lower and Upper Emerald Pools in Zion National Park is one of most picturesque hikes in all of Zion National Park. During our trip to Zion National Park, Ashley and I had the chance to hike the Upper and Lower Emerald Pools Trail right by the Zion Lodge. This hike in Zion National Park is a fun short day hike in Zion National Park that offers hikers amazing scenery and breathtaking views. This is a must do hike for those looking for a fun short rewarding hike in Zion National Park. For more pictures make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trialhead: Zion National Park is located just outside of St. George, Utah. To get from California to Zion National Park take the 15 freeway to St. George Utah. There you will take state highway 9 all the way to Zion National Park. To get to the trailhead for the Upper and Lower Emerald Pools Hiking Trail in Zion National Park take the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive (Floor of the Valley Road) all the way to the Zion Lodge. During the summer months, you will need to take the shuttle service to the Zion Lodge, unless of course you are staying at the Zion Lodge. The trailhead and parking area is just across from the Zion Lodge.

Description of Hike: The hike we have described in this post is a 2.8 mile loop with approximately 250 feet of elevation gain. The first portion of the hike after you cross the first bridge over the Virgin River, which is at the trailhead by the Zion Lodge, is a paved hiking trail which leads to the lower emerald pool and waterfall. This trail connects with the trail to the middle and upper emerald pools. The trail to the middle and upper emerald pools is a sandy/dirt trail during sections of the hike and and is rocky at other portions of the hike.

Return back to the intersection for the lower emerald pool, but take the Kayenta Trail this time toward the Grotto. The Kayenta Trail is a unpaved uneven dirt trail that offers great views from the virgin river and surrounding rock monoliths. You will then take a second bridge across the virgin river, head accross Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and will return via the Grotto Trail to Zion Lodge. The trails on this hike in Zion National Park are well marked by the National Park Service, which makes navigating your way around this area while you are hiking very relaxing.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed this hike to the Upper and Lower Emerald Pools in Zion National Park. It was especially neat because when we did this hike there was approximately 4 - 6 inches of snow that were on portions of the hiking trial. It had snowed the night before and the combination of white snow and the red rocks found in Zion National Park made for a scenic hike unlike any other we have ever been on. This hike in Zion National Park offers amazing views of Zion Canyon and is a must do, especially if there is snow on the ground. It was really cool to see the emerald pools and the rock sections that the water has carved into the landscape here.

Zion National Park is home to 69 species of mammals, 208 birds, 29 reptiles, 6 amphibians, and 9 different fish species. Commonly seen animals include mule deer, lizards, and many species of birds. We saw many deer while at Zion National Park as well as a ring tail cat while hiking in the evening near Zion Lodge. We saw several deer while on this hike in Zion National Park. Bottom-line is to bring your camera with you while hiking here, as you have a great chance of seeing wildlife.

Zion National Park is a beautiful place that is a hikers paradise. It offers a wide range of trails from easy to very strenuous. Ashley and I are looking forward to our next visit to Zion National Park. We stayed at the Zion Lodge which we also highly recommend to visitors looking to spend quality time at Zion National Park. Zion Lodge is located along Zion Canyon Scenic Drive (Floor of the Valley Road) in the heart of Zion Canyon.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 250 ft. (Easy), Distance: 2.8 Miles Roundtrip (Easy - Moderate).

Time to Complete Hike:  1 - 2 hours.


Upper and Lower Emerald Pool Trail (This Post)

View Emerald Pools Trail & Grotto Trail Loop (Zion National Park) in a larger map


  1. Zion National Park in Utah was the very first National Park I ever visited. Today, when I think of Zion National Park, I remember not only an incredible silent stream of stars, but also my two favorite hiking trails - The Canyon Overlook and the Angels Landing.

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  2. Trail Riding is a great way to enjoy your horse, nature, and the company of friends. Along with all the fun of a trail ride, there can be some hazards and challenges.

    Canyon Trail Rides Zion National Park


Ashley and I encourage and welcome our readers to submit comments about their experiences on the trails we have posted on our blog or about their own hiking experiences in general.