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Emerald Pools (Zion National Park)

Emerald pools at Zion National park
Emerald pools at Zion National park


How to Get There
This hike is located in Zion National Park (Southern Utah).

To the trailhead: Park at the visitor center and take the free shuttle to the Zion Lodge stop. The well signed trailhead starts across the road from the tram stop.
Zion National Park

Hike details

3.00 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
3.0 miles round trip.
1.50 [Hours]
It took us 1.5 hours of hiking.
Elevation Gain
400 Total Elevation Gain [Feet]
Hike Trail Type
Lollypop Loop
Special Features


Best Season
  • August
  • September
Worst Season
  • January
  • February
  • December
Season Details
Late Spring, Summer, Early fall.
Date Hike completed
September 05, 2006


Solitude Details
No chance. This is one of the most popular trails in Zion National Park. Expect to meet 50-100 people on this hike.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
35 yr old Recommendation: The lower pool is the most scenic. Emerald Pools is a nicer way to say algae colored stagnant water. This hike is Easy.


Be Aware of
Fee to enter the national park

Hike to the Emerald pools in Zion National park

This is one of the shorter day hike trails in Zion National Park. It is also well shaded and cool so it is quite popular hike for the middle of the day. Although there are several routes to take to see the pools, we took the trail to the middle and upper pools, then descended to the lower pool. From the lodge, cross the bridge across the Virgin River and head south for a bit, following the trail marker for the 'middle pool'. This trail soon makes a turn perpendicular from the river and begins a moderate climb up the wall. This paved trail is well marked and easy to follow. After about a mile, the trail reaches a pool, but this is not the 'middle pool'. This pool is one of the springs that feeds the lower pool. The water cascades off the rock ledge here. Continue past this pool to the signed junction with the 'upper pool'. The 'upper pool' trail is more rocky but not difficult. An additional 0.3 miles gets you to the upper pool. This part of the trail is shaded by many trees and on three sides by a rock amphitheater. The upper pool is the water runoff collected by the water leaking from the top and sides of this sandstone amphitheater. When we were here in the afternoon, bats were busily flying up above us. We watched the bats for a few minutes before heading back down. 

After retracing your steps 0.3 miles, you reach the trail junction for the lower pools. Follow this trail down to the lower pool. The trail cuts under an overhang which has a steady stream of dripping water that feeds the lower pool. Personally, I thought this was the most scenic pool. The water and shade makes this a pleasant place to stop and take a few pictures. 

When you are finished, continue down the paved trail 0.6 miles to the start.


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