May 31, 2009

Zion National Park - Emerald Pools Trail

This is one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park. The name of the pools comes from the algae that keeps them a green color. Take the shuttle to the Zion Lodge stop. The start of the trail is to the right of the lodge, near the white recylcing bins. You can hike to Lower Emerald Pool which is an easy 1.5 mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of 69', include Middle Emerald Pool which is 2 miles roundrip with an elevation gain of 120' or include Upper Emerald Pool which is a 3 mile roundtrip moderate trail with an elevation gain of 400'. We included all three in our hike and took Kayenta Trail back to the Grotto. The trail to Lower Emerald Pool is fairly shaded and includes a waterfall and hanging garden. We stopped here to take pictures and enjoy the mist in the air. The trail to Middle and Upper Emerald Pools is mostly exposed and can get fairly hot in the summer. There are shaded areas and rocks to rest on at Upper Emerald Pool. We stopped to take a break here and saw a butterfly that let us take its picture. Although you might be tempted, don't wade or swim in the pools, it's not allowed due to a bacteria growing in the algae. On the way back, we took Kayenta Trail back to the Grotto. The Kayenta Trail provides some great views of the canyon and the river below.

Waterfall/Hanging Gardens

Upper Emerald Pool


View from Kayenta Trail