Emerald Pools Trail, Zion National Park


After lunch, I chose a trail that wouldn’t be too challenging, but very rewarding: the Emerald Pools Trail.  I suggest heading for the Middle Pool, then walking on up to the top one, if you feel so inclined.

Basically, the three pools form at the bases of small waterfalls, and the water flow essentially takes two “steps” as it flows down the mountainside. The pools gather water, then spill over the edge, in a thin, wispy cascade.

I didn’t visit the upper pool, in the interest of saving time.  But I did walk up to the Middle Pool, which you can walk through  (and get your feet wet!) if you like.  From there, the trail switches back, taking you underneath and behind the falls.

Look closely and you’ll see chains near the edge of the falls.  Since the rock is wet, and quite slippery, it would be very easy for visitors to fall.

If you’re in shape, there are much more challenging trails in Zion Park, including one of the most demanding: Angels Landing.  This 5 mile round trip takes you to the top of the canyon, with a vertical climb of 1,488 feet (that’s nearly three tenths of a mile straight up!)  The trail is so steep, the park has installed chains to help you pull yourself up, the final half mile.

Here you can see the lower falls, and the trail that takes you behind it.

More views from directly under the falls.

Shield your cameras and other gadgets while under, or even near, the falls.  A quick burst of wind can carry a cool spray of water farther than you might expect–at least, farther than I expected!

Back down at the bottom of the canyon, this bridge takes you from the Emerald Pools trails, across the Virgin River, to the Zion Lodge.

Here is more of what you’ll see, gazing upward.

Note: This trip was first published in 2004.  I visited Emerald Pools on a later trip, and took some better pictures.

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