A combination of waterfalls, pools and monoliths create the Emerald Pools Trail System. There are three Emerald Pools — Upper, Middle, and Lower — and hikers may choose from many trails to reach all three.
Distance – 1.2-mile round-trip loop to the Lower Pool; 2-mile round-trip visit to the Middle and Lower Pools; 2.5-mile round-trip hike to all three.
Elevation gain – Lower Pool – 69′. Middle Pool – 150′. Upper Pool – 350′. Kayenta to Middle Pool – 150′.
Difficulty – Easy (Lower Pool); moderate (Middle and Upper Pools)
Seasons – Year-round
Trailhead (The Starting Point) – Footbridge across the road from the Zion Lodge.
Bathrooms – Restrooms are available at the Zion Lodge and Grotto picnic area.
Lower Emerald Pool – At the trailhead, choose the Lower Emerald Pool Trail and follow along the easy path. It’s roughly .6 miles to reach the alcove of the lower pool. Moisture seeps from sandstone and mist sprays from the falls, a quite beautiful sight to see. This is a family friendly and easy hike perfect for younger children.
Middle Emerald Pools Trail – To reach to the Middle Falls, continue behind the falls. Take the unpaved trail, consisting of a few short switchbacks, and roughly 100′ of elevation gain, you will reach the middle emerald pools. The first middle pool is created by the Behunin Canyon watershed – a drier canyoneering routes. The second middle pool is made by the Heaps Canyon watershed – a more difficult canyoneering route.
Upper Emerald Pool Trail – The trail leading to the Upper Emerald Pool is on the ridge between the two middle pools, offering a moderate to strenuous grade. This secluded part of the trail is accompanied by massive cliffs on three sides, with unbelievable views.
Kayenta Trail – There are three ways to enter or exit the Emerald Pools Trail System. You may choose to take either the Middle Emerald Pools Trail back to where the trail began or the Kayenta Trail to the Grotto. If you are exiting via the Kayenta Trail during the off-season (November-March) there will be no shuttle service. You will need to follow the .5 mile Grotto Trail back to the Emerald Pools parking area, located across the road from the Zion Lodge.
A combination of waterfalls, pools and monoliths create the Emerald Pools Trail System.
Parking for the Emerald Pools Trail is located directly by the Zion Lodge located in Zion National Park.
Getting to Zion National Park:
From the North: Travel I-15 south, past Beaver. exit on Hwy 20. Follow US-89 to Mount Carmel Junction. Take SR-9 to Zion’s east entrance.
From the South: Travel I-15 north. Take exit 16 and travel through Hurricane to LaVerkin. Continue on SR-9 to the south entrance of the park. SR-9 through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway.
The Grotto (Kayenta Trail):
Zion lodge (Emerald Pools Trail Trailhead):
Before You Go
*NOTE* The trail is family-friendly, but keep a close eye on small children and avoid getting near any cliff ledges.
Current Weather Conditions
Mostly clear, with a low around 19. Northeast wind around 7 mph.
Sunny. High near 48, with temperatures falling to around 40 in the afternoon. North northwest wind 1 to 6 mph.
Clear, with a low around 22. North northwest wind 1 to 7 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 50. East northeast wind around 9 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 23. East northeast wind around 9 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 49.
Mostly clear, with a low around 21.
Andrea is a writer, hiker, and adventurer from New England. She enjoys snowboarding, sunrise hikes, winter, night hiking, traveling, and photography.