Emerald Pools hike in Zion National Park
Emerald Pools hike in Zion National Park

Emerald Pools hike

Zion National Park
View Photos
Early morning views on Emerald Pools hike in Zion National ParkEmerald Pools hike in Zion National Park looks beautiful on early morningsEmerald Pools hike in Zion National Park has amazing viewsSheer cliffs along Upper Pools on Emerald Pools hike in Zion National ParkSecluded Upper Pool on Emerald Pools hike in Zion National ParkWaterfall above the Lower Pool on Emerald Pools hike in Zion National ParkEmerald Pools hike in Zion National Park has amazing sceneryBeautiful waterfall on Emerald Pools hike in Zion National ParkEmerald Pools hike in Zion National Park is a lovely trail in UtahLush plant life surrounding the Virgin River on Emerald Pools hike in Zion National ParkView of the Cliffs of Zion on the Emerald Pools hike in Zion National ParkEarly morning views on Emerald Pools Trail in Zion

Emerald Pools hike

Distance: 3.0mi
Elevation: 853ft
Time: 1.5-2h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.8 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

This gentle hike brings trekkers up to the stunning spring-fed three-tiered Emerald Pools, with fantastic views of the sandstone cliffs lining the valley. Most of the trail is reasonably well shaded, making this a great hike for hotter days.

Emerald Pools Hike Map

Getting there

Enter Zion National Park from the town of Springdale. If possible park near the visitors centre just past the park gates. If that lot is full, park in the town of Springdale and get the free shuttle bus to the visitors centre. From the visitors centre take the other free shuttle bus into Zion Canyon. For most of the year the canyon is not open to public vehicles. Exit the bus at “The Grotto”.

I’ve done this 62 people have done this
I want to do this 104 want to do this route

About

When to do

Spring and Fall, avoid summer heat

Backcountry Campsites

None

Toilets

At “The Grotto” bus stop

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate to High

Route Type

Out and back


Emerald Pools
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Emerald Pools

Find the trailhead by crossing the street and footbridge leading across the Virgin River. Here you will find a junction. Turn left towards the Emerald Pools and head up a couple of switchbacks. After gaining this modest amount of elevation the trail contours above the Virgin River for a few hundred yards, yielding great views of the fertile oasis formed from the flowing water.

Soon the path will veer to the right heading up to an obvious recession in the otherwise uniform canyon wall. The trail will now start to gain elevation once again, however it is not extremely steep, or challenging. There are several ways to complete the hike, as the diversions for the Lower and Middle pools all loop back up with the main trail.

Our favourite way to do this hike is to go directly towards the Upper Pools first (staying right at all the signs) then visit the Middle and Lower Pools on the way back. The final part of the ascent is sun exposed, which can be uncomfortable near midday. The area around the Upper Pools, however, is beautifully shaded. From the Upper Pools you will be almost completely surrounded by absolutely sheer vertical cliffs. These cliffs form the base of Castle Dome.

After soaking in the views and tranquility of the Upper Pools, return the way you came and keep a lookout for signposted junctions. Continuing forward, keep hanging a right at the next two junctions to visit the Middle and Lower Pools. From the Lower Pools especially, you’ll be able to see a stunning little seasonal waterfall cascading over the overhanging cliff. The trail runs right beneath the falls!

Finally, after admiring the serenity of the water, return the way you came following signs for “The Grotto”.

Find other spectacular hikes in Zion:

Insider Hints

  • You can also approach the pools from the Zion Lodge. Ask your bus driver or a park ranger for more information.

  • This is a great hike to add on after completing Angel’s Landing – if you have the energy!

Comments

Barbara Clarkson 2 years ago

Went here last spring and it was fantastic! Must do!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
1h 30m Time Taken
Frank M. 2 years ago

The hike was moderate up to the initial spot, but going farther up to the upper pools is strenuous. Beautiful scenery and a good hike.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
April O. 2 years ago

Did this hike right after Angel's Landing! What a productive day!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Gabriel10 2 years ago

Magnificent area with lots of shades to cool down and rest.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
marjflores 2 years ago

Stunning views! I heard and seen a lot of bad reviews about this place, but I'm glad they're not true. I highly recommend this hike.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Isaiah L. 3 years ago

Fun and relaxing hike. Me and my friends enjoyed our trip here. But we decided not to stay long because the crowd started to get crazy after 10 am.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Mariah D. 3 years ago

Nice trail. There were lots of sweet spots to take a break. It's pretty crowded though so better go early. Don't forget to apply sunscreen.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Jarvie P. 3 years ago

Beautiful. So worth it. As much as possible choose to go during weekdays.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Melinda J. 3 years ago

Splendid hike! It was a great experience. Trail was well maintained and well marked.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Willy G. 3 years ago

Pretty hike!. We spent a lovely morning hiking and enjoying the pools. Such a great place to visit.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
17 Comments Show all

Similar hikes to the Emerald Pools hike

Zion Ponderosa Checkerboard Trail

Zion Ponderosa Checkerboard Trail

Difficulty:
2.8mi
210ft
1-1.5h

The Zion Ponderosa Checkerboard Trail is an easy walk that the whole family can enjoy. This trail is shared by…

Scoggin’s Wash Map

Scoggin’s Wash

Difficulty:
7.4mi
630ft
2.5-3.5h

The Scoggin’s Wash Trail is a true desert hike that links the more popular Coalpits Wash Trail with the iconic…

Camp Creek Trail Map

Camp Creek Trail

Difficulty:
5.3mi
1106ft
2.5-3.5h

The Camp Creek Trail is a rarely visited path down a beautiful box canyon in the Kolob section of Zion.…