Lower Emerald Pool Trail
The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is a paved walkway up to the Emerald Pools near Zion Lodge. This is a family-friendly walk that awards beautiful views of the Virgin River babbling away against a backdrop of burnt-orange sandstone. This out-and back hike is a scenic access route to the lower Emerald Pool, a deep, natural basin sourced by a gentle waterfall.
Join our newsletter
Get a weekly dose of discounts and inspiration for adventure lovers
Route Description for Lower Emerald Pool Trail
The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is the easiest access route to the Emerald Pools in Zion National Park. This is a short, mostly paved path that is popular with families with young children or hikers looking for a nice cool stroll to cap off their day. Bringing lots of water and snacks is always a good idea when hiking in the desert. The fresh water in the rivers and creeks in Zion is not safe to drink, so fill up your water bottles before you leave the house, and again at the lodge before hitting the trail. This trail can get quite busy in the summer season so if you are looking for solitude, it is best to go early in the morning.
There is a very good reason that The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is so popular; this trail offers shady rest spots, and beautiful, lush landscape along a nice, easy pathway. The Emerald Pools themselves are a magical spectacle with misty waterfalls and fluttering songbirds. The accessibility and beauty of this hike make it a Zion classic.
Starting at Zion Lodge (The 5th stop on the Zion Canyon Shuttle Service), locate the Emerald Pools Trailhead just west of the lodge by the riverside. Cross over the bridge and then take a right. The trail follows the river northward for about 0.3 km before taking a slight left away from the river’s edge to follow a stream. Follow the trail for another 0.6 km to arrive at the Lower Emerald Pool. From here, hikers have the option to turn back or to explore the other two Emerald Pools. If you want to continue exploring, follow the path around the lower pool and take a left at the first junction, followed by another left at the second junction. At the third divide, another left will take you to the Middle Emerald Pool, while the right path will take you to the Upper Emerald Pool. If you’re starting from the lower pool, it is about 0.3 km to the Middle Pool, and approximately 0.6 km to the Upper Pool. The paths to these other pools are a little trickier but are still very manageable for beginner hikers, or families with young kids.
Once you’ve had your fill exploring the Emerald Pools, follow your path back to Zion Lodge to catch the shuttle back home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you swim in the Emerald Pools in Zion?
No, swimming is not permitted in the Emerald Pools.
Can you drive to the Emerald Pools in Zion?
No, you cannot drive to the Emerald Pools. To access the pools, you have to take the canyon shuttle to Zion Lodge and hike the Lower Emerald Pool Trail, or take the shuttle to The Grotto and hike the Kayenta Trail.
Insider Hints for Lower Emerald Pool Trail
- Deer, songbirds, and chipmunks frequent this trail. Be respectful of their space and do not feed the wildlife
- Although this trail is short, do not forget to bring lots of drinking water
- This is a very popular trail, go early in the morning to beat the crowds and catch the early light on the emerald pools
Getting to the Lower Emerald Pool Trail Trailhead
Catch the Zion Canyon Shuttle at the Visitor’s centre near Springdale, this is a free service that operates almost year-round. Hop off the shuttle at the 5th stop: Zion Lodge. The Lower Emerald Pool Trail starts at the Emerald Pools Trailhead just west of the lodge.
Lower Emerald Pool Trail Elevation Graph
Weather ForecastCheck Area Weather
Lower Emerald Pool Trail Reviews
Add a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.
- Observation Point
- Sand Bench Loop
- The West Rim Trail (Bottom-up)
- West Bank of the Virgin River Hike
- Angels Landing, West Rim, Telephone Loop
- Sand Bench Loop via Zion Lodge
- Zion Grotto Trail
- Kayenta Trail to the Emerald Pools
- Scout Lookout via West Rim Trail
- Observation Point Trail
- Angel’s Landing
- Emerald Pools