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Utah Hike of the Week: Emerald Pools in Zion National Park

Published July 14, 2014 10:34 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Details • Emerald Pools is one of the most famous hikes in Zion National Park, and with good reason. It's challenging without being exhausting, and contains some beautiful scenery, including both the pools and the red rocks.

To avoid the crowds, go early. Each pool can be hiked on its own, but it's really worth seeing all three —Lower, Middle and Upper. The hike is located inside the park, across from Zion Lodge on the shuttle route.

The Lower and Middle pool trails start in the same place, over a bridge from the lodge. True to its name, the Lower Pool is the easiest, a gently sloping, mostly paved trail that nevertheless offers some great red-rock scenery as well as a small waterfall that grows to medium-size during runoff season in wetter years. The pool is green, nestled in red rock.

About two miles in, the trail splits up to Middle Pool. The trail gets a little steeper and narrower here, but the view from this pool is amazing, encompassing Cathedral, Lady, and Red Arch mountains.

The path grows still narrower for Upper Pool, the largest of the three. It's a lovely, secluded spot surrounded by tall, mossy red rock that can include waterfalls during runoff time. Take in the incredible scenery from one of the flat rocks and head back down.

— Lindsay Whitehurst Destination Emerald Pools

Hiking time 2 hours

Round trip miles 2.7 miles

Elevation gain 1,700 feet

Difficulty Moderate

Trail head restrooms Yes

Dogs allowed No

Bikes allowed No