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The Lower Emerald Pool Trail - at Zion National Park

Updated on September 28, 2014
ArtByLinda profile image

The author is an amateur artist and photographer that loves to travel with her husband of 37 years.

Come Explore Zion's Canyon Lower Emerald Pool Trail with me

It has been on my Bucket list for many years to visit Zion National Park and explore Zion's Canyon. Well I finally did it! My husband and I were very blessed to be able to visit the park in April of 2013.

I can tell you that I was not disappointed one little bit. It is an absolutely beautiful park with so much to explore there.

Zion National Park is truly a National Treasure. Believe me I want to go back. We only had two days and there is so much more that I would love to see.

But for now I can share with all of you the places we did experience. There are so many hiking trails and beautiful hidden treasures. I can only imagine what we have missed.

Zion's labels their hiking trails as follows:

Easy, these are 1/2 hour to 2 hours hiking trails that can runs from .4 miles to 3 1/2 miles. So when they say their are easy, they mean. Mostly smooth, fairly level. Some are paved, some are not. Some rise in elevation from 35 feet to almost 100 feet. Many can be out in the sunshine.

Moderate: These trails rise in elevation from 100 feet to 466 feet high. They may be short or long. Your knees and ankles need to be strong as many have large boulders cut into steps from 3 inches to 2 feet to step up. Many people were stopping and resting along these paths.

Strenuous: These trails are for the experienced hikers, physically fit (not me yet) and the well prepared. They range from 334 ft elevation change to 2148 feet. They also take anywhere from three to eight hours if you are fit.

We did some of the easy and moderate trails that our time allowed. I hope to someday return in much better shape and try the Narrows. Which takes you right down into the river from the end of the River-walk trail. I would suggest this hike be done a little later in the year than April as I felt the water there and it was pretty icy!

Come explore Zion's Canyon with me. You will not be disappointed!

We will start on this page with the Emerald Pool Trails. Just follow the link at the very bottom to continue with me through Zions National Park to see what we saw on our trip in April.

All photographs on this page are my own and I retain full copyrights to them all. (That crazy lady leaning towards the waterfall, that is me, having a great time in Zions National Park)

Crossing the Bridge - Over the Virgin River in Zions

The Bridge over the Virgin River
The Bridge over the Virgin River

Beginning our trek on the lower Emerald Pool trail.

When you cross the bridge, be sure to take a moment to look up river and down...the view is absolutely beautiful!

Remember: It isn't always just about the destination, but the journey is something that should be treasured and enjoyed. Isn't life like that?

Crossing the Virgin River - A bit muddy this time of year

Crossing the Virgin River
Crossing the Virgin River

We began by crossing over the Virgin River which is a little muddy this time of year.

The Lower Emerald Pool Trail

What you should know:

Has minor drop-offs.

Paved trail leads to the Lower Emerald Pool and waterfalls. Beautiful scenery the entire way. Views of the Virgin River, shaded much of the way, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, birds and frogs are among the many wildlife you may see.

At the falls itself it is wet, you walk right under the misty spray. It is steep. I imagine it can get slick so use caution!

It also connects to the Kayenta and Upper Emerald Pool Trails.

The Rising Sun - Peaking over the tall mountains

The Rising Sun
The Rising Sun

An early start is important when exploring Zions. We thought we were pretty early but wished we had even started earlier in the day after our hiking.

So much to see and so much nicer walking and hiking in the cool morning air. The wildlife is out in abundance early and tend to hide and rest in the shade in the afternoons.

Cactus - growing on a rock

Cactus growing on the rock
Cactus growing on the rock

I love the different flora and fauna you find in Zions and throughout Utah. Beautiful flowering cactus and different plants than I normally see.

This is a photo of some cactus growing on the Rock Mountain.

A view of the Virgin River along the trail - So pretty even when it is muddy

A view of the Virgin River along the trail
A view of the Virgin River along the trail

I have noticed a lot of the rivers in Utah are this muddy color. I wonder if the fish survive?

Beautiful Red Flowers - By the dead tree

Beautiful red flowers by a dead tree
Beautiful red flowers by a dead tree

I love photos like this, it shows the cycle of life. A dead tree provides shade and nourishment to new beautiful red flowers. So pretty!

A shade tree - with a built in root bench

A shade tree if you need to rest along the way
A shade tree if you need to rest along the way

At the time we didn't need a rest, but I thought this little shade tree along the path would provide many with a nice place to sit on it's roots, on their walk up on a hot sunny summer day.

Don't forget to enjoy the views - along the way

The Rocks of Zions are amazing
The Rocks of Zions are amazing

The rocks and mountains of Zions just amaze me. So tall your neck will get tired!

I love my Walking Stick! - The best purchase we made before we left for Zions.

If you plan to do any hiking, I would strongly suggest investing in a good walking stick or two. They are absolutely necessary when hiking especially up hills.

We didn't meet anyone that had one that would ever be without one hiking.

I love my walking stick and thanked my husband several times for thinking of buying it.

Below are some samples of some that looked like good quality walking sticks, do you homework and get a good sturdy one, with rubber grips.

Layers of rock exposed beneath a new tree - Fascinating!

Layers of rock exposed beneath a new tree
Layers of rock exposed beneath a new tree

it is so fascinating to me to ponder on how this land was formed. Look at the rock exposed beneath this new tree.

Just layers and layers of red rock. Amazing isn't it?

A Desert Oasis - with information about the falls

A Desert Oasis
A Desert Oasis

Frogs that Bleat like Sheep? - I wished we had heard one

Frogs that Bleat Like Sheep
Frogs that Bleat Like Sheep

Have you ever visited Zion National Park? - Do you want to go see Zion's someday?

If you have been to Zion's National Park, other readers and myself would love to hear what your favorite experience there. Did you explore places I didn't? What was it like?

If you haven't been there, please share why you would like to see it someday? What have you heard?

Have you ever visited Zion National Park?

The Lower Emerald Pool Trail - Ahh, our first stop along our path

Lower Emerald Pools at Zions National Park
Lower Emerald Pools at Zions National Park

We started our morning on Friday with our "Easy Walk" to the Lower Emerald Pools. (The quotes I use for the easy walk are because of the different physical fitness and mobility of people. It would be a long walk if you were pushing a wheelchair up that hill. The trail can get steeper in parts, so keep that in mind if you have any mobility problems.)

The walk was easy, nice smooth trail that goes over a beautiful bridge over the Virgin River then up the hill. Beautiful views on the walk up. Squirrels, deer and birds all around. We passed many people on the hike up that were coming back down.

To be honest we kept thinking we should be there and it went a bit further and further. Soon we were asking people is it much further?

Our plan was only to do this lower Emerald Pool walk as it was easy and we were still a bit sore from our three and a half mile walk the day before. We knew we had a lot of the park still to see.

But our plans soon change when we found the Lower Emerald Pools.

Now in looking at the name, you would think that the pools are what you are going to be overwhelmed by the color of them. I am sure they change at different times of the year, different seasons and such. But the real beauty we found was the small waterfalls falling 100 feet over the cliff to the pools below and the gorgeous striations of the curved rock wall.. Almost just misting the day were were there. But ever changing. There was even more water on the trip back down. Not sure where it came from.

We stayed for a bit taking pictures and enjoying the view of the falls. Asking people coming down if the middle and upper Emerald Pools were worth the hike. They all said they were, but one lady told us that the middle Emerald Pool wasn't much, but the Upper Emerald Pool was the best.

We kept looking at each other reading each others faces wondering if the other one wanted to go. You see after 32 years you do that.

We met a nice older couple that asked us to take their photo, which we did. They said they were going up to the next pools. Which sold both of us...if they could do it so could we. Off we went.

Below are some photos of the trail on the way up to the Middle Emerald Pools.

What you should know about Hiking in Zions

Per Zion's website:

"Hiking in canyons, even short hikes, requires advance planning. Many hikes involve walking in water. Rivers and washes are subject to flash flooding.

Know the weather and flash flood potential forecasts before starting your trip. The forecasts are posted daily in park visitor centers.

Many canyons require ropes, hardware, and advanced technical skills for rappelling and ascending."

Just to give you Perspective - of the size of these rocks and falls


I just wanted to give you a little perspective of the size of these Boulders and the falls.

The middle red circle on the left shows some people standing at the middle emerald pools overlooking the top of the waterfall we just walked under.

The bottom red circle shows a guy walking under the falls.

The top red circle shows where you go to get to the upper falls.

The Lower Emerald Pools - Zions National Park

The Lower Emerald Pools at Zion National Park
The Lower Emerald Pools at Zion National Park

You can see in looking at the photos, why I say the "Emerald Pools" really don't make the attraction as much as everything that surrounds the pools.

This lens doesn't end here, it is actually spread over three lenses. So don't stop here, there is a link just above this, and a guestbook for all three at the end of the upper fall lens.

But if you do need to stop here and would like to leave a comment, please do.

Thank you so much for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed a bit of Zions through my eyes.

Thank you

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    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      This definitely gives me a better idea of what is involved to get to the Emerald Pools. I will certainly take that into account. Loved your photos. I also like it that you chose some "ordinary" things to show us.

    • socialcx1 profile image

      socialcx1 4 years ago

      So many beautiful place in the world that I need to visit. Thanks for sharing.

    • KnitnPurlGirl profile image

      KnitnPurlGirl 4 years ago

      Beautiful photos! A place I'd like to visit someday.

    • judithcheng lm profile image

      judithcheng lm 4 years ago

      great px!

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Wow, wonderful lens, would love to visit someday.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      Gorgeous photos and fascinating lens. Reminds me of my trip to the Gila Mountains in New Mexico last summer. Congrats on your purple star. It is well deserved.

    • Corrinna-Johnson profile image

      Corrinna Johnson 4 years ago from BC, Canada

      Wow! Your photos are beautiful and I would love to visit there some day.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      The rising sun over the mountains is, naturally, my favorite of your Zion National Park photos, but then again, the soul of that old tree speaks to me!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      Visually and verbally thrilling to scroll through.

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 4 years ago

      The photos are breath taking! I really wish I can visit this place!

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 4 years ago from Johanesburg

      Nice lens beautiful place , thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      smsr0100451 4 years ago

      Amazing place. I wish to go there some day.

    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 4 years ago

      national park is not in my traveling list but I like your photos presented here

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very nice photos and good info. I was there many years ago as a child.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Stunning. And well presented.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago


    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      Glad you got to finally visit this Bucket List paradise. I visited Zion N.P. a few years ago and can't wait to go back and spend more time there. Thanks for sharing your experience and the immense beauty with us.