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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 35 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?

No, but I would like to

No, but I would like to

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    • mcstacy 4 years ago

      The landscapte is rugged but so beautiful, it would be a place I'd like to visit one day.

    • Ruthi 4 years ago

      No, I have not yet visited Zion but to see the beauty you have portrayed here, I surely hope that I get to Zion one day.

    • chi kung 4 years ago

      hopefully will :)

    • Nnadi bonaventure Chima 4 years ago from Johanesburg

      It is a place worth visiting

    • smsr0100451 4 years ago

      I want to visit this place.

    • DebMartin 4 years ago

      Some day soon. I'm fast approaching retirement. Road trip!

    • shewins 4 years ago

      We drove past it once on the way to from Arizona to Colorado. We were on a schedule, so didn't have time to stop. The country around there was beautiful though.

    • Linda Hoxie 4 years ago from Idaho

      @skhdesigns lm: Really nice, this year it seems really warm to us but I think it was in the 80's. Nothing like summer, just warm when in the sunshine and hiking uphill, for two 50's and out of shape people.

    • skhdesigns lm 4 years ago

      What were the temps like in April?

    • Valerie Smith 4 years ago from New Zealand

      No I haven't had the pleasure of visiting Zion National Park.

    • Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      No not yet. Would like to see Zion and Bryce Canyon while in UT.

    • Jennifer P Tanabe 4 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Not yet! My daughter visited one year with friends and said it was amazing. I've seen photos and would love to see it all for myself one day.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Zion National Park seems quite rocky, Am not much into rocky hiking but love some green valley tracking or may be snow mountains.

    • Ben Reed 4 years ago

      Unfortunately I never had the opportunity as yet - but it looks wonderful.

    • Susan Hazelton 4 years ago from Summerfield, Florida

      I would love to visit it someday.

    • adiovith 4 years ago

      It's look like a awesome places...

    • Bercton1 4 years ago

      Very beautiful and interesting to place to visit

    • orcamom lm 4 years ago

      This park looks amazing - useful info thanks

    • Cassandra Kuthy 4 years ago from Ohio

      I want to so bad, thanks for this lens, I love it. Helped give me some guidance because there are a couple places around here in Ohio that I would love to do something with.

    • Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      We did a trip of 4 national parks, unfortunately Zion wasn't on the itinerary. We need to head back out West.

    • ChristyZ 4 years ago

      I would love to visit one day!

    • Michey LM 4 years ago

      Not yet, but I know it is beautiful and your pictures proof my point.

    • Jenn Dixon 4 years ago from PA

      I actually plan on going there sometime this week!

    • RazzbarryBreeze 4 years ago

      It looks beautiful there.

    • HughSmulders LM 4 years ago

      The nature is so gorgeous and enormously grand, that I definitely feel like visiting it.

    • Sweetbunny LM 4 years ago

      Looks beautiful, hope to visit there someday. Congratulations!

    • fifinn 4 years ago

      very beautiful place.

    • Meganhere 4 years ago

      Wow, that looks spectacular! Great photos.

    • LUMOSE 4 years ago

      No, but as I see, is very beautiful. Great pictures.

    • mowug1776 4 years ago

      haven't got there yet

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      This is as close as I've come and so far I'm having a glorious virtual trip!

    Yes, and my favorite part was...

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      • Pat Goltz 3 years ago

        I went once, but I only had one day, and it was rainy and foggy, so I would love to go back when there are spring flowers, a day partly cloudy, warm, and sunshine, and I'd like to see Emerald Falls. I did get some nice photos in spite of the weather, but not nearly as many as I'd like.

      • Ean Brandon 4 years ago from United States

        Isn't southern utah amazing!!

      • judithcheng lm 4 years ago

        wonderful memories...

      • Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

        I found Zion to be extraordinary. We did hike the Narrows. Amazing experience.

      • Linda Hoxie 4 years ago from Idaho

        @Mandy Stradley: I can't wait to do those, what time of year did you do Angels, I am thinking really, really early spring. And later in Summer for the Narrows. Can't wait to go back and do those someday.

      • Mandy Stradley 4 years ago

        I loved Angel's Landing and the Narrows hike!

      • Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

        I briefly visited the park in 1998 but did not stop off long enough to do any trails as we wee just passing through and headed to Denver that night. I wish I could have seen more of it.

      • MaggiePowell 4 years ago

        Zion is one of my favorite National Parks.... I loved staying in the Lodge, everything got so quiet at night.

      • Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

        I've been there back in the day when I was physically healthier. It is a beautiful place and fascinating to explore! Congratulations on LOTD, well-deserved! I love the rock formations the best.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        We did the narrows, Angel's Landing, and Hidden Canyon. Zion is an amazing place. We spent two days in the summer of 2009 and spent a week there last year. :O)

      • Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

        Yes. I have hiked this trail and even had a chance to do three paintings. One is of the spot that you labeled "A View of the Virgin River Along the Trail." It is a magical place. Very unique.

      • Mary Stephenson 4 years ago from California

        Many years ago I went and really enjoyed it. Probably my favorite of all the parks in Utah. Although the others are pretty spectacular.

      • TheWorldOutdoors 4 years ago

        the challenging yet rewarding hikes, the breath-taking scenery, everything!! The World Outdoors runs several guided tours through Zion every year and it never fails that we see something different and amazing! Always a pleasure to visit again!

      • ClaytonDaily 4 years ago

        Zion is one of my favorite National Parks!

      • trying2Bhealthy 4 years ago

        Yes, when I was a child.

      • carol2 4 years ago

        Yes, in the 70s, and it was gorgeous. Would love to take my kids to see it. My favorite part was the long tunnel. I was about 10 and the tunnel was an adventure.

      • SteveKaye 4 years ago

        I've been to Zion NP many times. The scenery is awesome. The mountains are unlike anything that you'll find anywhere.

      • pdxdonna lm 4 years ago

        Yes, about 8 years ago...I have never heard of this park, but now love it!!

      • Rose Jones 4 years ago

        Just how beautiful the red rocks were. However, my kids were very young when I visited, I would love to go there now.

      • hmommers 4 years ago

        Yes, and I loved it. But I can't remember I had a favorite part. Almost at the end of our hike there were some controlled bushfires which I thought were fascinating.

      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 3 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.

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          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!

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          Avi Wolfson 4 years ago from Massachusetts

          Wow, wonderful lens, would love to visit someday.

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          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.

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          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!

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          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!

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          Nnadi bonaventure Chima 4 years ago from Johanesburg

          Nice lens beautiful place , thanks for sharing

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          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

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          anonymous 4 years ago

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

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          DebMartin 4 years ago

          Stunning. And well presented.

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          anonymous 4 years ago


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          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.