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The Middle Emerald Pool Trail in Zion National Park

Updated on August 18, 2014
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The author is an amateur artist and photographer that loves to travel with her husband of 35 years.

Hiking to the Middle Emerald Pools at Zion's Canyon

Hopefully you have come here from my first page about The Lower Emerald Pools. If you haven't you will enjoy starting there and then coming to this page just as you would if you were hiking with us on the Lower, Middle and Upper Trails at Zion National Park.

Now we began our trek from the Lower Emerald Pools and headed to the Middle Emerald Pools. The photo at the top left gives you just a glimpse of the view from the Middle Pools.

But the best views are yet to come!

When you come from the bottom of the parking lot at the Lodge, you take the Lower Emerald Pool trail that is one mile round trip. Now this next portion was only .5 miles round trip from the lower falls, but it is pretty steep going up. So bring sturdy shoes with ankle support, a walking stick and plenty of water with you if you plan on making this hike.

I would also suggest that you do your most strenuous hikes first thing in the morning while it is still cool. Though if you plan on doing any of the long hikes, like the Narrows or Angel Trail you will still meet the hot sun in the afternoon.

This is the Rock you walk under - Barely hanging on

The Rock at the Lower Emerald Pools at Zions
The Rock at the Lower Emerald Pools at Zions

This rock made me feel very uncomfortable to walk under, it overhangs over the trail. A huge Boulder really, that would smash you like a bug if it decided to move. You walk completely under the rock and as you do when you look up under the rock you can see how it is held up by very unstable looking smaller rocks.

It wasn't til we got to the top of the rock that I could see that one side seems buried and more stable than the other.

So hopefully this rock will never fall on a visitor to Zions Canyon's Emerald Pools.

Middle Emerald Pools Trail

Follow the trails underneath the falls.

The trail is unpaved, goes up some steep shaded stairs and then around a couple of short switchbacks where you gain of over 100 feet in elevation, you will find the middle pools. The first middle pool is formed by the Behunin Canyon watershed the second by Heaps Canyon watershed according to Zion National-Park which is not the official Zions site, but filled with great info.

This is the first set of stairs going up - to the Middle Emerald Pools

This is the first set of stairs going up
This is the first set of stairs going up

Amazed at how much work went into building these stairs going up to the Middle Emerald Pools. All of the stairs you see, the benches along the paths, are created out of the natural rock and trees around Zion's so it all feels so natural and good.

This was the first set of stairs.

In front of me is my husband, always patiently waiting while I take pictures...well almost always!

Shade...shade is my friend when hiking. I enjoy those times in the shade and tend to walk slower and enjoy that bit of coolness, before venturing out into the bright sunshine.

The 2nd set of stairs - So picture worthy!

The 2nd set of stairs to the Middle Emerald Pools at Zions
The 2nd set of stairs to the Middle Emerald Pools at Zions

Now don't get me wrong, it is not all stairs and shade, there is some climbing in the sunshine and walking on paths, but all of it is uphill, not too far about the first emerald pools.

Sunscreen is a must when you are hiking in Zions.

Must have water...I can not stress that enough.

They say you should bring and drink at least one gallon of water per person a day. So let's do the math. If you carry an average bottle of water, they are around 16 ounces. So you should drink at least 8 bottles of water during the day while you are at Zions.

Does that mean you need to carry that much on each hike. No, some of the shuttle stops have drinking water that you can fill your bottles or water reservoirs at. But I would suggest carrying 2-3 bottles of water with you at all times.

Or a camelbak type water carrier in your pack with at least 40 ounces.

Here is a variety of; - Water Reservoirs, Canteens and filtration systems for hiking

When we hiked we brought plastic water bottles, but they are not really good for our environment so my husband and I are looking to invest in something that will leave less of a footprint for the generations to come.

My hiking backpack has a place in it for a water reservoir. So I am leaning towards one of those. The filtration systems would also be nice to have. That way if you ran out of water but had a water source that you were not sure was safe you could filter that water.

My other thought is the old fashion military type canteens. I just remember using them as a kid on hikes. They always seemed to keep the water fresh and cold. The metal ones had no funny taste to them.

I haven't decided yet but below are some of the choices I am looking at.

The Middle Emerald Pools - This was our first glimpse

The Middle Emerald Pools
The Middle Emerald Pools

Now I have to admit the journey to the Middle Emerald Pools besides those cool shaded stairs was not as pretty as the walk along the Lower Emerald Trails. The destination is where it is at when you get to the Middle Emerald Pools.

We found this part first, it is where most people go as it is along the main path that leads to the Upper Emerald Pools at Zion.

The Middle Emerald Pools - Interesting rock formations on the bed of the stream

Middle Emerald Pools II
Middle Emerald Pools II

This was the view to the right, pretty...interesting but seemed to be a lot of people and not much room.

Then we found the secret place - At the Middle Emerald Pools

The Secret Place a the top of the Lower Emerald Pools Falls
The Secret Place a the top of the Lower Emerald Pools Falls

It wasn't until the way back down from the Upper Emerald Falls that we discovered our favorite Place at the Middle Emeralds pools.

My husband gets the credit for this one.

Now I had noticed a little path to the edge of the rock to the left when we got to the middle pools. There was a little bench to sit on, a bit of shade. I thought it was just a resting point.

But my husband said he wanted to see if we could get to that spot where we could see people standing at the top of the Lower Emerald Pools falls.

So we took that little bench path, around the corner to the right...we found the top of the falls.

The View from the Top of the Emerald Falls - at the Middle Emerald Pools

The view from the top of the falls spectacular
The view from the top of the falls spectacular

Isn't that view absolutely spectacular! I think it was the best viewpoint of the whole trip for me.

So that Mountain on the middle left of the view is Red Arch Mountain (Appropriately named isn't it?).

Lady Mountain is on the right.

Looking North, all the way to the left as you view this photo, you see parts of Mount Majestic and Cathedral Mountain.

Balanced rock at the top of the falls - Just like someone placed it there

Balanced rock at the falls
Balanced rock at the falls

Doesn't it look as if someone placed that rock there?

Overhanging Rock at the Falls - Just added to the view

Overhanging rock at the falls
Overhanging rock at the falls

I love the look of this overhanging rock, it just adds so much to the view from the top of the falls at the Middle Emerald Pools.

The first glimpse of the Middle Emerald Pools - From this viewpoint

Middle emerald pools III
Middle emerald pools III

There was something so much nicer about this part of the Middle Emerald Pools, not sure if it was because it was so shady, so secluded. It was like we found a hidden treasure that no one else knew about.

You could explore way back into these pools.

Is Hiking for you - or is your dream in a hammock?

Do you like to Hike

Yes, I have hiked...

Yes, I have hiked...

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    • skhdesigns lm 4 years ago

      Love hiking! Being in nature is like a restoration.

    • Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      It's great to get exercise in a natural environment.

    • LUMOSE 4 years ago

      I like hiking. You take awesome pictures. Congratulations.

    • Mirrie 4 years ago from France

      wow - These photos are amazing - I would love to visit

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I love hiking. Zion looks lovely .. it looks very much like the mountains here in Gran Canaria, Spain :)

    • Linda Hoxie 4 years ago from Idaho

      Hiking is definitely for me. I know that I need to work on getting in better shape. Hiking up and down hills needs strong joints and muscles. But the rewards are so amazing. I felt better about myself for making each trek, the views were just so amazing. Just feels good to get out in nature.

    Nope, I just like to...

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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        walk slowly

      Exposed roots - of a dead tree

      Exposed roots
      Exposed roots

      How strong are roots, though they seem like a fragile piece of a tree.

      Yet they give life, nutrition and provide strength to the tree. Like our own family roots, they are the foundation on which we begin. Providing us the strength to grow on our own.

      Fallen Tree - At the Emerald Pools

      Fallen Tree
      Fallen Tree

      Even a fallen tree makes a beautiful photo.

      How long do you think they last?

      Little Waterfall - Emerald Pools in the Middle

      Little Waterfall
      Little Waterfall

      The Path went way back in - So we went to explore

      The path
      The path

      Around ever bend - it was so pretty

      So pretty
      So pretty

      Can you see the lizard - in the sand?

      Can you see the lizard
      Can you see the lizard

      Coming out of the Pools - into the view again

      Coming out of the Pools
      Coming out of the Pools

      As we came out of the Pools you get a glimpse of that amazing view again. Mike and I loved this spot at the Middle Pools.

      So secluded and cooler that the rest.

      We had a hard time leaving.

      Definitely our favorite Pools - Of the Emerald Pools

      Definitely my favorite pools
      Definitely my favorite pools

      Yes, this was our favorite place to explore of all the pools.

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