Emerald Pools, Zion National Park


  • Located directly across from Zion Lodge, Emerald Pools might be the most-hiked trail in all of Zion. Featuring mild hiking, three optional loops, and elegant waterfalls, the Emerald Pools trail sees many visitors each day. On this walk, you can skirt behind thin veils of water, rock-hop across quiet streams, and gaze from a wide balcony onto perfect views of Mountain of the Sun. Ironically, the one thing you probably shouldn't expect, however, are any "emerald" pools... if the pools ever were shimmery and green, they are more clear and clean than bright emerald today.

  • Trailhead: Exit free Scenic Drive shuttle at Zion Lodge.

    Mileage & Elevation:
    Lower Pool – 1.2 miles (1.9 km)/ 69 feet (21 meters), round-trip
    Middle Pool – 2 miles (3.2 km)/ 150 feet (46 meters), round-trip
    Upper Pool – 3 miles (4.8 km)/ 400 feet (119 meters), round-trip

    Approximate Hike Time:
    Lower Pool – 1 hour, round-trip
    Middle Pool – 1.5 hours, round-trip
    Upper Pool – 2 hours, round-trip

    Difficulty: Easy to moderate, depending on how far you go

    Crowds: Heavy traffic is common, as Emerald Pools is one of the most popular hikes in the Park.
  • Best Times of Day:
    Summer: Early morning (6 - 8 am) and late afternoon strolls feature shade and smaller crowds.
    Fall & Spring: Midday hikes catch the pools glittered with sunlight, making for great poolside-lounging.

    Best Times of Year: Anytime of year. Spring typically features the most reliable and impressive waterfalls, while fall colors are especially dramatic.
  • The majestic and pristine Upper Pools, below a jaw-dropping 300-foot waterfall running out of Heaps Canyon.
    The trail to the Lower Poor skirts behind a long falls, creating a beautiful (if a little wet) pathway to the others side.
     Take a moment to look for canyoneers emerging from two nearby canyons, Heaps and Behunin. The last rappel in Heaps emerges at the very top Pool, and Behunin emerges in a high cleft to the northwest of the Emerald Pools trail.
  • Mileage information is based upon starting at the Zion Lodge.
    The first mile is paved, allowing access for rugged wheelchairs.
    These pools are not for swimming or bathing. Please protect the fragile riparian ecology by staying out of the water. 
    A portion of the Middle Pool is exposed to slippery cliff edges – take care!