Emerald Pools

Bring Along:

  • Camera

  • Sun Protection

  • Trail Map

  • Water

Trail Description:

  • Very Easy

  • 2 - 4 Hours

  • 2 Miles Round Trip

  • Year Round Access

The Emerald Pools is one of Zion National Park’s signature trail. This section of the park is filled with amazing viewpoints and breathtaking sceneries all along the route. This trail can be enjoyed by all age groups. This section provides exciting hiking opportunities for all. As you continue to come back and explore the trail you are sure to never grow tired of it as you will find new and exciting adventures unique to every hike.
Some of the main attractions of the Emerald Pools include water pools, waterfalls, as well as other monuments. Kids can enjoy swimming in the upper pool as well as explore the drainage that is behind the middle pool. This trail offers you a relaxed 2 hour hike that can be enjoyed by the entire family. If you are travelling with kids, keep an eye on them as the cliffs are not properly protected. Pack all necessary ranging from first-aid-kit supplies to snow gear if you happen to be visiting during the winter months.

  • Rating: Emerald Pools is rated as an easy trail that the entire family can enjoy.
  • Access Point: To reach the trail from the Zion Lodge take the shuttle at Zion’s main canyon, or the Grotto through the Kayenta Trail, which is a little longer than the other stop.
  • Length: The trail is approximately 2 miles depending on which route you choose.
  • Elevation Change: There is a 200 foot elevation increase to reach Middle Emerald Pool as well as another 200 foot increase to reach the upper emerald pool.
  • Ideal Hiking Seasons: The trail is open year around. But, spring months and fall months offer a more peaceful and pleasant experience. Summer months can be very hot causing a tough and tiring hike.

To reach the emerald pool, the beginning point is located at the Zion lodge where you will take the trail from the north via the Virgin River. The other route to reach the Emerald Pools is from the Grotto bus stop through a connector trail, which is known as Kayenta Trail. In 2 to 4 hours you can complete the trial, but time will vary depending on the route you choose.

The following are the different route options (pool options) for the Emerald Pools trail.

Lower Emerald Pools

The Lower Emerald Pools is less than half a mile in distance. Here you can find thick vegetation as the trail leads you to a large alcove below two waterfalls and their beautiful pools. Reaching this point is very easy and all age groups can easily take this trail and explore the surroundings.
Emerald Pools Trail- Middle Emerald Pools

Next to the alcove, the trail becomes more difficult. You can find steps that take you to the top of the cliff, exactly above where you walked to reach this point. The middle pools are tributary from the waterfalls. This part of the pool is amazingly beautiful.

Upper Emerald Pool

This final stretch, is a sandy and hot quarter mile, finish at the final pool which is a 300 foot cliff above. The Upper pool section is a spectacular section where you can find some shade to relax and enjoy a break. You’ll be able to see a narrow waterfall falling from far above Heaps Canyon. For your return trip, you can take the same route back or you can choose the loop track to reach the Zion Lodge.


The trail is well protected with guardrails, fences, signs, and cliff warnings, allowing you to easily swim and explore the surrounding with less fear of falling, etc. Be sure to follow each and every instruction to protect the beauty of the park. As one of the most popular National Park in the country that offers fun and entertainment for all age group, it is our duty to maintain it well. Keep the park clean and follow rules for safety.
The big floods and rainstorms that occurred in December 2010 caused severe damage to the mountain areas. The mountain closer to Lady Mountain has been damaged and it is closed for this reason. All visitors must obey all trail rules and closure signs.
The Emerald Pools hike is a short, easy hike perfect hike for tourists especially for kids, elderly people and first-time visitors. Be prepared for the large crowd. Remember that the Water level in the Emerald Pools is very low, so don’t expect large waterfalls. Be prepared for all circumstances, and enjoy your hike.