Discover an oasis in the heart of Zion National Park, where three small pools and waterfalls sparkle in the desert.
Visit Emerald Pools, one of the most striking destinations in Zion National Park. Follow a series of short trails through lush vegetation past tumbling streams to clear emerald pools.
From the trailhead begin the walk to the first pool, the Lower Pool. Follow the trail to a cavernous soaring rocky alcove surrounded by green. Two waterfalls spill into the pool below.
Continue up past the alcove to the source of the waterfalls. Trickling streams collect to form the Middle Pool, and then tumble over the cliff to the Lower Pool below. Enjoy particularly stunning scenery in this section. Admire views of the canyon floor and a lush forest beyond.
Continue along a sandy trail to the Upper Pool. Cliffs soar dramatically 350 feet (107 meters) above the base of the shimmering water, forming a three-sided natural amphitheater. Relax in the shade or enjoy a scenic picnic. See a small waterfall tumbling far above you from the mouth of Heaps Canyon. To get back, either retrace your steps or continue along the loop to the Lower Pool.
To fully enjoy the Emerald Pools, allocate at least 2 hours to explore. Because it is fairly easy and centrally located, expect lots of company along the trails. The looped trails range from 1.2 miles (1.9 kilometers) long to see the Lower Pool to 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) long to see all three pools. Put on your sneakers for the slightly more strenuous hikes around the other two pools. The Lower Pool is handicapped-accessible.
Access the Emerald Pools by taking the Zion Canyon Shuttle from the Visitor Center to the Zion Lodge stop. For a slightly longer hike along the Kayenta Trail, take the shuttle to the next stop at the Grotto. Spring and fall are the most pleasant and verdant but the trails are open year-round. Depending on rainfall in the summer, the falls sometimes reduce to a trickle. Remember to enjoy the pools with your eyes only; as welcoming as they look, swimming is not allowed.