One of the best easy trails in Zion, the Lower Emerald Pool trail takes visitors to a beautiful lake and waterfall. This is one of the favorite hikes of many visitors to the park. Here we explain how to do the hike.
About the Hike
Distance: 1.4 miles | Type: Out & Back | Avg. Time: 30 mins | Difficulty: Easy | Dog Friendly: No
The Lower Emerald Pool hike is a great easy hike capable for most visitors to the park. The hike takes visitors across a bridge and a mostly paved, flat path to the lower emerald pool. The pool itself also has a walkway where visitors can walk behind the small waterfall in the area as well.
Visitors should not swim or otherwise interact with the pool, however there are spots to get some great photos and get close to the pool as well. This hike takes you to the pool itself. From here you can hike up to a “viewpoint”, although to be honest the viewpoint really doesn’t give you a good view.
This hike can be expanded to include the lower and middle pools as well.
NOTE: Currently the Bridge from the Zion Lodge Trailhead is out. The current official way to complete the hike is from the Kayenta hike [Stop 6: The Grotto], which adds an additional 1.5 miles (round trip). Many folks were also just crossing the water in the river. Given that this is easier than the Narrows, I think it’s fine. But obviously at your own risk.
Lower Emerald Pool Trailhead & Parking
The Lower Emerald Pool is located across from Stop 5 [Zion Lodge] of the Zion Shuttle. For those who are visiting during any of the peak times, you MUST take the shuttle any time it is running.
The Lower Emerald Pool is also accessible from Stop 6 [The Grotto] via the Kayenta Trail or from Stop 4 [Court of the Patriarchs] via the Sand Bench Trail.
The parking at the trailhead is only available for those who are staying at the Zion Lodge.
Best Time to Do the Hike
The hike is pretty great to do in any season. Thanks to the short and easy trail, it’s actually accessible to most folks. Fall in my opinion is the best season to explore the hike (and overall park) with the mild weather, generally sunny days, and addition of fall colors.
Summers are hot, and you may want to avoid the hottest times of the day, but generally the short trail, some shade makes it easy to do. Also the waterfall area is shaded and has a generally cooler feeling even at hotter times.
The Lower Emerald Pool Trail Hike
The Lower Emerald Pool trail starts from across the main road at Stop 5 [Zion Lodge]. The Zion lodge bus will drop you off closer to the lodge itself. But just head back towards the road and the water. The bridge is about 0.1 miles from the Lodge itself.
From here you’ll see a trailhead sign and the bridge. Cross the Bridge here and continue on the trail. The start of the trail will hug the river for about 0.2 miles.
The trail itself is pretty nice. There are trees and some shade and the trail is paved and actually relatively easy.
After about 0.4 miles you’ll reach the overhang area where the waterfall comes down along the overhang. On your right will be the emerald pool. You can walk along this area to get different photos.
Below you can see the photo of the Emerald Pool. It’s not the most exciting of the pools, but it was still lovely.
The trail itself from here continues up to a view point or to continue on to the other emerald pools. The viewpoint isn’t worth the trip as in my opinion it was a pretty poor view of the pool. The pools are great to explore. In my opinion the upper pool is worth the visit, but you’ll need to pass the middle pool anyway.
If you want to keep the hike short, just head back the way you came after exploring the lower pool area.
Tips & FAQs
- The Bridge is Currently Out. The official way is to go via the Kayenta trail. But there were plenty of folks just crossing the river. The river crossing, if you choose, isn’t too difficult (but the water is very cold).
- The Lower pool is a great place to explore. It’s not the best pool (in my opinion) but the addition of the waterfall makes it a great trail to do.
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