Hiking: The Emerald Pools of Zion National Park

Zion National Park offers up some pretty spectacular scenery, enticing visitors from all over the globe to come and view her landscape firsthand. Our first day in the park was only a half-day, so we chose to see one of Zion’s well-known beauties to get the trip rolling.

The Emerald Pools are really pretty and offer up a fun and easy hike.

The caveat…this trail is CRAZY busy. Think Disneyland lines and you are probably somewhat close.

This was the line of people as we started on the trail:


Way too many people for me!…but…it was nice to see the pools.

When we visit a National Park, we try to divide our time between viewing the landmarks and escaping the crowds to find the lands less-visited assets. You can click HERE to find our other National Park adventures.

The Hike


The views from the first half of the hike are gorgeous.


The first portion of the trail is on a fairly smooth and even walking path.


It starts to get a little rocky and then you discover the lower pool.

This is really beautiful. At this point, you can turn back after you snap some pictures…or you can start to climb some natural stairs and go further. From this point forward, you have to be able to climb stairs and traverse uneven surfaces.


Obviously…we wanted to go all the way to the upper pool!

The middle pool is beautiful.


But again…the crowd factor…we still felt like we were at Disneyland…


And eventually we reached the upper pool. Again….so pretty!


It is here that we stoped for lunch…a really late lunch. We had decided to pack a backpackers lunch…well, maybe a gourmet backpackers lunch. The thing is…there is really no place to stop on this trail and picnic. In fact, there is really not a place to stop.

So at the upper pool, we set up on some rocks while the kids explore.


Chris busts out our WindBurner Stove System by MSR. The menu was chili and corn chips…and grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough. Yummm!



The views of the rugged sandstone walls are gorgeous.


The thing that frustrated me though…were the tourists that lack courtesy. We made camp in a little spot to have lunch away from everyone…and a family decides to come and sit directly next to us. Yep, two feet from my elbow. Seriously? There was no-one for thirty feet in either direction, and they sit so close that they can breathe on me. I say this to remind us all. We need to educate our children…and grandchildren. Courtesy! It is so important. I know that people and cultures are different, but if you are raising (or influencing) littles…please teach them courtesy, respect…and perhaps some etiquette for the trail?

Ok. I’m done. Had to say it….


The way back down was a bit more swift. We even found a friendly hiker to snap a family photo for us…



At the end of the hike, you can walk up the road and enjoy the beautiful (and shaded) lawn in front of the Zion Lodge. Perhaps you will have a little boy who is all worn out…


The Lodge was the perfect spot to find an ice cold drink and take a breather before exploring the park a bit more.

My Summary

So here it is…the pools are beautiful. We really did love the hike. But honestly, the trail is way to busy for us during the day.

If you are going to do this hike, I would highly suggest doing it first thing in the morning. This is a gorgeous fall hike, and if you eliminate eighty percent of the people…it would be amazing. So I suggest arriving at the park around 8:00 am and hitting the trail first thing. Otherwise, you might try at the end of the day. We hit the trail around 1:00…and well, you saw the photos. Busy.

It is a really beautiful area. Avoid the crowds as much as you can…and enjoy Zion!

What are your tips for avoiding crowds in our National Parks? I would love to know.

2 thoughts on “Hiking: The Emerald Pools of Zion National Park

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