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Backpacker Magazine – October 2010

Top 3 Rainy Season Hikes: Emerald Pools, UT

Explore Gushing, Rain-fed waterfalls.

by: Kelly Bastone

Water always dribbles over the cliff between Middle and Lower Emerald Pools, in Zion National Park—but rainstorms transform that trickle into a dazzling torrent that lets hikers pass behind a 15-foot-wide curtain of water.  From Zion Lodge, the 3.2-mile round-trip route allows plenty of time to enjoy the trio of pools. Take the Emerald Pools Trail and follow the North Fork Virgin River before contouring along a sandstone wall where water trickles from above. At Lower Emerald Pool, you’ll hear water drumming into the 60-foot-wide pond above; to stand at the source, continue up the trail for another half-mile to Middle Emerald Pool, where water spills into a small basin. Cross to the stream’s east side, then climb 250 feet in a half-mile to Upper Emerald, which is fed by a thundering waterfall and affords views of Cathedral and Red Arch Mountains. Retrace your steps to the trailhead.

Watch the raindrops tumble as you slurp a margarita at the Bit & Spur in Springdale. (435) 772-3498;

The Way
From Zion Canyon’s south entrance, ride the shuttle four miles north to Zion Lodge.

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Reader Rating: -


Oct 30, 2011

This could very nice to see at this time of year.
perhaps, go to Phoenix for a day conference then
drive to zion for a few days.k.

Oct 27, 2011

This was one of my favorite places to go after work at the Lodge. It was cooler, wetter, and the sounds of the water, wildlife and frogs were peaceful. On the way to the Pools, we saw a rattlesnake once alongside the trail.

Oct 27, 2011

Went to Zion in May 2010.. the emerald pools weren't emerald at all. They were so unimpressive. The waterfall was neat, though.

Dec 24, 2010

Just did this trai/hike 1.5 months ago beautiful shear rock faces, and autumn colors. I personally liked Bryce canyon more ( More challenging also).

M Novak
Nov 25, 2010

We always do at least part of this hike every time we go to Zion. Today was a bit different since there was snow and ice on the trail so we only went as far as the lower pool. It looked beautiful with snow on the trees, icicles and ice covered trees. Great for kids to experience the thrill of walking behind a waterfall.


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