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Zion National Park: Lower Emerald Pool

This easy, 1.5-mile dayhike skirts the canyon-carving Virgin River en route to an algae-tinted desert oasis and a dripping, 100-foot waterfall.

Rating

This easy hike to the Lower Emerald Pool begins at the Zion Lodge shuttle stop and rounds the northern edge of a giant lawn before crossing the park road toward the official trailhead. Stop to orient yourself at the map kiosk before hoofing it over the Virgin River’s footbridge and beginning the gradual 0.6-mile northbound climb to the Lower Emerald Pool.
The paved trail skirts the river for 300 yards and turns sharply left, continuing under the maple and shrub-shaded canopy. Keep your eyes on the trail as you climb: there are several sections where hillside erosion has left an abrupt edge hanging several feet above the ground. This out-and-back ends at an overlook of the algae-tinted lower pool and a towering 100-foot overhanging waterfall that drips—and sometimes rages—over the trail. Use the handrails to explore the muddy, trailside oasis before turning back toward the lodge. If you have the time and energy, consider continuing to the middle and upper pools and completing the entire 2.6-mile loop trail.
-Mapped by Kristy Holland  

To Trailhead

Between March and November the trailhead is only accessible via shuttle. Catch the comfortable, fully accessible buses at the Visitor Center near the park’s south entrance and disembark at Zion Lodge. In winter, drive 3 miles north of UT 9 on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and turn left into the Emerald Pools Trailhead, or right into the lodge parking area.

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