Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
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. nps.gov/zion
Watch the raindrops tumble as you slurp a margarita at the Bit & Spur in Springdale. (435) 772-3498; bitandspur.com
From Zion Canyon’s south entrance, ride the shuttle four miles north to Zion Lodge.