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Kayenta Trail to Lower Emerald Pool

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The Kayenta Trail is the a beautiful trail that leads to the Emerald Pools in Zion National Park. This post is only the easy hike to the Lower Emerald Pool. The shorter and easier route begins at Zion Lodge, but is currently closed. Beginning in May 2023, the bridge across the Virgin River at Zion Lodge is closed, so the Kayenta Trail is currently the only route there.

Getting Around in Zion National Park

Zion National Park has a shuttle system and cars are not allowed in the main canyon unless they are staying in the Zion Lodge. You can drive the scenic drive towards the east entrance.

Zion Shuttle System

The shuttles in Springdale and in the main canyon make for a great experience to be able to hop on and off the shuttle and not have to fight for parking.


This map is helpful to see how the traditional trail and Kayenta Trail arrive at the Emerald Pools Trails. This is the post on the brown trail just to the Lower Emerald Pool.

When the bridge is repaired you could make a loop up the Lower Emerald Pool Trail and down the Kayenta Trail and then catch the shuttle there or take The Grotto Trail back to the Zion Lodge.

For now, you can just use the Kayenta Trail, so you will have to back track from both the Lower Emerald. If you want to add on the Middle and Upper Emerald Pools see this post.

Grotto Trailhead

Begin your hike at the Grotto, which is the same stop used for Angel’s Landing and Scout’s Lookout. Cross the road and the bridge and then take the trail that switchbacks up on the far side of the bridge.

Very soon you are on a slightly higher path, but it isn’t steep. All along this section there are beautiful views of the Virgin River and surrounding mountains in Zion National Park.

We were lucky enough to see some wildflowers blooming along the way. That view of Zion is so picturesque!

Soon the path turns the corner to the right to head towards the canyon walls and Emerald Pools. If you look to the end of the canyon to the left side you can see the falls of Upper and Lower Emerald Pools. You can probably see the streaks in the rock more than the actual falls.

The Emerald Pools is a classic Zion hike, so it can get crowded. That is especially true for the foreseeable future while the main trail to Emerald Pools is closed and everyone has to go along the Kayenta Trail both directions. Go early in the day to beat the heat and have fewer people on the trail.

Lower Emerald Pool

The Lower Emerald Pool is in incredible spot! To get there from the Kayenta Trail, you will need to take the trail down the stairs, between the large rocks.

At the base there is an option for a slight detour to the viewpoint.

Return to the trail to head down under the falls.

The views of the waterfalls are lovely. They are far more impressive in the spring or after rain. The Lower Pool is at the base of the falls.

Normally you could make this a loop by continuing along the Emerald Pools Trail to the Zion Lodge. Since the bridge is out, you’ll have to turn around.

Stats to Lower Emerald Pool: Distance – 2.2 miles round trip
Approximate hiking time – 60-90 minutes
Elevation gain – 136 feet
Difficulty – Easy 
Trail – Trail of dirt and rocks with a few stairs
Bathrooms – At trailhead
Seasons to hike – Year-Round (use micro-spikes in winter)
Permits needed – $35/vehicle for 7-day pass or National Parks Pass
Pets allowed – No


We have so much beauty in Utah to explore! I love hiking and photography and can help you find your next favorite hike! All photos were taken by me!

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