Closed due to bridge closure at Zion Lodge. Take Kayenta Trail to Emerald Pools instead.
The Emerald Pools are a scenic little oasis in Zion National Park. The shortest and easiest to get to is Lower Emerald Pool that begins at Zion Lodge. Beginning in May 2023, the bridge across the Virgin River at Zion Lodge is closed, so the Kayenta Trail from The Grotto 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. Get off at #5, the Zion Lodge Stop.
This map is helpful to see how the traditional trail and Kayenta Trail arrive at the Emerald Pools Trails. Lower and Upper Emerald Pools are the highlights, but there is also Middle Emerald Pool at the start of the red trail.
This post is explaining the easiest green trail, the begins at Zion Lodge and heads up the Lower Emerald Pool Trail. You can optionally add on Middle and Upper Emerald Pool Trail, which would add one moderate mile round trip.
Begin your hike at the Zion Lodge. You might find wildlife like mule deer and grey foxes if you are there near sunrise or sunset.
Cross the road and the bridge and then take the trail that switchbacks up on the far side of the bridge. The first is a view from near the beginning of the trail across from the lodge. The second is actually from the Kayenta Trail looking over at the Emerald Pools Trail. Can you see the lower ledge of the canyon and then below it is a straight path that is the roughly paved trail to Lower Emerald Pool.
I have hiked in multiple times, but before I had a hiking blog, so I didn’t take many pictures. This trip this trail is closed. Here is a photo from Joe Braun on the trail to Emerald Pools from the Zion Lodge.
Lower Emerald Pool
It is only 0.6 miles to the Lower Emerald Pool. The Emerald Pools is a classic Zion hike, so it can get crowded. Go early in the day to beat the heat and have fewer people on the trail.
The Lower Emerald Pool is in incredible spot! The falls are best in the spring and right after rain. Almost all the time there is a little mist that sprays you as you go under the falls.
It’s refreshing on a hot day to go under the falls.
Head around the corner to the right under the falls. Some of the people in these photos are headed back the way you came.
To your right there will be a viewpoint of the Lower Emerald Pool.
You can continue on to the Upper Emerald Pools (adds 1.0 moderate miles) or return to the trail to head down under the falls and back to the Zion Lodge.
Here is one more of the falls at Lower Emerald Pool.
Stats to Lower: Distance – 1.2 miles round trip
Approximate hiking time – 60-90 minutes
Elevation gain – 69 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – Trail roughly paved 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