An easy hike at Zion National Park - Lower Emerald Pools

Want to explore Zion but not sure you can take on Angel's Landing or The Narrows? Well the Emerald Pools are great easy hikes for anyone!

An easy hike at Zion National Park - Lower Emerald Pools
Photo by Danika Perkinson / Unsplash

The various hikes to the Emerald Pools are a great opportunity for non-experienced hikers to enjoy Zion National Park. Unlike Angel's Landing, there is little elevation change and no stomach-turning cliff drop-offs. You won't be hiking through a river like at The Narrows. These hikes are simple, enjoyable hikes with some nice views. If you are looking for more of a thrill, I would encourage you to read my blog about Angel's Landing.

What to expect at Angel’s Landing - Zion’s most dangerous bucket list hike
My guide of hiking one of the most dangerous, yet thrilling hikes in the United States - Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park

Information About the Emerald Pools

There are three separate pools: Lower Emerald Pool, Middle Emerald Pool, and Upper Emerald Pool.

You can start the hike from either Zion Lodge or The Grotto. Check out this map for the various distances from each point.

A map of the hikes

The Hike

My friend and I hiked Angel's Landing in the morning and then grabbed the shuttle from the Grotto to Zion Lodge to hike to Lower Emerald Pool. Once at Zion Lodge, we crossed the road and began our hike.

The trail itself doesn't have many defining features. The hike starts by the Virgin River and then proceeds through an area with trees and other vegetation growing. Still, it is hard to beat any hike within Zion Canyon which has some stunning views. There are incredible rock formations that rise up along either side of the canyon.

Being such a short hike, we reached Lower Emerald Pool quickly. The rock walls around the formal formed a bowl-like shape with the lip extending out over our heads. Small misty waterfalls cascaded down from the top of this bowl into the pool at the base. It was really pretty. I imagine if it was wetter those waterfalls would have been really flowing.

Snow melt and rain contribute to the waterfalls that create conditions for plants to thrive in this rocky environment.
Photo by Dulcey Lima / Unsplash

From this point we could have continued on to the other pools, but we decided to turn back. We were quite tired from hiking Angel's Landing that morning! What is nice about this point is that Zion Lodge has areas to grab some food and drinks to replenish at after a long morning of hiking. Unfortunately for us, they weren't serving beer that early!


These pools offer a great opportunity for children and inexperienced hikers to enjoy a hike in Zion. I am a fairly experienced hiker who had just come from Angel's Landing, and I still enjoyed it! When I go back to Zion I plan to hike to the other pools as well.

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Until next time!