Lower Emerald Pool Trail – 1.4mi / 2.3km
This short, level trail takes you from the hot and dry to the cool and wet of the Lower Emerald Pool. This little pool that is fed by a small waterfall supports a variety of aquatic plants and animals that stand in stark contrast to the surrounding desert.
Start at the Zion Lodge and cross over the Virgin River on a footbridge. Follow the trail to the right in the luscious shade of the trees until you come to the pool within the alcove. An overhang creates a distinct feature that provides shade and hanging plant life. Water pours over the lip of the overhang ranging from a trickle to a torrent depending upon the season and current weather. Return on the same trail back to the Zion Lodge. (See Emerald Pools Loop to turn this hike into a loop.)
Note that all of the Emerald Pools and the creek that connects them are closed to swimming, wading, or bathing. Also, any sort of climbing up or down in the creeks or waterfalls that feed or connect these pools is prohibited.
Trailhead: Take the National Park Service’s free shuttle to the Zion Lodge stop in the main Zion Canyon or drive the Zion Canyon Road if the shuttles aren’t running and the road is open to private vehicles.
Elevation Gain: 100ft / 30m – Elevation Loss: 100ft / 30m