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Tucked away at the base of towering red walls in Zion Canyon in Zion National Park are three lush pools called the Emerald Pools. The three pools are connected by a stream that can vary from a slight trickle to a torrent depending upon rain. The Lower Emerald Pool is a great, level, family friendly, out-and-back hike from the Zion Lodge and is 1.5 miles long round trip while the entire Emerald Pools Loop visits all three pools and is just under three miles.
If you decide to do the loop, start at the Grotto and cross the Virgin River. Take a left on the Kayenta Trail up to the Middle Emerald Pool. This pool is the least impressive of the three, but can contain singing frogs during certain times of the year. From there, continue up closer to the canyon walls and find the Upper Emerald Pool tucked right beneath them. This quaint pool is dwarfed by towering walls. This pool, along with the other three are all surrounded by lush vegetation and are a wonderful respite from the hot summer days.
To get to the Lower Emerald Pool, head back towards the Middle Emerald Pool and make a right to drop down under the alcove that contains the pool. This pool is fed from a waterfall from the pools above. A hanging garden in the alcove is home to various flowering plants and lively birds and amphibians.
Take the easy trail out to Zion Lodge over the Virgin River and hop on the shuttle or hike the Grotto Trail to complete the loop.
NOTE: It is illegal to get into any of the Emerald Pools or the connecting streams.