Upper Emerald Pools Trail

  • Shuttle Stop 5, [Zion Lodge]
  • Estimated Roundtrip Time: 0.5 hours
  • Distance: 1.0 miles/1.6 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 200 feet/61 meters

About the Upper Emerald Pools Trail

emerald pools trail shanon_lea_dean
Emerald Pools Trail, by shanon_lea_dean on Instagram.

We’re going to call this a two mile one way hike or a one mile round trip, depending on where you pick up the trail. The true trail begins back at the Court of the Patriarchs where the previous hike took us to the southwest to Sand bench Loop, this time we’ll take the northeast fork and begin the Emerald Pools trail. Take the tram to the Court bus stop, cross the road and continue down the service road and across the Virgin River to begin the trek to the Emerald Pools.

emerald pools trail ganaaramerika.nl
Emerald Pools Trail, by ganaaramerika.nl on Instagram.

Cutting northeast at the Sand Bench split, you’ll bend north following the river on your right and the Patriarch peaks of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on your left. This portion of the trail is quiet and beautifully peaceful. You’ll pick up some traffic at the halfway point when we approach the Zion Lodge. Because there is no parking at the trailhead back at the Patriarchs, many hikers opt to park at the lodge and hike in and out from there. This is about the halfway mark and a good spot to fill up your water and take advantage of the available restroom where the bridge crosses back over the river.

emerald pools trail breanna___lynn
Emerald Pools Trail, by breanna___lynn on Instagram.

From here the trail splits in two with little difference between the tracks. They shadow each other turning up into Heaps Canyon meeting back together at the Lower Emerald Pool. Approaching from the south, the left fork is slightly longer and less populated simply due to being a backtrack from the lodge entrance. This portion of the trail was closed for nearly a year due to damage from a summer storm in 2018 but recently opened back up to hikers.

emerald pools trail django102
Emerald Pools Trail, by django102 on Instagram.

The last leg of the Upper Emerald Pool Trail is a slight quarter mile incline of nearly 200 feet. At the pool you will be able to enjoy the shaded of the cliffs, the large boulder picnic area and the trickle of the waterfall spray. Don’t make the trek expecting to see majestic, thunderous waterfalls. The feed to the Emerald Pools is a small, gentle flow and in summer months can slow to a tiny trickle.

emerald pools trail rarebirdsrv
Emerald Pools Trail, by rarebirdsrv on Instagram.