Southern Utah can be dry, but it also has waterfalls. If you visit Zion National Park, you’ll find a number of waterfalls. Many of them are ephemeral and will only be visible after intense rains, but there are a few that will last for a longer period of time.
The trail that leads to the Emerald Pools hits two (or three?) different waterfalls. The first waterfall, the Lower Falls, is one waterfall, and yet two. The stream (or possibly two separate streams?) splits in two directions, and so there are two separate falls about 100′ apart from each other.
While it had rained the day before I arrived at Zion and was still very cloudy in the park on my first day there, the two portions weren’t flowing intensely. You can still see the falls in the pictures, but I have seen other photos with much more water. After a number of days without any rain, you will likely see everything reduced to a trickle.
The trail to the Lower Falls is relatively straight-forward. If you decide to visit the Upper Pool/Falls, it is a steeper hike, but I didn’t find it to be particularly difficult. Still, it’s better to be prepared with water and food before setting out and finding out that you’re really thirsty and hungry as you approach the Upper Falls!
1) This is a unique one, as you really don’t have to do much except arrive in the city of Springdale, unless you are really determined to drive into the park. Springdale is the city directly outside of Zion National Park, and there is shuttle service to the park. (I didn’t realize how CLOSE Springdale is…somebody suggested I stay there, and I thought I was going to be far away. I was very wrong. You can see many features of the park from the city.)
2) The Springdale shuttle system will take you to the pedestrian entrance to the park (from March to October). From there, you pay the entrance fee to enter the park. It’s $12 per person or $25 per vehicle. Pay the vehicle price if you plan on driving through the park, as I did when I wanted to head to Bryce Canyon NP.)
3) Hop on the Zion shuttles (which are on the opposite side of the visitor’s center from the Springdale shuttle). I honestly enjoyed not having to drive the narrow roads!
4) Hop off at the stop for Zion Lodge. The automated announcements on the bus will make it very clear this is where to exit for the Emerald Pools.
5) Follow the signs toward the trail head, which is across the road from the lodge. From there, it’s a relatively simple hike to the Lower Emerald Pool Falls.
Accessibility: 8/10 (they are handicap accessible, though you will need some muscle if you’re going to take a wheelchair)
Distance of Hike: 0.6 miles one-way
Where in the World is Lower Emerald Pool Falls?: map