Upper Emerald Pool Falls, Utah

upper

Upper Emerald Pool Falls in May 2015

A bit over two years ago, I had the chance to visit Zion National Park, and it’s an amazingly beautiful national park. I’d highly recommend a visit. There are a number of waterfalls in the park, though none of them are particularly voluminous.

The Emerald Pools are more likely visited for the pools below the falls, but I was more interested in the falls themselves. The first waterfall you’ll come across is Lower Emerald Pool Falls. This one had some water flowing, and it had rained early in the day, so it was probably a good time to visit. The hike to the lower pools is about 0.6 miles one-way, and is fairly easy.

The hike to the upper falls is about 1.5 miles one-way, and is a bit steeper. I didn’t find it to be terribly difficult, but I would suggest bringing some water and food along so that you’re not worn out hiking there and back. As you can see from the picture, there wasn’t a significant amount of water flowing over the falls. It is a tall waterfall, though. I did find the colors of the rock around the falls to be really stunning. You can see a lot of minerals leaching out of the rock, which causes some of the black coloring.

Directions:

  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. It’s a more moderate hike to the upper falls.

Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate)
Height: ~100′
Distance of Hike: 1.5 miles one-way

Where in the World is Upper Emerald Pool Falls?

Lower Emerald Pool Falls, Utah

One of the Lower Emerald Pool Falls in May 2015

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!

Directions:

  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 (easy/moderate, they are handicap accessible, though you will need some muscle if you’re going to take a wheelchair)
Height: 100′
Distance of Hike: 0.6 miles one-way

The other Lower Emerald Pool Falls (to the left of the first falls)

Where in the World is Lower Emerald Pool Falls?