Upper Emerald Pool Falls, Utah

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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?

Weeping Rock Falls, Utah

Weeping Rock Falls in May 2015Evee

With Weeping Rock Falls, there could be a discussion about whether to include this as a waterfall, but I’ve decided it’s more waterfall than some other waterfalls I’ve seen. The Weeping Rock is this landmark in Zion National Park that must have water emerging from it year-round, causing it to seem like it weeps. It’s an interesting stop along the shuttle path.

The falls aren’t particularly tall or wide or voluminous. There is enough water, though, that you can hear a stream below. It also leads to some beautifully lush green plants growing on the rock wall, adding even more color to the landscape. Now, if Weeping Rock Falls were all by its lonesome self, I wouldn’t even remotely stop to visit. But because it is a very easy stop along the scenic road, and because you can also get some spectacular view of the canyon from here, I would definitely recommend stopping, even if the falls themselves don’t seem wildly exciting.

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 the Weeping Rock. If you are headed further into the park, you want to stay on the east side of the road.
  5. There is a set of trails that start from that stop.  Shortly after starting, you will want to take the left fork that leads to the Weeping Rock.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Distance of Hike: 0.2 miles one-way
Height: 20′

Where in the World is Weeping Rock 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?

Falling Waters Falls, Florida

The sinkhole created by Falling Water Falls

The sinkhole created by Falling Water Falls

I made a special trip just to try and see Falling Waters Falls, and I succeeded…well, mostly. With the highest point in Florida being only 345′ above sea level, there just aren’t many chances for waterfalls in the state. I’ve found two before (including the surprisingly impressive Falling Creek Falls). I visited Falling Creek Falls, which is not nearby Falling Waters Falls, last December, and there was just enough water flowing to make it worthwhile. My visit today to Falling Waters Falls, though, was a little bit more disappointing, only because there wasn’t much water flowing over the falls.

While Falling Creek Falls is maybe 5′ or so tall, Falling Waters Falls is 73′ tall. Even without much water flowing, I was truly intrigued by the sinkhole that had formed because of the flowing water. It is a pretty big drop! The sinkhole may have been more interesting than the falls itself, at least today.

So it would definitely be worth visiting the falls if you live in the area. What about if you don’t live in the area? Well, if you’re enjoying the beaches that are not terribly far away, it should be. But visit when there’s been some rain. It doesn’t help there really aren’t any other falls nearby, either. There’s a waterfall known as Hidden Falls about 60 miles away in Haleburg, Alabama, but when I drove there, there was fencing blocking any obvious path. Even with the lack of waterfalls, I still enjoyed the sunshine and warmth, considering it’s about 40 degrees colder in Michigan right now.

Directions:

  1. From I-10, take the exit for Chipley.  There will likely be a sign for Falling Waters State Park.
  2. Head south on FL-77 for a mile or so to State Park Road (Country Road 77A).  Turn left onto State Park Road.
  3. Follow this road to the entrance.  I only paid $4 for entry, and then drive to the parking area.  The hike to the falls is very short.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy, though not wheelchair accessible)
Height: 73′
Length of Hike: 0.3 mi round-trip

The upper portion of Falling Water Falls (in December 2012)

The upper portion of Falling Water Falls (in December 2012)

Where in the World is Falling Water Falls?

Hancock Brook Falls, Vermont

Honestly, I have very little recollection of actually visiting Hancock Brook Falls. I do distinctly remember that I visited the falls later in the evening when the the sun was near setting. There was very little light around the falls, so I was lucky to even get a somewhat good picture.

Oh wait, it’s suddenly coming back to me as I jog my memory. This is where I got my rental car stuck while trying to turn around! The dirt road follows Hancock Brook, and you’ll slowly climb uphill. Parking wasn’t difficult, and getting down to the falls isn’t difficult, though they’re rather disappointing. As I was trying to turn around, the Mustang I was driving (which is not the right car for me, but I had no choice) got stuck in a groove after trying to back up. It took a lot of effort, but I finally was able to get out, though I imagined myself walking down Hancock Brook Rd. to get help! The road’s not bad, but I’d definitely not advise a Mustang :).

Directions:

  1. I think I may have come a different way, but you can get here from VT-12 out of Burlington. Head north on VT-12. VT-12 is also known as Elmore Rd.
  2. You’re going to turn left onto Hancock Brook Rd.
  3. You’ll go about 0.3 miles to the “parking” area, which is not so much parking, so it might be better to just stop on the road.
  4. From there, head down to the Hancock Brook, where you’ll find the falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 8′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Hancock Brook Falls in September 2010

Where in the World is Hancock Brook Falls?