Upper Emerald Pools

Trail Duration

  • 3.2 Miles
  • 5.1 Kilometers
  • 3 Hours Round Trip



Elevation Gain:

200 Feet/61 Meters

Photography by:

Enlighten Photography Tours

Wheelchair Accessible


Permit Needed


Pets Allowed


Directions To Trailhead

By Shuttle

From the Springdale & Zion Canyon Visitor Center, continue another 1.4 miles on SR-9 to the south entrance of Zion National Park. Once inside the park, make your first right turn and travel roughly another 0.3 miles towards The National Park Visitor Center. Make your first right turn for regular parking or make your first left turn for RV and trailer parking. Walk over to the Zion National Park Shuttle stop in front of the Zion National Park Visitor Center (Stop 1).
Via Zion Lodge Start:
Ride the shuttle to the Zion Lodge (Stop 5). Exit the shuttle to your right and follow signs to The Emerald Pools Trailhead (which will eventually cross the road).
Via The Grotto Start:
Ride the shuttle to the Grotto (Stop 6). Exit the shuttle to your right following the sidewalk to the cross walk. Cross the bridge and follow the signs to The Kayenta trailhead on your left after the bridge

By Car in the Winter

From the Springdale & Zion Canyon Visitor Center, continue 1.4 miles on SR-9 to the south entrance of Zion National Park. Once inside the park, continue another 1.5 miles to the Zion Canyon Scenic Route (sign on right side: Zion Lodge, Scenic Drive) turn left. From there, travel another 2.7 miles up the Scenic Drive. There will be a small parking lot on the left, across from The Zion Lodge. If parking there is full, park at The Zion Lodge.
If you are wanting to add the Kayenta trail to your trip, continue another 0.8 miles up the road to the Grotto and park either on the left (a small parking lot) or right (another small parking lot)


If you start at the Zion Lodge you will pass right by the Lower Emerald Pools (first 0.6 miles) and Middle Emerald Pools (another 0.2 miles) on your way to the Upper Emerald Pools.
Or you can start from the Kayenta Trail starting at the Grotto Shuttle Stop (stop 6) to add another mile to your trip for a different less-traveled way to get there.
The Middle Emerald Pools Trail is now closed due to a 2010 rockslide and continuing instability but can still be seen on your way to the Upper Emerald Pools via either starting points.
The trail past the paved Lower Emerald pools trail is dirt, sand, more rugged and rock covered.
Waterfalls, beautiful alcoves, and natural pools can be seen all around.
Colossal cliffs surround the end of this trail on three sides in front of you creating a natural amphitheater.
Many majestic views of Zion Canyon can be seen from here to provide a very unique perspective.

Best Time to Hike

Year Round
Portions can be closed in winter due to falling ice via the Lower Emerald Pools starting point.
Spring and Fall provide the most waterfalls.
Summer can be very crowded.


Go early in the morning during the summer or later in the day as the trail can get very busy.
Make sure to stop at the Middle Emerald Pools.

Special or Recommended Gear

Good walking/hiking shoes
Hiking sticks or poles can be very useful.
Hat and sunblock if you are going in the summer months (even though this trail offers lots shady areas).


Make sure to watch your kids. On your way towards the Middle and Upper Pools you will encounter more drop-offs and steep cliffs.
Expect to get a little wet as water flows freely from the Middle Emerald Pools if traveling from the Lower Emerald Pools.
Water fill stations and restrooms located at both starting points.
Water fill stations do turn off during winter months (usually during end of November to February.

Nearby Trails

Sand Bench Trail, Upper Emerald Pools, Kayenta Trail

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