Emerald Pools, Zion National Park

Not all hikes were created the same – at least not in Zion National Park. While Zion’s most famous hike – Angel’s Landing – is a signature for the park and a staple for those traveling far to get the most out of their trip, Angel’s Landing might not be for everyone coming to this desert paradise. For small children, the elderly, pregnant women, those with a fear of heights, or even just those with poor balance, Angel’s Landing isn’t recommended. Although the hike is traversed by hundreds of thousands every year, and only a few deaths have occurred in the last ten years, it’s better to stay on the safe side when safety is in question.

Visitors can still experience the beauty of Zion without the danger or strenuous conditions. A popular hike for families and groups is Zion’s Emerald Pools hike – a trail leading to three different pools of water tucked against the colorful mountains of the park. This mild hike is perfect in the summer when it’s hot out, but with warmer temperatures, expect larger crowds on this hike. Often described as an oasis in the desert, this trail is lush and shady, at the base of towering white and red sandstone mountains.

Emerald Pools, Lower Pool

Lower Pools of the Hike

The entirety of the hike is 3 miles round trip, but since the pools are spread out, you can choose how far you go before turning around. The first pool is under a half mile from the start of the hike, which starts at the Zion Lodge and continues along the Virgin River. The Lower Pools is the easiest to get to, with the Middle Pools isn’t far from the Lower Pools, but is slightly harder to get to. The Upper Pools is the most difficult to get to (but still an easy, mild hike compared to others in the park). The last ¼ mile stretch is not shaded and usually hot, but doesn’t last long and is worth the effort once you get to the final pool. Waterfalls dot the area, and this is the perfect spot for you to take a break or eat lunch at a scenic location before heading back down. The hike is paved the entire way, and depending on your pace, takes anywhere between 2-4 miles round trip.

Here are some tips for if you plan to do Emerald Pools:

-Morning is the best time for this trip

-Spring and fall, when the trail is less busy, is a great time of year to go. The water can be murky during the summer.

-Bring sun screen, plenty of water, and a lunch for a picnic on the trail.

-The Lower Pools is accessible by stroller and wheelchair

-The round trip distance to the Lower Pools is 1.2 miles, 2 miles to the Middle, and 3 miles to the Upper.

For more info on the Emerald Pools or Zion National Park, visit nps.gov.

Southern Utah Hikes to do Before Summer Ends

As summer winds to an end, locals get out the last of their barbecues and camping trips while the weather is still warm and the leaves are still on the trees. Kids are soon going to be back in school again, so for those of you craving last minute adventures before the fall sets in, Southern Utah has a few of the best hikes to travel during the end of summer.

Kanarraville Falls is a hidden gem that is quickly becoming more well known. With the beauty of Zion without the crowds, this hike takes you through the slot canyons showcasing bright reds, pinks, and oranges of the sandstone that makes Southern Utah famous. This is a wet hike, and you will be trekking through water to go through the canyon. Lush greenery lines the paths of this beautifully enclosed trail. While the water is a great escape to cool off during the summer, it’s far too cold to hike through during other times of the year. It is not recommended to hikers from late fall to late spring because of water temperatures. The only fee to get in is a $10 parking fee.

Kanarraville Falls Hike

The Zion Narrows, similar to Kanarraville Falls, is often featured on postcards and famous pictures of the park. This hike is also a water hike, through the Zion River. While some parts can be fairly deep, if following the trail, the water is deepest at knee-height. Towering slot canyon walls frame the path, giving it a sense of seclusion as you trek between the canyon walls. If you’re visiting Zion anytime between June and August, this a must during the middle of the day to cool off. The water is refreshingly cool, which means that the water is extremely cold during other parts of the year, making this a hike to do exclusively during the summer months. You can make this hike as long as you’d like, and a wilderness permit is not required for this hike. For more info, click here.

Near Escalante, Calf Creek Falls is a beautiful place to visit during warmer months of the year. Lower Calf Creek Falls is a 5.7 mile moderate hiking trail. The hike generally lasts about 3-4 hours, and although parts of it can be hot and strenuous, the falls at the end of the hike, as well as the creek throughout the hike, has cool, refreshing waters during the summer. The end of the trail takes you to a 130 ft. waterfall and a natural pool, so it’s common to bring swimming suits and swimming gear to cool off at the end of the hike before you turn back. For more info on this hike, click here.