Well it was spring break last week, and after spending time at home in Salt Lake, I went to Zion National Park and hit up a sweet hike. I had a few friends come up from California giving me a good reason to go also. The hike is called Emerald Pools, and a must stop of Zions. The hike is moderately difficult and has three sections too it, lower, middle and upper pools. To get to the top its 1.2 miles, so not very long. The reason why its called emerald pools is due to the fact that its a series of waterfalls that cascade the thousand foot cliff sides of Zions.
The hike begins at the Zions Lodge, which is only a few minutes up the canyon. If you go during the summer its only accessible on bike or via the shuttle system that runs in the park at that time, but during the winter you can drive the entire park. We arrived at the lodge and set out on our quest. One of the challenges one will face when going during the winter is that they close down certain part of the hike due to ice. So take that into consideration when hiking Zions during winter and early spring.
The trail is easy going to the lower emerald pool. It’s paved all the way to the lower falls making it a nice and simple walk. If you’re restricted to a wheel chair you can do this part of the trail. Well we arrived at the lower falls and were greeted by a few trickling water falls. From past experiences visiting this place in the summer its usually quite a series of waterfalls and very breathtaking, since its winter though we only got a drizzle. Don’t under estimate it though, there is plenty to get you very wet. At this point the only way forward is to go under the waterfalls.
We spent a few minutes here taking pictures and having fun when the wind changed direction and blew the waterfall right on top of us. For about 3o seconds it was like being in the middle of a rain storm. I was crouching over when this occurred and was holding my camera, so all I could do was sit there and try to hide my camera under me so it would not get wet. It was fun though! After laughing about that we decided to press on to the middle and upper pools.
From this point on the trail gets more difficult. The trail becomes rockier and a lot more steep. It only takes a few minutes to arrive at the middle pools. During the winter it really isn’t much. just a big slab of rock with a few little streams running off of it. When I go back in the summer and will talk about this more, but the really cool part of the trail is the upper pool.
The upper pool is up a steep trail that ends at the base of a couple hundred foot water fall. By time you get to the base it turns into rock hopping over huge boulders that have fallen over the centuries. The water fall appears to just come out of the rocks way above your head. During the winter the base freezes and everything is covered with ice. It’s way cool. We recently went through some warmer days so a lot of the ice had melted just leaving a big snow patch at the bottom.
We crawled around on the cold wet rocks and threw snow balls at each other topping off a good hike through the red rocks of southern Utah. After getting rained on again by the waterfall and nearly loosing a cell phone, it was time to head home.