Which Emerald Pool Is Best At Zion National Park?

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A visit to Utah’s Zion National Park is not up for debate for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Zion National Park is unquestionably one of the most popular National Parks in the United States, and for a good reason! Of the many hiking opportunities, the three Emerald Pools attract a lot of attention throughout the year. However, which Emerald Pool is the best?

The upper Emerald Pool is arguably the best out of the three Emerald Pools in Zion National Park. The hike to the Upper Emerald Pool allows hikers to see all three pools, and it rewards hikers with breathtaking views. The Lower Emerald Pool is also beautifully scenic and the least strenuous.

Although spontaneity can be fun, some planning and adequate research into hiking trails can help guarantee that you have the best possible hiking experience. In the case of Zion National Park, the hiking and sightseeing opportunities are seemingly endless. The Emerald Pools are a must-visit, so let’s discover which of the three is best to help you plan your hiking adventure.

Which Emerald Pool Is Best At Zion National Park?

The Zion National Park is arguably one of the most special National Parks in The United States. Utah’s Zion National Park typically evokes thoughts of sandstone and mountains; however, the Park is far more diverse than many people realize.

Sure, sandstone and mountains are a common sight in Zion National Park; however, visitors can expect to see lush greenery, waterfalls, and stunning Emerald Pools. The overall beauty of Zion National Park needs to be seen to be believed, so if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, then you are undoubtedly in for a treat.

Thanks to its sheer size, Zion National Park has a seemingly endless list of hiking and sightseeing possibilities that cater to hikers of all experience levels. The Emerald Pools, for example, is undoubtedly one of Zion National Park’s most frequently visited sites. This is a good thing to know upfront because you are guaranteed to be sharing the view with other outdoor enthusiasts.

The Emerald Pools trail connects three stunning pools offering hikers some of the most breathtaking views and sightseeing opportunities in the Park. However, a common question amongst those who have never visited the pools is which one is the best? To help answer this question, let’s discover the details of each Emerald Pool in Zion National Park.

Lower Emerald Pool

After a mere 0,6 miles from the trailhead position, visitors will encounter the first of the Emerald Pools, known as the Lower Emerald Pool. The trail leading to Zion’s Lower Emerald Pool is well maintained and paved, predominantly flat, and by far the easiest of the Emerald Pools to reach.

Thanks to its accessibility and overall ease to reach, the Lower Emerald Pool trail is the only one of the three that is wheelchair and stroller friendly, making it a perfect trek for the family.

Upon arrival at the Lower Emerald Pool, you will be greeted by what looks like a beautiful amphitheater. The water itself is not quite “emerald” anymore. The Pool got its name from the way the algae formations gave the water an emerald-green color. However, most of that has faded away. The views, however, are still magnificent.

Feeding into the Lower Emerald Pool is a roughly 50-foot waterfall. You will likely only see a trickle of water during the summer months. However, when rainstorms occur, the waterfall develops much more of a roar.

Middle Emerald Pool

Following the path underneath the waterfalls of the Lower Emerald Pool will lead you to the Middle Emerald Pool. The trail to the Middle Emerald Pool from the Lower Middle Emerald Pool is roughly only a quarter of a mile. So, if you have the time and the physical capability, it would be well worth your time to continue on to the Middle Emerald Pool.

The Middle Emerald Pool is what feeds the waterfall that descends into the Lower Emerald Pool. Upon reaching the Middle Emerald Pool, you will be greeted by tranquil waters and breathtaking canyon views. This spot is truly magnificent!

One cautionary note, make sure not to walk too close to the cliff’s edge, as it can get very slippery there.

Upper Emerald Pool

The trail to the Upper Emerald Pool is undoubtedly the most strenuous of the three, though not too strenuous that only highly experienced hikers could handle it. The Upper Emerald Pool is only a half-mile journey from the Middle Emerald Pool. So, once again, if you have the time and the physical capabilities, make sure not to pass by the Upper Emerald Pool!

The trail is somewhat sandy and difficult to trek through at times; however, the reward of reaching the Upper Emerald Pool is undoubtedly one of the best in Zion National Park.

A nearly 400-foot waterfall cascades into the exquisite Upper Emerald Pool. Additionally, this epic view is paired with massive cliffs and some boulders to provide some shade while resting.

The Upper Emerald Pool is arguably the most common spot for people to take a break from their hike, have a picnic, and soak in the breathtaking views.

The Best Emerald Pool In Zion National Park

So, out of all of these magnificent Emerald Pools, which one is considered to be the best? Well, the answer ultimately depends on the kind of hike you’re looking to embark on.

Based on the overall scenery and awe-inspiring beauty, we would say that the Upper Emerald Pool is the clear winner and undoubtedly the best Emerald Pool in Zion National Park. Hiking to the Upper Emerald Pool automatically means seeing all three Emerald Pools, so it undoubtedly gives hikers and sightseers a much richer experience.

However, for a family sightseeing hike, we would say that the Lower Emerald Pool is the best in Zion National Park. The Lower Emerald Pool is easy to reach and has no shortage of breathtaking views and beautiful scenery. Do not worry about feeling like you are missing out by only being able to visit the Lower Emerald Pool – it is stunning!


All in all, while the Upper Emerald Pool could be considered the best Emerald Pool in Zion National Park, each of the three Emerald Pools has something unique to offer. No matter which Emerald Pool you are able to visit, there is no way that you will come away feeling disappointed. You can find more about hiking in Utah here.