The Upper Emerald Pool Trail in Zion National Park has a lot to offer for being one of the shorter hikes in the park! This trail starts at the Virgin River bottom with views up and down Zion Main Canyon, then turns and continues up Heaps Canyon and affords views of hidden water falls and sheer Navajo Sandstone Cliffs. These water falls are all runoff fed, so depending on the amount of rain/snow fall, the waterfalls can be a gushing flow, slow and steady, or nothing but a drip. That said, there is typically enough flow during the year that each of the three pools along this trail has some water in it. In just a few hundred feet of elevation gain, the vegetation changes from cottonwoods to pines, and spotting local wildlife is common along this trail. Many travelers take a picnic with them to eat at the top of the trail as they enjoy the view of the Upper Pool and waterfall. This trail is a must on your next trip to Zion!
The Middle Emerald Pool Trail takes you to the second pool in this trail system. As you pass along the Lower Emerald Pool section, you will walk under a misty waterfall that is actually fed by the Middle Emerald Pool. The Lower Pool is wheelchair and stroller accessible, but as you head up to the Middle Pool, the trail changes and is only accessible by hikers. The trail takes you up through some breaks between huge sheer sandstone boulders, and into more tree coverage. The Middle Pool is actually split into two sections and is a fun place for children to play, or just cool your feet off. Depending on the time of year, you will probably be visited by local wildlife, and might even be greeted by tadpoles swimming in the pool!
There are multiple petroglyph sites in Zion National Park, and these ones just happen to be within a few steps from the road! The beginning of the trail has a couple of different possible routes to follow, so take the one that suits your skill level. Your goal should be to head down to the sandy wash at the bottom of the hill. From there you will head up the wash, under the culvert under the road and into the canyon ahead. After walking in the wash for a few minutes, follow the trail to the left and check out the petroglyph sites (wooden fences sit in front of the sites to protect them). Please be respectful of these sites and help make them available for future generations! Remember that touching the rocks causes accelerated deterioration, so please do not touch. Enjoy the cool weather in the canyon and then head back to your vehicle!
The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is part of a trail system in Zion National Park that leads to three beautiful pools and, at the right times of the year, two magnificent water falls. This trail begins by the Zion Lodge and crosses over the Virgin River on one of the many walking bridges that Zion is known for. The trail meanders along the river and then turns to the west and heads up Heaps Canyon. This hike features many clear views up the main canyon toward Angels Landing, and sheer Navajo Sandstone cliffs that reach toward the sky. The Lower Emerald Pool trail is wheelchair and stroller accessible, and is a great trip for adventurers of all ages. The trail leads to a waterfall that falls over an alcove into a couple of clear pools. The pools are not open to bathing, but are fun to look at, and hikers can get a refreshing little shower from the mist of the waterfalls before heading back!
The Sandstone Quarry Trail is a fun, short, family friendly trail that passes along next to the Red Hill Golf Coarse in downtown St George. This trail is suitable for small children (with help in a couple of places), and leads to a cool little historic site where a monument has been erected by the Sons of the Utah Pioneers. The Sandstone Quarry was where they quarried rock for many of the historic buildings in town, including the St George LDS Temple and Tabernacle, the Historic Courthouse (Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum), the Washington Cotton Mill and many other buildings and homes. This hike provides beautiful desert views along side luscious golf course greenery.
The Riverside Walk (Gateway to the Narrows) is a nice little paved trail in Zion National Park that starts at the Temple of Sinawava and takes you along the river bank to the mouth of the canyon that takes you into the Narrows hike. This hike is a perfect one for families with kids that want to explore the canyon, and still be a safe distance from the river. If you want to get to the river, you can do that too! It is even stroller and wheelchair friendly. Don’t miss the little pool and the little hanging gardens along the way!
Weeping Rock is a delightful hike for adventurers of all ages! The trail can be a bit steep in some areas, but it is a short climb to an exciting overhang that “weeps” even in the dry Southern Utah summers! You don’t want to miss this hike, and your kids will be fascinated by this crying rock face, and hanging ferns that grow from the rock wall. Early, wet springs will afford you a chance at seeing the waterfall running to a nice clear pool below Weeping Rock. The trail is paved the entire way and is stroller accessible. Although short, this will be one of the more memorable trips for your family!
Lava Flow Overlook Trail – also known as Lava Tubes – is a family friendly trail that takes you down past three lava tube/cave entrances in the heart of Snow Canyon State Park. The original trail has been recently modified and begins from the newly installed parking lot. The trail meanders through a lava field that is beautifully decorated with typical low land plants. The whole park is open to your view as you travel along this well traveled single track. There are signs along the trail with little explanations about the lava tubes and the plants and animals. This trail is not only fun, but educational as well! The lava tubes are an adventure to explore, so be sure to carry a flash light. Down past the last lava tube entrance, the overlook is a great reward for this trip!
Hidden Pinyon Trail in Snow Canyon State Park is a moderate trail that takes you into the heart of Snow Canyon and affords some of the best views in the park! It is a short hike and can be done fairly quickly. The Park has placed markers on the trail and provides a corresponding brochure to point out different flora and geological information along the route. This is a fun trail that is suitable for most hikers. There are a couple of steep climbs and a drop off for a small section.
Petrified Dunes in Snow Canyon State Park is right in the heart of the park. These incredible rolling mounds of petrified Navajo Sandstone are fun for hikers of all ages. You need not worry about staying on the trail, because there is plenty of exploring to do! Make sure you bring your camera, as this hike provides some of the most incredible views in the park, and is one of the most photographed places in the area! Now go and explore!
The Red Reef Trail is known by some as the Red Cliffs Hike, as most people travel the lower portion of the hike from the Red Cliffs Recreation Area Campground up to the pools and then circle back. (The full Red Reef Trail is actually part of The Cottonwood Canyon Wilderness trail system and can be a full 5.9 mile back country experience for someone seeking a more challenging adventure. This report only covers the lower segment of the trail.) This trail provides spectacular views at any time of the year because of the variety of plants and rock formations. If you are looking for a water hike, this trail is best traveled in early to late spring, or after a series of good rain storms in the area.
Jenny’s Canyon is a nice short walk up into a slot canyon and an overlook. This is a great hike for families and small children. There is also climbing available up the slot canyon walls. The trail winds down a path and crosses a dry wash that may be impassible in a rain storm. A few steps up to the left take you into the canyon. To the right is a nice overlook where you can see the Snow Canyon Sand Dunes across the way.
Yant Flat is one of Southern Utah’s little gems that it seems you have to be from out of town to know anything about! This hiking trail takes you across a quick mile of lower forest at the base of Pine Valley Mountain, and then spits you out onto some of the most incredibly colored sandstone formations that exist on this earth! There are two main areas of exploration and you can easily spend a couple of days hiking across the candy like swirls.
This is a great, short hiking trail for families of all ages! The first part of the trail is a little bit sandy, but doesn’t last too long. It changes to a solid trail that leads right down to the dinosaur tracks. As you bottom out on the trail you will see a slate rock surface in part of the stream bed to the left of the trail. In the hardened sedimentary rock you can find 17 well preserved dino tracks presumed to be from Grallator, Kayentapus, and Eubrontes dinosaurs, which paleontologists suggest were bipedal, meat-eating theropods during the Jurassic Period. Access to the trail head is over a dirt road that is passable by most vehicles.
Map to Trailhead. From St George, head north on I-15 for approximately 2 miles and take exit 10 to Washington City. Turn left onto Green Springs Drive and take an immediate right onto Buena Vista Boulevard and continue for about 1.2 miles. Turn left onto Main Street and follow for .5 miles. Turn right at the “Y” in the road and follow it for approximately .25 miles. Turn left at the “Y” and head up the hill toward the water tank. Continue past the water tank until you see the trailhead for Dino Cliffs Trail on the right. Park on the left and get on the trail!
Why hike this trail?
Toquerville Falls is an oasis in the desert that is best found by truck, SUV, or ATV. The road is rough, but well worth the trip. The views are spectacular on the drive, and the waterfalls are great to look at and play in. The area is clean and great for families. This is not much of a hike, but by request and because of the popularity of the location, I decided to put up an official post about it. You won’t be sorry you made the trip!