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 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!
Observation Point is an out of the way moderate-strenuous hike with views that will knock your socks off if you dare give it a try! It is slightly less strenuous than Angel’s Landing even though it is longer. The trail is in decent condition, but it is not as well maintained as some of the other park trails. It is a nice gradual climb up switch backs as you make your way up to the top. You pass through one slot canyon briefly at one point, and the rest of the trail is switchbacks up to the top. The trail at the top is a single track dirt path out to the point. This trail boasts some of the most spectacular views in the park. It ends with a vantage point to see all the way down and back up the canyon – definitely well worth the climb!
The South Fork of Taylor Creek Trail is a short, less traveled trail that ventures up into one of the “finger” canyons. It is covered in soft, green overgrowth that makes it nice and cool during the day. This is a scenic, easy trail that is great for Spring, Summer, and Fall, but may closed during the snow season. The trail is a single track through the woods that ends up in a nice clearing next to some walls that look like they could be great for an amateur rock climber. This hike is good for the whole family and is another great option for the hot Southern Utah weather!
The Middle Fork of Taylor Creek Trail is a scenic easy trail that is great for Spring, Summer, and Fall, but may closed during the snow season. The trail is a single track through the woods that features a couple of old ranchers’ cabins and a cool, shady alcove at the end of the hike. This hike is family friendly but could get a little long for kids that are not used to walking longer distances. Overall a great hike, and perfect for beating the summer heat!
If you are (or have been) among the almost 3 million yearly visitors to Zion National Park and have not seen Kolob Arch then you have truly missed one of the most incredible hikes and landmarks in the western hemisphere. Kolob Arch hides in the most northwestern part of Zion National Park in the Kolob Canyons District. Long debated as the world’s longest free-standing arch, Kolob Arch has certainly gained a reputation for being one of the most impressive arches! In 2006, The Natural Arch and Bridge Society re-measured the arch and found it to be 287.4 ft long – just 3 ft short of the record holding Landscape Arch in Arches National Park.