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August 27, 2005
From journal Exploring Zion National Park
San Diego, California
June 23, 2003
When we started, we made the wise decision (as it turned out) to take the Middle Emerald Pools trail on our way to the Upper Emerald Pool. It is somewhat steep at first, but in the long run, it is a more gradual climb than the Lower Emerald Pool trail. Either way will eventually lead you to the Upper Emerald Pool.
The Middle Emerald Pools are small enough you might miss them, but you know you are there when you have to "ford" the stream. Shortly past the crossing, you head up to the Upper Emerald Pool, which is the hardest part of the hike. It does get steep, but just stop every now and then to catch your breath. And since you left in the afternoon, it will be shaded.
The Upper Emerald Pool is the largest of the pools. It is extremely calm, and when we were there you could hear water coming out of the canyon wall as it flowed into the pool. There were little tadpoles and frogs in the water, and the vegetation was very lush. You can quickly forget you are in a "desert" canyon. It was also extremely quiet as the pool is literally at the base of 1000-foot cliffs. I think I could have spent a few hours here just sitting and thinking. The water kept the air temperature cool, and was a welcome change to the warmer air on the way up. If you have to choose a pool to see, this is the one to see.
After we spent some time just soaking in the scene, we headed down to the Lower Emerald Pool. Once you get back to main trail, (which is the Middle Pool trail), don't head back the way you came, keep going the other direction. You will quickly drop down to the Lower Emerald Pool. When we were there, there was a waterfall from the Middle Pools down into the Lower Pool (about a 75 foot drop). The trail goes behind the falls, and you will get sprinkled on walking behind it. Not a bad thing when it is 90 plus degrees.
Spend a few moments here, enjoying the sound of the water. The trail from here on out is relatively flat and is technically handicap accessible. Stay on it for a quarter mile and you will be back at the footbridge and Zion Lodge.
From journal Zion Discovered
by Pirate43 guide
December 9, 2000
From journal Dominica