Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Emerald Pools

Tuesday June 14, 2011
Zion National Park
Watchman Campground Site B-3

Weather predictions are for HOT again today
so we hot footed it out in the morning to
hike the Emerald Pools Trails.
We walked from the campground over to
the Visitors Center and boarded the bus
to go up canyon to the Zion Lodge where the
trailhead is.

When we got off the bus, David saw this great
cottonwood tree there on display all by itself
in a rare field of grass.  Up here they probably think
mowing the lawn is a fun activity since they have
so little and do it so seldom.  :-)


Due to a rock slide, the middle Emerald Pools Trail
was unfortunately closed so we were limited to the
Lower and Upper Trails.
We decided we would do the Lower Trail, go on
to the upper trail, take the Kayenta trail back
to end up at the Grottos which is next bus stop up from
Zion Lodge where we started. 
Maybe you can see from this.
You Are Here is where we started.
We took green, to red, to black.
Blue was closed.  Boo Hoo.

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As you can also see, the trail first crosses the Virgin River
which I love!!  WATER!   Whoopee!!


Year round seeps and springs continually
recharge the pools.  Perennial waters are
rare in a desert environment.
The lower Emerald Pool trail was 1.1 miles long.
First, from a distance we saw this.
The black streaks are seeps coming from water
which has filtered through the top layers of
sandstone, which acts like a sponge, down to
the less porous rock where it is forced out.
Look closely for what looks like a tiny waterfall
coming down from the 2nd horizontal ledge.


Here is a closer view.


We walked toward the waterfall.
The Emerald pool is on my right.


the closer we got, the muddier it got

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because we were walking right under the fall.
Too cool in every sense of the word.

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A little girl walking under the falls just after I was
noticed this rainbow on one of the rocks beneath
the falls.  Perhaps it was more at her “level” or
perhaps children are often more observant.

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I could have stayed there all day.  But we
had to hike on to the upper pool.
All along the walls of these pools were
”hanging gardens”  of ferns and flowering
plants including the wild columbine.

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The trail to the upper falls was unique.

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More seeping rocks, pools and Columbine growing in rocks.

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The upper pool was very hard to photograph.
The pool was larger than it looks here


and behind it was a sheer rock face going straight
up for about 300  feet.  Not sure what the rope was for
or how it got there.

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We knew we must be getting near to the
upper falls when we heard the sounds of
a whole lot of kids.  We assumed it
was a school group.  And we were right but
they were from Harlem which we would never
have expected.  Now that's  a LONG way to come.

They were noisy but well behaved
and left not too long after we arrived.  You can see
the pool and the base of the huge rock face behind them.


We stayed in the cool shade of the trees at Upper Emerald Pool
and had a snack while chatting with a family who’d
just arrived in Zion from Portland Oregon.

One of the teenagers pointed out a rock on the
left hand side of the pool and told us to check
out the frog sunning there.  Notice the base of
the rock face.

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So we did.  Can you see him?
He’s white.  I think this is no zoom.
He was about the size of my thumb.


And here he is with the benefit of David’s zoom.


Here are some samples of the path out.
Mostly rocks and sand at first

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We came upon these rocks which David thought
looked like a fish or a frog with its mouth open.
They do don’t they.
H e said that if he was a kid he’d have crawled up inside
for a picture that would looked like the fish was eating him.
I encouraged him to do it so I could take that
picture but he said it was getting too hot. 


All along the path most of the day there had
been wild flowers in bloom and the trail
out was no exception.

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We were now back where we could see the river again
and our trail running beside it on the right.


And soon we were on the trail beside it.

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And headed for the bridge over the river
and to the bus stop at The Grottos.
This picture gives persepective on the bridge.


But this one shows you what it looks like.


When we returned, we  had lunch and kicked back
for the heat of the day.  100 degrees again.
Once it cooled off we had donner and sat out on the patio
under the awning with our feet up.
Or at least mine.  :-)

Evening view from the yard (1)A

I know, it’s a rough life!!


  1. I thought the fish mouth picture looked sort of like an oyster shell. One of you should have crawled in it...you could have been a pearl :)

    Once again, gorgeous pictures.

  2. love the photos and we love Zion...we're headed there in a few weeks we think!

  3. What are great trip you are taking! Zion is awesome and one of favorite national parks. Your pics make me want to visit again...maybe when we leave Yellowstone in September.

  4. We did that same hike on Friday! Gorgeous!! (Who knows when our pictures will make it to our blog??)

  5. I've never seen a white frog! Truly gorgeous photos!

  6. Once again, thanks for putting a smile on my face! Safe travels.


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