Friday, June 17, 2011

Zion National Park: Emerald Pools

One of things on our "to do" list is to hike some of the trails we missed on our first visit. The Middle and Upper Emerald Pools Trails are two that we were eager to visit, so we decided to knock those out today. Things are really heating up here in Zion, so we headed to the park early. Not only would beat the heat, we were guaranteed our choice of parking spots at the Visitor's Center.

At the Visitor's Center, we hopped on the park shuttle and road up canyon to the Zion Lodge stop. The beautiful lodge is nestled next to the massive canyon walls and surrounded by green. The bright orange fencing is temporary.

The Emerald Pools trailhead is just across the Virgin River from the lodge. We were disappointed to learn the Middle Pools trail was closed due to a rock slide. So, we adjusted our plans and started the hike on the familiar Lower Pools trail.

Paul stopped to tower over some wildlife for a photo.

You think this little guy has practiced this pose? He stood there patiently until Paul got this shot.

Before long we reached the Lower Emerald Pool. It was as picturesque as we remember.

The Lower Pool is fed by these waterfalls at the - take a guess - Middle Pool.

We detoured just a bit toward the closed section of the trail to snap a few shots of the Middle Pool.

We were on to a new trail (for us) and headed toward Upper Pool. We kept climbing as the canyon walls got closer (and a lot taller).

Upper Emerald Pool was, in our opinion, the least photogenic of the three. But, it was a cool, peaceful spot to enjoy a light lunch and a quick rest before heading back down the trail.

Early Summer brings wildflowers in Zion, and there were many along the trail today. (Believe it or not, this is a rare flower picture by Mary!)

We reached a fork near the end of the trail and decided to take the Kayenta Trail up canyon. We've traveled this trail before, and once again enjoyed the views from high above the Virgin River.

When we passed this way three years ago, this rock slab was covered with cairns. Today, we decided the barren slab needed a fresh crop. This was our contribution.

We just can't get enough of these magnificent views. There is something very special about Zion Canyon.

About 2.5 miles and three hours later, we were off the trail and shuttled back to the Visitors Center. Temperatures were climbing into the 90s, and the once-empty parking lots were packed. After a great morning hike to the pools, we were happy to be off our feet and back to the comfort of our rolling home.


squawmama said...

Great photos... and the hike looked really nice. Glad you had fun exploring Zion!!!
Have fun & Travel safe

Sue and Doug said...

great tour of Zion..and as for the little creature?..he knew he was going to be famous!!! he had to give his best side!