Saturday, August 20, 2016

Zion National Park: Emerald Pools

Finishing Angel's Landing well ahead of schedule gave me some unexpected extra time at Zion National Park. So I considered my options for adding another hike to my agenda, and decided on Emerald Pools. It had a waterfall, it could be started from where I'd finished Angel's Landing, and it ended at a shuttle stop. All appealing attributes.

Upper Emerald Pool, Zion National Park
There are actually three Emerald Pools -- Upper, Middle, and Lower.  One of my hiking mantras is to always push on to the "upper" version of anything.  It will undoubtedly be worth the effort.  Sadly, this may have been the exception to that rule.

Upper Emerald Pool was fine, but not at all emerald and very crowded.  I had to be pretty patient and creative to get a decent shot without any other people in it.

Middle Emerald Pool, Zion National Park
Middle Emerald Pool was at least a shade of green, but more of a pea green.  And also crowded, and not very big.

Waterfall Above Lower Emerald Pool, Zion National Park
The best feature of the hike was the waterfall above Lower Emerald Pool.  I understand that at wetter times of the year there are actually two waterfalls, and the flow can be pretty significant.  In late July there was only the one, and it was pretty light.

Waterfall Above Lower Emerald Pool, Zion National Park
The trail does go directly beneath and behind the waterfall, which provides a cool perspective.

Waterfall Above Lower Emerald Pool, Zion National Park
The day had quickly become quite warm.  So hiking through this spray was refreshing.  I put my hat on my camera to keep it dry and let my head get wet.

Lower Emerald Pool, Zion National Park
Lower Emerald Pool itself was again underwhelming.  I hate being critical of nature, especially in a National Park.  If I can't appreciate something, the issue is much more likely to be with me.  I think it was just the wrong time of year to experience the best of these features.

Zion River, Zion National Park
Crossed a bridge over the Zion River -- which was clearly running low enough to walk through if I'd preferred -- and the hike was done.

I did get in another couple of miles on the trail, and got to see more of the park than I'd originally planned.  Those factors alone made my time at Emerald Pools worthwhile. :)

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