Zion National Park, Southern Utah, just a few of the many waterfalls during and after a rainfall

Zion National Park, Southern Utah, just a few of the many waterfalls during and after a rainfall

Emerald Pools, Zion National Park

• The most popular trail in Zion Canyon is to the Emerald Pools - two picturesque ponds along a tributary stream a short distance along a side canyon west of the river
• Follow a stream up past a sheet waterfall to the Emerald Pools
• In summer large crowds climb up to the first of the pools, take a few photographs and hurry back down without seeing any of the smaller, more hidden ponds or the large mini-lake further up, at the foot of another, much higher waterfall.
• The Trails: Cross the Virgin River via a footbridge, the path splits into the two routes, leading to the lower and middle pools; the former is the most popular as the gradient is gentler and the trail more shaded, running beneath large cottonwood trees. This follows first the river then a tributary stream, ascending to a wide overhang beneath a curving cliff face, where several elongated waterfalls flow from the pools above. The path passes behind the cascades, which create pretty rainbow-like light patterns if the sun is appropriately oriented, although the water flow dries up almost completely during summer. A short, brisk climb completes the 15 minute walk to the first pools (0.6 miles). The stream feeding them flows from the overgrown hillside beyond, through other sheltered, tree-lined pools and small waterfalls between a jumble of boulders. There is no trail past this section, but scrambling up the streamway is easy enough.
• Upper Emerald Pool: Rather fewer people continue to the upper pool - another half mile along a steeper, rockier trail with an additional 280 foot elevation gain. Beneath a high cliff of colorful, streaked Navajo sandstone lies a large pool, deep enough for swimming most of the year, a practice once allowed but now prohibited to protect water quality and aquatic life. During winter and spring a powerful waterfall cascades 150 meters into the upper pool though in summer this dries up completely.

Weeping Rock, Zion National Park

• Weeping Rock is one of the top attractions of Zion Canyon, and may be reached by a gentle, paved, quarter mile trail
• The rock is an eroded, bowl-shaped cliff face where water seeps out from the junction between two different sandstone strata (the Navajo and Kayenta layers) creating a year-round spring that nourishes hanging gardens of moss, ferns, grass and wildflowers

Other waterfalls are located in Zion NP, and especially during rainstorms nearly any cliff can be turned into a waterfall. So even if it is raining make sure you take your camera with you!

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