approximately 4 miles
The Zion Narrows, Lower and Middle Emerald Pools
With my cousins visiting from Kansas City, a big chunk of their vacation was spent in southern Utah exploring the national parks in the area. We drove down with them and stayed for a couple of days, and on Monday we all went to Zion National Park. This was my second visit to Zion, but my first visit in the summer when they close the park to most cars and visitors must take a shuttle within the park. It was easier than I expected and not nearly as crazy crowded as I have heard Zion can be. We were also tremendously lucky that it wasn’t super hot either. We woke up to some cloud cover and temps in the mid 80s. The photographer in me was really torn… more cloud cover meant more muted colors and less shadows, but it really made for a pleasant day weather-wise.
We boarded the shuttle after being greeted by some overly-friendly squirrels and rode all the way to the last stop at the Temple of Sinawava.
We hiked the Riverside Trail up to the beginning of the Zion Narrows. The Narrows is one of Zion’s most famous hikes where you hike in the Virgin River through a slot canyon. How far you hike varies on your skill level and how much you want to get wet. I have heard of many who hike in water deep enough to swim in.
Tommy, Kevin, and I hiked a little ways into The Narrows, enough to be wading in water up to my knees. So for Tommy, that meant he was totally soaked.
The cold water felt wonderful on tired feet and it was a fun challenge to navigate the wobbly river rocks without stumbling. I imagine many ankles have rolled in this river. Someday I want to hike much further into The Narrows, but with my kids with me and Matthew riding on my back (he slept most of the hike!), it’s just not safe yet.
We spent some time on a little patch of beach resting and throwing rocks into the water with the kiddies. After a little while the sun came out too.
We hiked back to the shuttle and got off at the Zion Lodge for lunch. We really wished we had brought the sandwiches we’d made with us, but they were back at the main entrance in the cars. We won’t make that mistake again.
The line for the restaurant at the Lodge was huge, so Bill and Kevin opted to take the shuttle back to our cars and get the sandwiches we brought. We laid out on the cool grass underneath a massive tree. Tommy and Matthew alternated running around and being bored. Tommy eventually made friends with some other kids who had a football. We finally got some lunch and then walked across the road to hike to the Emerald Pools.
From the foot bridge that goes over the Virgin River:
The hike to the Emerald Pools is really, really pretty!
There wasn’t nearly as much water falling into the Lower Emerald Pools as we saw back in February, but it was still pretty and we still got wet walking under neath.
Bill stayed behind with the camera just above the Lower Pools while the rest of us hiked up to the Middle Pools. From there he took some cool shots of us.
Washing off a cooling towel that was dropped in the dirt.
This place really is one of the most beautiful desert landscapes on the planet!
After we were done exploring the Middle Emerald Pools, we headed back to St. George for the night. We were all tired, sweaty and dusty, but still in awe of this gorgeous place.
These rugged mountains greet you when you’re leaving the park, twice now we’ve wanted to find out what they are called. Based on Google as a resource, I think they are called Eagle Crags West.
This was my second visit to this park and I only want to explore more of it, hopefully in the fall when it’s not so hot and the crowds are fewer. Hopefully.