September 7th, Zion National Park

Tuesday we hiked the Emerald Pools loop and saw all three pools. We then saw a bit more of the canyon, had lunch at a "picnic grotto" (wide place with lots of trees and some picnic benches), were attacked (again) by the silly yellow jackets/bees, hiked up to Weeping Rock (a short but steep paved trail), tried to get a parking spot for the Riverwalk trail at the end of the canyon, couldn't, and decided to hike that the next morning before we left. After all, we weren't going to be in a hurry since Bryce is only about 2 hours away. We then headed into town and got showers (yea!) and lunch and pie (double yea!) from the Bumbleberry Inn in Springdale. Then we just came back to camp and read/relaxed until just before 7pm, at which time we headed back to Springdale and saw their Cinemax movie Zion, Treasure of the Gods.

The pools have 2 access trails -- a steeper loop which goes to the middle pool, after which there is a short but very steep spur to the upper pool. This trail then descends to the lower pool, returning to the trailhead via the second, shorter and flatter trail which only sees the lower pool. While you can do the loop backwards, it's not in the map book that way -- and this way some of the traffic is cut down by separating those who want to see the other pools early on. This trailhead is directly opposite the river from the Zion Lodge, so you can see it would get lots of use.

The terrain was mostly reddish sandstone and dirt, with some whiter colors mixed in at the higher pool. The pools really did used to be the natural emerald color, but human use has killed off a lot of the algae responsible for the color. Now, you're not allowed to go in the pools. September is, of course, also a low-water season.