The Emerald Pools Trail is really 3 or 4 trails of varying difficulty, depending on how far you want to go. (Or in our case, depending on whether you are actually on the right trail...)
The plan was to start at the lodge, follow the green Lower Emerald Pool Trail, continue to the Middle Pools, on to the Upper Pool via the red trail, and return by the black trail to the Grotto.
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to work they go...to do a little trail repair.The trail starts by crossing a bridge over the Virgin River.
The 1.2 mile lower trail is paved and rated easy.
Don't know what kind...
View from the trail.
The area of trail repair.
We arrive at the Lower Emerald Pool.
We are too late to see a waterfall like this during spring snow-melt.
But there are two small waterfalls here, splashing into the lower pool.
his one flows down the cliff and drips off the rock.
Lower Emerald Pool as seen through the waterfall.
The water hitting this rock creates a small rainbow in the center...hard to see in the picture.
Birdie walking under the waterfall.
Colorful rock walls.
Another view of Lower Emerald Pool
The second waterfall.
THe ledge from where the water falls is the location of the Middle Pools.
Trail to the Middle Pools
The trails to the Middle and Upper Pools are rated moderate.
The chain is to protect you from falling over the waterfall, unless of course, you are stupid enough to step over it.
Middle Emerald Pool...one of several.
Water-striders barely dent the water's "skin."Another of the Middle Pools...a good place to meditate.
There were two couples and another man hiking with us. The 2 wives stopped here to wait while their husbands continued up a rough looking trail. We followed the husbands and the 3rd man followed us.
It seemed more strenuous than "moderate."
I don't know why I didn't realize sooner that this was not the right trail. Seems obvious to me now looking at the pictures.People had come this way...there were footprints, but no more trail signs.
We got to know Rod who helped Birdie over some rough spots.
It did open up to some nice views.
Such a good sport!
Ok, it dawned on me that the trail was deteriorating and we had not met anyone coming down the trail. We were almost to the base of the cliffs and no sign of water. The 2 husbands continued up, but I declared a turn-around. If it was the trail, it wasn't worth it.
So we made our way carefully back down.
Back by the waterfalls we saw the sign that pointed the way we went to the Middle Pools, and a different way to the Upper Pool. OH! So we rested and ate a snack before continuing to the Upper Pool.
THis "moderate" trail seemed easy now.
And there were many others on it. The two couples eventually caught up too.
Just one little rock scramble down to the pool.
Upper Emerald Pool
That is the area where we originally climbed. I think it is used by rock climbers.
We met several busloads of school kids coming up the trail, so we wisely chose the Kayenta Trail (the black one on the map) to avoid them going down. Rod stayed with us.
Views from the Kayenta Trail
Looking down at the bridge to the Grotto and Shuttle stop.
All's well that ends well.