If you are looking for one of the best winter hikes in Zion National Park that most people in the family could do, then look no further then the Kayenta Trail. This hike takes you along ridges, down to the Emerald Pools and up to a tall snow waterfall (depending on the season). Here is all the info:
- 3.25 Miles
- 200 feet of elevation
- Bring traction devices such as Yaktrax if it is icy.
- Location: Grotto Parking Area
In the summer you will need to ride the shuttle to the Grotto stop, during the winter you can drive up to the small parking lot, then assuming you are able to find a spot, you are good to go.
The trail starts when you cross the bridge over the river. Once you get across the bridge you will spilt to the left as the right goes to Angels Landing. The trail then starts to climb up a set of switchbacks for the next tenth of a mile.
As soon as you start to gain elevation you get a good understanding of how beautiful this area is as you have large drop-offs on your left and a beautiful river flowing below.
I was shocked by how awesome the views were here. I couldn’t stop taking pictures as each turn was better than the last.
The trail continues for about .75 miles then it starts to head back into the area where the Emerald Pools are located.
About .15 miles from there you will see a split in the trail where right leads to the upper pools and left leads to the lower. I recommend heading to the lower first as there is a set of stairs that will take you back to a connect with a trail to the upper after.
Lower Emerald Pools
This area is incredibly beautiful as you see the water flowing over a few small waterfalls as it cascades down to the river below. You can walk around the trail itself which takes you into a cutout of the rock and allows you to walk behind the waterfalls which is epic.
When you are done with the Lower Pools you will want to head back to the stairs and take them up to where it connects with the original trail again.
The trail then continues upwards and gains elevation until it is above the lower pools you saw earlier.
You will then have a small river crossing which you can see above. This river feeds the small waterfall below.
Don’t go too fast on this trail though as it has amazing views back towards Zion Canyon.
Upper Emerald Pool
The Upper Emerald Pool is even better than the lower as it has a 200 foot waterfall that cascades down to the pool below. The waterfall was snow when I went which was beautiful. It was amazing to just sit here and watch the snow cascade down to the frozen pool.
Since it was winter there was no one else enjoying the view with us which is amazing in and of itself. I recommend taking a panorama with your smartphone so you can capture it all in one photo.
As you can see this is an amazing hike that you won’t believe until you see it yourself. I highly recommend that you add this to your list if you are in the area, especially during the winter.