Court of the Patriarchs and The Emerald Pools of Zion (National Park, Utah)

UTAH:Zion National Park; lone tree on red cliff

Zion National Park Visitor Information and Map

Hannah and I began our third day in Zion National Park with a run up the Watchman Trail.

The steady ascent around Bridge Mountain afforded some spectacular views, but hopping on and over the rocks required that we maintain a decent focus on our footing as well.I’ll never forget running just ahead of the morning sun’s illumination, its rays sliding steady at our heels as we ran out a side canyon to join “the guys” for our day’s hiking…

UTAH:Zion National Park; waterfall to lower Emerald Pool

Day Three of our Utah adventure officially began at the Visitor Center. We had a rough idea of what looked “interesting” and had already hit our must-do “strenuous” trails on Days One and Two.

The trio Emerald Pools (with water!) gained unanimous approval. Decision made; we dashed outside, hopped a shuttle bus and rode toward our next trailhead.

UTAH:Zion National Park; Court of the Patriarchs

We made a photo stop at Court of the Patriarchs, named for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of the Old Testament. After a short uphill stroll, we easily attained the promised photographic vantage point. This “trail” is touted as the “you do this and you can say you hiked Zion” trail by the shuttle bus drivers (of which our favorite was the smooth-toned and knowledgeable Daniel).

UTAH:Zion National Park; waterfall to lower Emerald Pool 2

The trail to the Emerald Pools began further up the road and across the river from Zion Lodge. It was hot. Current drought conditions rendered waterfalls a mere trickle of their normal flow. But we were somewhat acclimated now and knew that keeping hydrated was the key to a good hike…

We favored the Lower and Upper pools over the Middle “puddle” and enjoyed endless views, dainty foliage and a deer or two as we hiked to our favorite Upper Emerald Pool. Preservation efforts eliminated our normal splashing, but we found a picnic spot downstream where we could cool ourselves before the hike back down.

UTAH:Zion National Park; Emerald Pools trail; panoramic horizontal

And at trail’s end? Ice cream on the patio at the venerable Zion Lodge

Zion National Park Visitor Information and Map

Zion National Park (Utah)
Canyons and cliffs in vibrant “rainbow” colors!
Hike and climb your way through rivers, slot canyons and up radical cliffs for a “view” in every direction…

Springdale, UT 84767-1099
435-772-3256
Park Website
Park Hours: Daily (except December 25); call for seasonal hours.
Entrance Fee (valid for 7 days): $25.00/private vehicle; $12.00/bicycle, motorcycle, pedestrian($25.00 family cap) Annual Pass available


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Zion National Park, Utah in a larger map

Springdale Things To Do



13 Comments to Court of the Patriarchs and The Emerald Pools of Zion (National Park, Utah)

  1. A fantastic trail, Heather!

  2. My wife and I traveled to Bryce, Zion and Cedar Breaks about 20 years ago. Camped out in LaVerkin. Zion was the best by far. Thanks for the pics-brought back wonderful memories.

  3. Fantastic photos as always but where are the Emerald Pools? Are they really emerald?

  4. Your posts are always beautiful and inspiring. Full of energy.

  5. Heather

    Thanks Jean-Luc! Each one its own unique feel and features. It’s always worth seeing what’s around the next bend!

  6. Heather

    MorganLighter,
    There is such joy in wandering around somewhere as stunning as Zion. What a great trip to enjoy with your wife!
    We had brief hail storms at both Bryce and Cedar Breaks -kind of added to the adventure of it all…

  7. Heather

    Suzanne,
    I didn’t spot much “green” in the Emerald Pools, and my guess was that it was drought-related. Moss and algae are the big color generators and while there were some green “hanging gardens” on the cliff walls, the water depth was significantly lower than usual. Still a very lovely hike, however…

  8. Heather

    Thanks MsJoan,
    I really enjoy your Lone Star Traveler site! Nice photography…

  9. Watchman Trail scenery is SPECTACULAR. Love the photos and the names given to the places. Glad you managed the rocks okay. That would have been hard limping back. You’re a brave soul.

    Hugs, JJ

  10. Great photos, Heather! What a wonderful trip!

  11. Heather

    JJ and Nina,
    We feel really blessed to have been immersed in such beauty. Can’t wait to go back…

  12. Every photo looks like a finely crafted postcard! What beautiful colors and scenery!

  13. Heather

    Thanks Intrepid! I’m so glad I could bring home some good photos, because I really miss that spectacular scenery…

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