1. UPPER EMERALD POOLS
Start: The Grotto parking area
Distance: 3 miles round trip
Time: 1-2 hours
Emerald Pools is one of the most frequented destinations within the park. In the summer, thousands of people make a beeline for this trail that has waterfalls and several greenish-blue ponds tucked into the cliffs. In the winter, there are definitely fewer people on the trail, which makes it the ideal time to hike it. When it’s icy, the portion to Lower Emerald Pools is closed – the waterfall creates hundreds of icicles hanging over the trail that could fall at any moment. This just means that you have to start from the Grotto parking lot instead of Zion Lodge.
When we went this weekend, the upper pool was completely frozen over, and it was really cool. We walked out into the middle of it and explored. There were icicles hanging from the cliffs above here too, and every now and then a cluster of them would fall. Luckily, they weren’t right over the pond, so they weren’t any danger. I tried to capture them on Snapchat to no avail.