For the last part of our Labor Day adventures, we stayed in Springdale, UT, which is right outside Zion National Park. The last few times I’ve visited Zion, I’ve stayed in St. George (because of where the employee rates for hotels were) but on a whim, I found a KILLER employee deal IN Springdale three days before we left! How on earth would I turn that down?! It was awesome to have a hot shower and a SUPER comfy bed to sleep in after camping the night before.
Anyways… The perk of staying in town was that we just rode the free shuttle from the city to the entrance of the park, walked into the park, and hopped onto the park shuttle. It was a pretty seamless experience. Luckily, we beat the crowds since it was early on Labor Day Monday!
I was not walking well after getting some nasty blisters from Calf Creek Falls — poor shoe choice on my part (you’ll have to read about it in that post)! So we chose a quick and easy path for Courtney to experience just the tip of the Zion iceberg — Lower Emerald Pools. 100% it is a walk more than a hike. There is an option to continue to the middle and upper pools, and I would highly suggest it, if you haven’t been before.
Lower Emerald Pool Trail
Distance: 1.2 miles
Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: < 100 feet
The trail starts across the Virgin River opposite to the Zion Lodge (shuttle stop #5). The trail is paved all the way up to the the lower pool. It gradually works its way up a winding trail. We were able to catch some deer grazing and they seemed to not be bothered by lots of people walking by.
I like this trail because it has some nice views of Zion canyon that are easily accessible to many visitors. We went in the morning and caught the sun climbing up the red rock walls. It does feel like a spiritual experience— the walls are so tall and there is so much life in the valley with the Virgin River flowing through it.
After enjoying the views, you will continue up the trail to find this iron-stained walls— similar to Calf Creek’s coloring. You will notice the hanging gardens on the walls underneath and the water trickling down.
This is the perfect hike/walk to go on to see some of Zion, but you still want to take it easy. The trail continues up to the upper-most pool which is a little more challenging for another mile.
Park House Cafe + Deep Creek Coffee Company
On our way back on the shuttle, I asked the bus driver for a recommendation for an awesome breakfast burrito. He suggested Park House Cafe. It was exactly what I was looking for— simple, affordable, delicious, and a fun environment. What was even better— there was no wait! 🙂 Win/win!
Courtney enjoyed drawing on the patio walls with the chalk that was available. I wish I was more artsy like she is! After breakfast, we wanted some coffee to go, so we grabbed Deep Creek Coffee Company and drove back to Salt Lake.
It was a successful Labor Day weekend jam-packed with adventures and long talks about life! What else could I ask for?!
What are your favorite trips to take during Labor Day weekend? How do you celebrate (or mourn) summer ending?