Review: Emerald Pools and Optical Point Zion National Park Utah
This was my first hike in Zion and it was the perfect starter. This hike is completely doable for all ages as long as you take it at the pace that your body requires. There was a lot of intriguing nature aspects and more than enough to look at. Emerald Pools is not a hike that is purely for exercise but is more of an experience, and absolutely breathtaking. The scenery is something out of a storybook. There is a lot of water, which for me, are the hikes I am drawn to. The time of year I went, (June) was so green and lush against beautiful reddish rocks creating a contrast that is just striking. My big disclaimer is GO EARLY. It is a very popular hike because of its beauty and lack of complexity, so around eight when the park begins to get super crowded this hike is a hotspot. We got up and went into the park as early as we could, which was about six in the morning and the crowds were already starting to become overwhelming on our trek back down. Besides the crowds there are not many negatives to this hike. Although there is a lot of sand instead of rock that you are walking on so sand may fill your shoes but all in all this was a great starter hike for my day.
Now this one is more difficult. Optical Point leads you to the highest point in the park. This hike is very steep and it gets your blood pumping with the incline it possesses right off the bat. Another unique aspect Optical Point has to offer are switchbacks that resemble Angels Landing, which I have written about before,
but with less of an incline and more spread out. Up through these switchbacks, you get a beautiful view of the whole park, I found the going up to be slightly boring until you look out at the view and cross behind back into the rocks more which is not until further along the hike. Once you get past this part you get to the more exciting side where you can explore a little. There are caves and crevice’s that are hidden through the backside of this hike. There is a whole canyon to wander through with water ways and sand. It truly is a dynamic place unlike any other. We ventured off the trail to check out some of these cool cracks and hidden treasures in the mountains topography. I was in complete awe. This hike can get crowded but it is not quite as popular as the Narrows, so I would suggest this one over that for the purpose of less population. One of my favorite parts about Zion in general are those beautiful red rocks. We stopped for lunch in some of these cool caverns on the hike and I was just engulfed by so many natural colors it was overwhelming. If you are in relatively good shape I would definitely suggest this hike as well.
-Good Vibes and Adventure