Zion National Park – Kayenta Trail

One attraction that keeps visitors coming back to St. George is Zion National Park. The towering formations, wide range of plants and wildlife, and hiking trails make it a haven for outdoor lovers. There’s a wide range of trails in and around Zion National Park, particularly the Zion Canyon area. If you’d like a route that’s full of scenery but not a tedious challenge, consider Kayenta Trail.


This intermediate hike has a 300 foot elevation gain and the trail is excellently maintained. Its junctions are well marked, making it a great option for active families or those who don’t have a ton of hiking experience. Kayenta Trail is about a mile long each way, which takes one and a half to two hours on average for a complete hike. At the trailhead is the Grotto, which is where you can have a picnic lunch, fill your water bottle, or take a restroom break. Parking is across the street from the Grotto, and you can also catch the park’s shuttle there as well.

Start your hike by crossing the footbridge to reach the other side of the Virgin River and then head up the stone steps. You’ll soon reach a dirt path that will begin climbing higher. Once the trail levels out it will dip downward and you’ll reach the Lower Pool, one of the three Emerald Pools. The Lower, Middle, and Upper Pools are framed by canyons, mountains, and large cliffs, and they get their name from the fact that the algae within them tints the water a wonderful shade of green. Some of the plants that you’ll spot along the way include juniper trees, maidenhair ferns, yucca, and prickly pear.

Kayenta Trail is accessible year round, and in the summer is when visitor traffic is at its highest. No matter when you visit, you’re guaranteed gorgeous views of the area’s famed sights. Those aiming to get a closer look at Zion Canyon or who’d like a less crowded route to the Lower Emerald Pool will find that this trail is ideal. If you want to experience a unique outdoor adventure in the St. George area, plan a hike through Zion National Park’s Kayenta Trail.

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