The lower trail is the best option for young children, baby strollers and people in wheelchairs, with some assistance of course.
This is an easy trail that is suitable for all ages. Much of the trail is paved which I feel takes away from the atmosphere but I am sure it is nice for families with strollers. Expect to be sharing the trail with quite a few people during the high season. The trail begins across the street from Zion Lodge and heads back into a canyon to a grotto where water runs over the edge of the rocks above and into a set of pools. The flow of water depends on recent rains but I do believe it runs year round. This trail is very popular, especially on weekends, so don't expect to come here for solace in nature. The trail is .6 miles in length one way and I suggest combining it with the .5 mile (each way) Upper Emerald Pool Trail if your kids are willing. The upper trail does involve more uphill hiking and a bit of scrambling but I saw kids of all ages on this trail. My family also added the 1 mile (one way) Kayenta Trail to our hike which was quite, scenic, followed the Virgin River from above, and took us to the Grotto shuttle stop.
This is a very easy hike, but worth it! Go early as there are lots of people that venture on this well groomed trail. It's a short paved "road" that is wide enough to bring a stroller if desired and comes to a pretty little waterfall that cascades off of a cliff above (you can continue to hike to the upper lake, but it's more strenuous). It's fun too on a hot day as you can feel the spray along the mountain wall. Very safe.
This is the perfect family friendly hike. Unfortunately, everyone knows that this is the perfect family friendly hike. The trail will be crowded and so I deducted a star from my rating. If your family is looking for a five star hike, I would suggest that you hike this trail early in the morning or visit Zion National Park in the off-season.
The 0.6 mile (one-way) trail s paved to the lower pools, making it stroller friendly. But word of warning - once you get to the lower pools, the trail gets pretty muddy due to the falling water above which feed the emerald pools. So be prepared to get shoes and stroller tires muddy, especially if it has recently rained.
I would suggest taking your time along this trail as there is much that can be missed if your goal is just to reach the pools. There are some nice viewpoints of Zion canyon along the way, and plenty of desert landscape, and geology to enjoy. The first part of the trail has a ton of sun exposure so be sure to use sunscreen. My kiddos were all overheated by the time we reached the lower pools. But it felt so good to stand under the falling water and experience mother nature's air conditioning.
Once you reach the lower pools, you have a few options: turn around and go back the same way; hike a short distance up towards the middle pools and veer off towards the grotto area which takes you back to the main road; or continue to the middle and upper pools and loop back around to the original trail head. Note that the middle and upper pool trails are not paved.
In all, this trail epitomizes family friendly hiking: easy trail, plenty to see along the way, and pay-off at the end. The bad news is, it's no secret how great this trail is, as evidenced by the crowds.
This was a great family-friendly hike in Zion because the elevation change was gradual, the drop-offs on the side were minimal, and the destination was great! It is paved and is stroller-friendly.
This was our first hike of the day and it honestly felt like most families were rushing up the trail so that they could "conquer" Zion in a day. We were forced to go slow with our 3 and 5 year old and I'm glad we did because we were able to see lizards, butterflies, and enjoy the grandeur of the valley as we climbed the trail. There are several "caves" up the trail near the pool that are worth exploring because they show how sandy the rock is.
The lower Emerald Pool destination was simply a curve in the trail that goes under a towering rock face cut out by years of flowing water. We got sprinkled on by the waterfall flowing over our head and off to the pool below us. It was beautiful and fun!
We kept going on the trail, skipping the trail to the Middle Emerald Pool and following the curve of the mountain back down to the Virgin River far below. This side of the trail which leads to "The Grotto" in Zion was much rockier and with much more dangerous drop-offs to the side. This part of the trail is NOT stroller friendly. We made it down after a longer walk and then enjoyed playing in the river below.
This is the perfect hike for little ones. It is easy and has a nice path! It isn't too hot in the summer but then again it can get pretty hot! The pools are lots of fun to visit! I enjoyed visiting when I was a toddler now I like taking my 2 year old too!
We tried this hike out last time we were at Zion. Our son was about 1 1/2, and the weather was still pretty warm, so he didn't last too long walking on his own. The trail was semi-paved, so we were able to push him in his umbrella stroller most of the way, but switched to a carrier once we headed up the trail to the middle emerald pools (which was very steep with lots of carved steps). The lower pool is beautiful, and well worth the short walk.