Many Pools is a beautiful trail up a broad slickrock valley with numerous water pools along the route. In the authors opinion this is one of the nicest trails in Zion. From the head of the Many Pools trail you can access higher elevations within Zion.
The trail is located on the east side of Zion off of SR9 and starts 0.8 miles east of the small tunnel on SR9.
This trail is relatively unknown, not being marked as such on SR9, so you won’t encounter large numbers of hikers.
Overall rating = moderate
Distance: 4.9 miles total – moderate
Elevation gain: ~860 feet excluding 170 foot ascent to hoodoos – moderate
Terrain: Open Slickrock with a few scrambles – moderate
Exposure: Gradually sloping slickrock ascent, steep in places – moderate
To see the trail rating system used here see Trail Rating System
If coming from the west take SR9 through Springdale, Utah, into Zion National Park. Turn right on SR9 at the Canyon Junction and take the switchbacks up and through the Main Zion Tunnel. Travel through the second tunnel and park in the large parking area 0.8 miles from the second tunnel exit.
If coming from the east turn onto SR9 at the Mount Carmel Junction and drive into Zion National Park. From the East entrance gate drive 3.1 miles to the Parking area.
The trail begins on the north side of SR9 about 150 yards east of the parking area. To access the trail, either drop down the south side of the parking area and turn left into the Many Pools wash and follow the wash under SR9 to the Many Pools Trail, or walk about 150 yards east along SR9 and follow the short trail into the wash on the north side of SR9.
The top of the main slickrock trail at about 1 mile up the canyon is a good place to have lunch. From here you can scale the slickrock cliff to the east and south to an area of hoodoos. From here there are beautiful views of the Many Pools canyon and the surrounding area. This is about 1 mile return but involves a steep and potentially dangerous climb. On our return climb one person needed the assistance of rope to descend.
The Upper Many Pools canyon continues a further mile up to the saddle through more difficult terrain. You can follow the main wash at the base of the cliff but have to climb over several obstacles. Alternatively you can follow a trail above and to the east of the wash. Again this involves some difficult scrambles.
Throughout the length of the Many pools drainage there are dozens of pools with and without water depending upon the rain and snow melt.