This delightful and hidden excursion in Zion National Park meanders gently up a particularly scenic section of slickrock on the east side of the park. On a topographic map, the two drainage's east of the small tunnel resemble a root canal and thus when mentioned together are often called the "Route Canals" or "Twins", but when considered alone, Many Pools is the more common name for the "trail" presented today. The canyon is wide with sandstone mountains crowding closer as the path reaches the eastern rim of the park. Rain storms and snow melt on the high plateaus provide intermittent running water which cascades down the smooth rock and spills into the many hot tub sized potholes etched into the sandstone, capturing and storing the water until evaporation and permeation empty the sculpted "desert tanks".At a Glance
Photo Album: Many Pools Pictures
Topo Map: Many Pools Topo Map
Map: Zion Backcountry Map
Day Hike: Yes
Distance: It is 2 miles to the end of the Many Pools route and back but if you continue to the East Rim it is a 4.4 mile round-trip.
Average Hiking Time: Plan on 2 hours to get to the end of the Many Pools route and back and 6 hours to East Rim and back.
Equipment: For both trips make sure you wear sticky rubber hiking shoes and if you plan to go to the East Rim take at least 3 quarts of water per person, energy food, sun protective gear, extra clothing for possible changes in the weather and emergency bivouac gear.
Trail Usage: Low
Permits: Not required.
Difficulty: The route is moderate with a gentle uphill climb to the alcove, but plan for a strenuous hike if you continue to the East Rim.
Sun Exposure: There is full sun along most of this route.
Trail Conditions: The path is mostly hiking over slickrock, but there are sections requiring easy scrambling.
Trailhead: .9 miles east of Zion's smaller tunnel.
Trailend: Same as trailhead.
Trail Access: Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (SR 9) is open year-round and the route begins right off the highway.
Best Season: The best time to hike this is in the winter and spring when it is wetter or in the summer and fall after a rainstorm.
Starting Elevation: 5391 feet
Highest Elevation: 6833 feet
Restrooms: There are vault toilets at the park's east entrance, near the toll booth or at the Canyon Overlook Trailhead at the east side of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel.
Trailhead - Drive along the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, heading east from the small tunnel and look for the second drainage on the north side of the highway. Large white monoliths are visible landmarks from the road as well as the hiking route that passes between a small dome-like mountain and a larger mountain to the right. There is a pull-out .8 miles from the end of the small tunnel where you park, before continuing on foot 150 yards east, following the beaten path down into the bowl on the north side of SR-9. Stay in the drainage, going away from the 1930's built culvert. The terrain changes from soft sand to smooth washed stone and walls open up as northern travel leads to potholes, and big slabs of flat stone make a nice walking path. A big rock, that appears to be laying on its side, forms a short slot canyon on the right. Two large Ponderosa Pines and two large Juniper trees offer a momentary reprieve from the sun while a huge boulder provides a charming backdrop for a dwarf waterfall about a half-mile into this scenic stroll. Soon the "trail" gets steeper as water-gnawed receptacles become more common. To the east is a black-capped hoodoo and impressive views are revealed in all directions. Some distant slickrock is carved with crossbedding similar to that on Checkerboard Mesa and there are many water filled basins.
Alcove - You will approach a lovely alcove .7 miles into the hike where, in the wet conditions, you will find a waterfall and hanging garden. A Pinyon and two Juniper trees should help find the landmark. Navigate around this obstacle by taking the sandy path to the west. The canyon widens to expose a broad sandstone bowl and brilliant blue skies before shear rock walls close in. Towering slickrock begins to rise higher on both sides of the route. Streams of water have carved a winding path through the hard surface below, while above, red stains and striations steal the show. Prickly Pear and Yucca Cactus, Ponderosa and Pinyon Pines, Manzanitas, Junipers and Shrub Live Oak dot the landscape. One mile into the hike is the top of the pools sitting at an elevation of 6209 feet. Most hikers will turn around at this point.
East Rim - The next part of the "trail" is strenuous and should only be attempted by experienced hikers, unlike the first half of this hike. If you choose to forge ahead, expect short climbing sections, bouldering, loose plates, talus and scree scrambling as well as serious bushwhacking. The canyon will narrow and can be treacherous in the winter when large slabs of ice and huge icicles slough from smooth mountain sides and crash into the narrow passage below. Therefore, do not attempt this route if ice is present on the mountains. Stay in the drainage all the way to the rim.
Deer Trap Mountain - If you have the time and would like to explore a bit more, a choice can be made to continue to other prominent and historic landmarks on the east side of Zion.
Deer Trap Mountain - Proceed north .2 miles to where you will find the east-west running Deertrap Mountain Trail. Upon arriving at this well used trail, turn left (west), and go 2 miles to the viewpoint atop Deertrap Mountain where you will see Mountain of the Sun, the Twin Brothers, and the Court of the Patriarchs as well as Zion Canyon far below.
Cable Mountain - Instead of turning left at the intersection of the Deertrap Mountain Trail, turn right (east) and walk .4 miles to the Cable Mountain Trail. Follow this path north for 1.75 miles until it ends at the historic Cable-works and an impressive point to look down upon the Great White Throne, Angels Landing, Observation Point, and the West Rim of Zion.
East Rim Trail - A third option would take you onto the East Rim Trail exiting either at Weeping Rock or at the East Entrance. Once again, at the intersection with the Deertrap Mountain Trail, turn right (east) and travel 1.5 miles to the junction with the East Rim Trail at Stave Spring, bypassing the spur trail to Cable Mountain, on the left. At the East Rim Trail intersection, turn left, and travel the mostly downhill 4.2 miles into Echo Canyon ending at Weeping Rock in Zion Canyon or turn right and walk 5.8 miles to the trailhead near the east entrance to Zion National Park on SR-9.
The Trail: On a topo map, the two canyons east of the small tunnel resemble a root canal and are often called the "Route Canals" or the "Twins".
Best Trail Features: Many Pools is a fun option to hike that is outside of Zion Canyon. Although the water source is from snow melt and does not run all year, the hike is a wonderful excursion through the beautiful slick rock of Zion National park.
GPS Coordinates WGS84 Datum
Many Pools Trailhead
End of Many Pools Hike
Top Of East Rim
GPS coordinates are only references and may or may not be accurate. Do not rely on GPS coordinates as the sole method of navigation. Always have an accurate, detailed map at hand and have the proper map reading and navigation skills before setting out on any hike. Many of the hikes listed in this guide travel into canyons where a GPS has limited capabilities. Always check your position with a detailed map before dropping into a canyon.Beta: Coordinates and other trail and canyoneering information by Zion Park search and rescue veteran team member Bo Beck and www.zionnational-park.com author Tanya Milligan. Bo and Tanya are also the authors of the Zion area guide: Favorite hikes in and around Zion National Park. The book includes Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Cedar Breaks, Cedar Mountain, Coyote Buttes, Slot Canyons and much more.
To post trip reports, offer corrections, updates, or for more information please visit the Zion National Park Forum
Suggested Gear: A sturdy pair of shoes are recommend to hike the trails in Zion National Park. Quality shoes will help grip the rocks and prevent injury and are important to wear whenever exploring anywhere outside the classic hikes in Zion National Park.
Zion National Park, Utah
History of the Thunderbird
This is my new favorite quote:
"I don't know who Tanya Milligan is, but I mean www.zionnational-park.com
It's a better site than the NPS's anyway."
Written by the authors of the book: Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park