Watchman TrailZion Canyon National Park, Ut
Amazing Views, Steps from the Visitor Center, and Climb Watchman Mountain
Length: 3.2 mi
Elevation Gain: 640 ft
Approximate Hiking Time: 1.5 to 2 hr
Features: Amazing Views
Nearest Town: Springdale, Ut
Watchman Trial offers views of Zion Canyon, Springdale, and the surrounding area to those who reach the top. For the best views of the area complete the viewpoint loop at the top of the Watchman. If time allows take a break, have a snack and relax surrounded by the breathtaking beauty.
- Trail Condition 90% 90%
- Usage 100% 100%
- Trail Head Easy to Find 100% 100%
- Kid Friendly 85% 85%
1. Climb the Watchman
There’s something rewarding about climbing a steep trail and soaking up the views.
2. Loop Trail Overlook
Steep drop-offs and exposure give the feeling of being at the edge of the mountain. They also give uninterupted views of the surrounding area. Just watch the kiddos up here.
3. Close to the Visitor Center
Cross the road from the Visitor Center and hop on the trail. No need to take the shuttle to the trailhead!
After entering Zion National Park head to the Visitor Center as the hike starts right from the Visitor Center. Just cross the road and follow the signs! Caution though. If you don’t pay attention to the signs you could end up on the wrong side of the river and need to backtrack.
If you are short on time this trail can be done without boarding the bus which can be a big plus during the busy times!
The trail starts by following the Virgin River before heading south towards Watchman Mountain. It then runs across a service road before starting a gentle climb up the Watchman for the first 0.5 mile.
From there it gets much steeper as it continues to climb before reaching the switchbacks and then finally returning to a gradual climb again.
The views along the trail are incredible and worth stopping many times to simply soak up!
Once you’ve reached the top of the trail you can head back down or complete the loop. If you’ve made it this far, we highly recommend the loop. The sign was a touch confusing, but follow the path straight from the sign where the trail descends slightly.
The loop has a couple of amazing viewpoints along it including the Watchman Overlook which overlooks Zion Canyon.
You can get unobstructed views towards Springdale and back towards Zion Canyon from many points around the loop. There are several areas that make a great place to stop, rest, and take in the surrounding beauty.
Why is this hike rated easy to moderate?
For the most part the Watchman Trail ascends at a steady pace to the top. The loop is relatively flat with only a short descent at the beginning and ascent back to the main trail. Overall, the trail is in good condition, but may be muddy and slippery after rain.
More Hikes to Choose From
Check out this and more hikes in and around Zion Canyon National Park and Springdale.
Length: 0.4 mi
Elevation Gain: 50 ft
Archeology Trail is an easy introductory hike with pretty views of the surrounding area and information about the ancestral Puebloan people.
Difficulty: Easy to Hard
Length: 0.6-0.8 mi
Elevation Gain: 20-60 ft
Lower Pine Creek Waterfall Trail is a fun, short hike between the canyon walls to a pretty waterfall with a little bouldering.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Length: 1.2 – 3.4 mi
Elevation Gain: 70 to 620 ft
Emerald Pools is a desert oasis tucked into Zion Canyon. There are 3 pools: lower, middle, and upper. Visit one, two or all three!