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The Watchman Trail is a relatively easy hike that offers nice views over Springdale and the southern end of Zion National Park. Since this trail starts at the visitor center, no shuttle is necessary, making this a convenient trail to hike if you are struggling to get shuttle reservations. Here’s how to do it.

Facts About the Hike

Distance: 3.3 miles round-trip
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Elevation Gain: 370 feet
Length of Time: 2 hours

Hiking the Watchman Trail

Getting to the Trailhead

The trail starts near the visitor center. Park in the visitor center parking lot and walk towards the visitor center. There is a trail that heads between the visitor center and the Zion shuttle waiting area, crosses the street, and takes you to the trailhead.

Watchman Trailhead Map

If there is no parking at the visitor center, you can take the Springdale shuttle to Zion National Park. The Springdale shuttle stop is labeled on the map above. From here, you will walk the paved path into the park, stopping to pay your park entrance fee on the way. Continue along this paved trail until you reach the Watchman trailhead.

On the Watchman Trail

The first part of the Watchman Trail is flat and easy. It is a leisurely walk along the Virgin River. To your right you will have views of the Watchman peak.

Start of Watchman Trail

View of the Watchman

Once the trail makes the turn into the mountains, you leave the Virgin River behind and the hike gets more interesting. For the next mile, you steadily hike up into the hills. The higher you go, the better the view.

Tim on the Trail

Watchman Trail Hike

Hike the Watchman Trail

How to Hike Watchman

The trail ends at a cliff on the base of Watchman mountain. There is a small loop trail that offers several different views out over Zion and Springdale.

View from the Watchman Hike

Watchman Cliffs

To get back to the visitor center, retrace your steps.

About this Hike

This is one of the least exciting and least scenic trails in Zion National Park. In my opinion, it’s only worth hiking if you are looking for a short, easy trail, like the convenience of starting right from the visitor center, or are having a hard time getting a shuttle reservation.

If you don’t mind a longer hike, you can combine this with the Pa’rus Trail, a 3.4-mile trail (out-and-back) that meanders along the Virgin River. This hike starts just across the Virgin River from the Watchman trailhead and ends at Canyon Junction Bridge, where you can get a classic view of Zion National Park.


If you have any questions about the Watchman Trail or the hiking trails in Zion National Park, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Zion:

If this is part of a bigger road trip through the USA, visit our United States Destination Guide for more inspiration and travel planning tips.

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Watchman Trail Hike Zion National Park

 

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