Hike Zion's Watchman Trail
Utah › Watchman Trail, Zion National Park
Added by Casey Berner
Distance: 2 mile round trip with optional loopElevation: 456 ftGreat "warm-up" trail for ZionPhotograph the mighty Watchman Tower at sunsetVery close to Visitor Center and Campgrounds
The Watchman is one of the last parts of Zion to be illuminated in sunlight at the end of the day. If you're finishing up your adventure filled day with a sunset hike or if you're looking for a warm-up hike which also happens to be a Zion classic, then The Watchman Trail is perfect. With only about 500ft elevation gain and a well maintained dirt trail that amounts to about a 2 hour hike with all the stopping for pictures, you'll get a feel for Zion and fill up your camera with one of Zion's most famous landmarks.
Park at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center or if you are camping at one of Zion's campgrounds, follow the dirt path that runs along the river. Walk across the road to the trailhead. The trail is exposed to sun for most of the way so afternoon hikes during the summer months are not recommended. Begin the hike by heading north up the trail. The path itself runs steadily uphill toward a bend then winds around and connects with the start of the loop trail, finally revealing The Watchman. The hike is not to the Watchman itself, but a view point to see it.
Once at the far point of the loop, set up your camera and capture the long sunset as the last bit of light in Zion fades away along the Watchman spire. A headlamp is recommended for your hike back even though is will not get completely dark for another hour after sunset.
Head back to your campsite at Watchman Campgrounds or head into Springdale for a little local shoulder rubbing with other hikers and adventures.
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Originally thought that this trail led to the famous watchman overlook. Turns out this is a different spot entirely, but the view at sunset was still absolutely beautiful and even better we had the place to ourselves. I suppose everyone was at the actual overlook!
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