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Hurricane, Utah

Photograph Sunset on The Watchman from Canyon Junction Bridge

Originally added by Mayson Algeyer

Witness a stunning sunset you won't soon forget as Zion Canyon's walls come alive in a brilliant glow. And capture an iconic image of the National Parks system from the Canyon Junction Bridge as the sun sets on The Watchman.

Arguably no image of Zion National Park is more recognizable than a photograph of sunset on The Watchman as seen from the Canyon Junction Bridge. This spot is a staple of the National Parks system and is a go-to place for professions photographers and everyday visitors to the park alike. It is a place where you can witness the canyon's walls burst alive in an almost fiery glow as the sun sets low on the horizon and the Virgin River leads you toward this spectacular scene.

The most popular place to witness this brilliant display is from the Canyon Junction Bridge just within the park's South Entrance on the edge of Springdale, Utah. From the South Entrance you must drive approximately 1.5 miles to Canyon Junction, passing the Visitor Center, Watchman Campground and South Campground. The Canyon Junction Bridge is just past the Human History Museum and must be crossed before the fork at Canyon Junction where you can continue on the Zion/Mt. Carmel Highway or turn to go deeper into Zion Canyon. 

Parking in the area can be difficult depending on the time of year you visit and if vehicles access is restricted in the main canyon and the shuttles are running. Essentially anytime from March till the end of November the shuttles are in use and access to the main portion of Zion Canyon is limited. This can cause parking near the bridge to be very difficult due to the amount of visitors to the park. In most cases the best way to access the bridge is to ride the shuttle from the Visitor Center to the Canyon Junction Shuttle Stop (Stop #3), where you can then walk back the hundred or so yards to the bridge. Once you are finished, you can then catch the shuttle back to the Visitor Center. If you desire to drive to the bridge, limited parking is available on the roadside near both ends of the bridge, but it fills up fast and open spots are few and far between during much of the day.

When going to photograph sunset, be sure to be on the bridge early. I recommend about an hour before sunset or even a little more if your time allows. The bridge fills up early and quickly with photographers, their tripods, and other visitors all waiting to capture and witness the awesome sunset. In order to find a composition you like, and to claim your spot, it is important to arrive early if you can. Also in the fall and winter months, be sure to take an extra jacket, because the temperature will drop quickly as the light fades and you may want to stay and photograph till the last bit of light fades. Lastly, using a photography app like PhotoPills can be a lifesaver for planning your time wisely and knowing when the sun wills set and the Golden Hour will be at its peak. 

Overall, this a great way to experience the beauty of Zion National Park and take in a stunning sunset you will never forget. It definitely is not just an adventure for photographers, but anyone who loves the outdoors. 

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