Hi friends, welcome back! Today I’m continuing my out west series and taking you on a hike up the photogenic Watchman Trail. If you missed my prior posts, you can check out Valley of Fire here, and Angels Landing here. We started this hike from the Zion National Park south entrance visitor center parking lot at 7 am. The visitor center is also where the shuttle parking is so it’s wise to get there early before spots fill up. It was also another scorcher of a day so we had to get a head start while there was still shade. Like most trails in the park, once the sun goes above the rim, this trail is completely exposed.
Watchman Trail is a moderate 3.1 miles out and back that gains 636 feet of elevation per the AllTrails app. We took a slight shortcut from the official trail and walked down the paved road to the trail head. Once we got on the actual trail there was a steady incline before some steeper switchbacks. The trail then gradually flattened out to a welcomed even section up to the lookout point.
This trail is named for the incredible views of The Watchman, a 6,545-foot sandstone mountain and one of Zion’s most iconic views.
Adjacent to The Watchman stands Bridge Mountain at 6,803 feet tall.
Across the way there are excellent views of The West Temple, Altar of Sacrifice, and The Sentinel mountain peak.
We had some fun with the prickly pear cactus.
There is also a short loop trail at the top that we walked through to get better views of Watchman.
We finished right as the sun was coming over the rim and it made for some cool pics!
Compared to Angels Landing, this hike seemed relatively easy and not at all scary. It was also less crowded, and had great views for not too much effort. This trail would be great as either a first or last hike in Zion National Park. I’d highly recommend checking out Watchman Trail, but be sure to go early to secure a parking spot, avoid crowds, and to get the hike completed while it’s still shady.