Watchman Trail, The Watchman Trailhead, Zion National Park, Utah
Watchman Trail - 2.8 miles
The Watchman Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||2.8 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||3,965' - 4,405' (4,410' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+440' net elevation gain (+560' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Watchman Trail - 2.8 Miles Round-Trip
The Watchman Trail climbs 440' on moderate switchbacks to a bluff beneath Bridge Mountain with panoramic views across Zion Canyon. Many notable landmarks are visible along the way, and a good map will help you identify them all.
Morning hikers will enjoy well-lit views of The West Temple (7,800'), The Sundial 7,590'), Altar of Sacrifice (7,505'), The Beehives and Meridian Tower (7,340'), which collectively form a striking south-north formation known as the Towers of the Virgin.
Afternoon visitors will have good light on Bridge Mountain (6,803') and the Watchman Spire (6,545'). Though this trail is well maintained, caution along steep drop-offs and unstable cliff edges is a must:
The trail starts on a flat path along the Virgin River before crossing a service road (.25 miles) and beginning a steady, winding climb up the east canyon wall.
The main trail ends on a small bluff high above the canyon floor (1.4 miles : 4,405'), where you can extend travel on a .4 mile loop that circles the bluff area. It's worth exploring this easy (albeit more rugged) loop for additional perspective and privacy.
The Watchman Trail was completed in 1934 and at one time there was talk about extending it to Parunuweap Canyon, but environmental conditions would not allow further construction.
- N37 12.050 W112 59.169 — The Watchman Trailhead
- Despite good trail maintenance, caution - especially with small children - is a must. Be mindful of steep drop-offs and unstable cliff edges, especially when moisture of any kind is present.
- A good map - and even a little pre-hike education from the nearby visitor center - will help you identify and better appreciate many points of interest in Zion Canyon.
- The Watchman Trail was completed in 1934. At one time there was talk about extending the trail into Parunuweap Canyon but environmental conditions would not allow further construction.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips in Zion National Park. Permits are available at both Visitor Centers the day of or day before your trip. Permits are limited.
- $15: 1-2 people
- $20: 3-7 people
- $25: 8-12 people
Permits may also be reserved up to 3 months in advance through the online reservation system. A $5 non-refundable fee + an additional fee determined by the size of your group is required when using the online reservation system. Click here to reserve.
- Camp only in designated sites.
- Fires are not permitted at backcountry campsites or within the backcountry in Zion National Park.
- Desert water sources are scarce and fragile. Do not bathe or wash dishes in creeks or pools.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $30 fee per vehicle to enter Zion National Park (defined as private passenger cars with 15 people or less). Passes are good for 7 consecutive days.
- $25 per motorcycle.
- $15 per person (walk or bike).
- Dogs are not permitted on trails in Zion National Park.
Directions to Trailhead
No shuttle is needed to access this trail. Park at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. A Trailhead sign is located just north of the main parking lot's access road. .
Zion Canyon Visitor Center
Closed: December 25
Spring: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Summer: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Fall: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Winter: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Kolob Canyon Visitor Center
Closed: December 25
Spring: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Summer: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fall: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Winter: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.