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Hiking The Watchman Trail - Zion National Park

The Watchman Trail in Zion National Park is often overlooked for more popular trails like Angels Landing or The Narrows, but it shouldn't. This trail is absolutely stunning with epic Zion views and a prime view of the iconic Watchman Mountain.

With with a mild 456 ft elevation gain this family-friendly trail is a must for Zion enthusiasts and new visitors alike.


3.3 miles round trip. This is an out and back trail.


This is a moderate, family friendly hike with a mild 456 ft elevation gain. Beware though; this trail is exceptionally hot in the heat of the summer.


The trail begins at the Zion Visitor Center. Walk on the road toward Route 9 until you see the trailhead signage which is on the north side, on the Virgin River’s east bank. Click Here For Map

Trail Details

The Watchman Trail starts at the Visitor Center. The beginning of the trail hugs the river then takes you into the hills. For a mile or so, the trail is moderately strenuous, looping and heading uphill around the valley. Soon you can look down on the canyon from atop a layer of cliffs.

Desert greenery surrounds you. Trees and a few hardy shrubs provide a small bit of shade along the way. Prickly pear cactus is everywhere. Be careful! Don’t touch them. Heading west again, you reach a delightful view of the canyon with the Visitor Center below, Springdale off in the distance, and Watchman Peak in the south.

This is a terrific place to stop and have lunch if it isn’t too hot. You can always take the short loop trail with even more views off to the south. After taking in the sights on the loop, you head down back to the main canyon. Scroll through for tips and additional information.

Good to Know

Use the restroom and water bottle fill station at the visitor center. There is no bathroom on the trail.

Tips and Additional Info

  • This is a great hike to do in the winter, spring, and fall. In the summer you want to make sure that you go first thing in the morning or later in the day since there is very little shade on this trail.

  • Originally, the trail was intended to go to the peak of the Watchman spire, but because of difficulties, it has never been completed beyond the viewpoint loop.

  • This is a great trail to take if lines for the shuttle are too long in the spring and fall (not in the summer because of the heat), and you are ready to do some hiking.

  • If you are camping at either of the campgrounds in Zion, you should definitely wake up early and hike this trail. It is very easy to get to from the campgrounds, and this is a great hike early morning hike.

  • This is not a paved trail, but it is well maintained. Bring good hiking shoes, water, snacks, and sunscreen.

Happy Hiking,


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