Watchman Trail in Zion National Park from Watchman Campground
WOW! You know they say it’s one of the most amazing National Parks, Zion. It is definitely true! There are more canyons here than anywhere in the world some people believe. It is definitely the most canyon-y spot in the US. I scored two nights in Watchman Campground, not back to back, but that’s ok! We are taking full advantage and the first night was a couple of nights ago and we woke up bright and early, way before check out and hiked the Watchman Trail. We hiked directly to the trail head right from the campground. It took as 2 hours round trip, we left at 6:30 in the morning. The hike in total is a little over 3 miles. We knew we would not encounter the sun or the heat If we left nice and early because I did my research and knew we would be in the shade. As you can see from my photo, my skin is mostly protected from the sun.
It’s a beautiful hike! Some of the parts of this trail are tight and you are at the edge unprotected for plenty of it. Be careful and wear shoes with great traction If you ever get to hike this trail. At the end of the trail, before you turn around to come back, you come to a loop that takes you to the most spectacular views of the town of Springdale below and the magnificent Watchman Spires. The Watchman rises up 2200 feet and is quite commanding! We saw very few people on the whole trip. Though, funny story, when we were on the loop part of the trail and no one at all was around, I decided to do some stretching. It’s the kind of stretching only Joel should see. A stranger, a man, of course, comes around the bend and sees me, then starts talking to me and wonders if he is at the end of the trail. I stop stretching. Joel says, “No, there is a loop trail too and you are in luck! There is no one at all out here!” The dude says emphatically, “Well, ok, but I LIKE people!” We laughed and left to head back. We had quite the laugh at this fellow. I am fairly certain that guy is the only guy who is happy to run into other people on a beautiful trail like Watchman Trail in the middle, maybe the end, of a world-wide pandemic. Actually, I can’t even understand his way! I like people, pshaw! Anyway, as we are coming back down and towards the beginning of the trailhead we did start running into more hikers. The people liking guy had a wife and daughter too hiking with him, they were just farther behind him. By this time it was around 8:15am. It was an easy-moderate hike. My fear of heights makes it more moderate for me. People who don’t give a hoot about that, like Frankie, would find this trail extremely easy. I am sure glad I did this one! I think we might actually do it again in a couple of days. We have one more night at Watchman campground, but not for a couple of nights yet.
The top photo is at the trail head and the next photo is a panorama on the loop trail. In case you don’t know, the Watchman is the pointy tall peak at the end of this mountain. It is actually a bunch of spires together to make it like that. The hike has you climbing into the foothills of Bridge Mountain and the Watchman. The trail begins following the Virgin River upstream. There are lots of piñon pines, sagebrush and juniper in the sunny spots on the way up the dry trail. The rocks and mountains around you are stratified and super cool! It has been awhile since we hiked a public trail that has tight spots and only one way can go at a time. We forgot the trail etiquette of who has the right of way! So, we just stopped every time we encountered people whether we were hiking up or down. I just looked it up and the National Park Service says....”Hikers coming uphill have the right of way. If you are descending the trail, step aside and give space to the people coming up.” Now I’ve got it!!
HERE WE ARE AT THE END OF THE TRAIL ON THE LOOP PART
HERE I AM HIKING ALONG THE TRAIL...look how beautiful it is!