Despite starting at the main visitors center at the entrance to Zion National Park, the Watchman Trail is a lot less crowded than some of the park’s other notable trails and gives off great views of the park’s features and nearby town of Springdale.
The trail begins by winding next to the picturesque Virgin River until crossing a service road and heading into an incline. The trail heads into the north side of a canyon and continues to the very back, where it turns around 180 degrees to take you along the south of the same canyon, with a moderate upgrade the entire way.
Once you get to the mouth of the canyon on the south side, the trail loops around to give you spectacular views of Zion Canyon to the north and Springdale to the south. After completing the loop, you’ll head back down the way you came, with the Virgin River waiting at the end for a cool dip.
Directions: If in high season, use the Zion Canyon Visitor Center shuttle stop. Walk across the access road and turn left toward the Virgin River. Right before the bridge over the river, look to the right for the trailhead. If driving during the offseason, turn right immediately after paying to get into the park. Drive over the river and turn left into a dirt parking lot. The trail begins at the northwest corner of this lot.