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Zion National Park Watchman Hike
This trail does not go to Watchman itself but ends at a bench near the base of the Watchman spire. A few Zion landmarks are visible while hiking the Watchman Trail. This hike starts across the street from the Visitor's Center. You will pass junipers, pinyon pines, cactus, and cross a perennial spring. At the end of the trail from the loop there are panoramic views of the lower canyon, the town of Springdale, Oak Creek Canyon, and the Watchman.
The classic Watchman Trail is a moderate hike of 2.7 miles taking about two hours. The elevation gain is a mild 368 feet, which makes for a good family hike. At the end there is an optional loop around the bench. I strongly suggest taking some time at the loop. There is enough room for the family to spread out, play, and picnic around the loop.
There are a few minor drop-offs, but that is common in Zion. The well-maintained dirt path runs along the Virgin River for a short bit before running along the foot hills beneath the massive Bridge Mountain.
This trail is in full sun and through a hot desert environment. Take lots of water, wear good shoes, pace yourself, and take periodic breaks especially with children. This hike is better when it is colder since it tends to be one of the sunnier strolls.
Jason's thoughts - A good, steady, fairly good, middle of the road hike, kinda sunny.
Kelly's thoughts - A good hike the first time. Better the second time, because I made this a trail run. This was a little taxing being it was all uphill, but definitely a great workout. I spent some extra time walking around the loop and relaxing and taking some pictures. I ran downhill when I could. There are some rocky areas to this trail. That mixed with some drop-offs is not so cool.
Ben's thoughts - It was hard kinda getting up. It was fun making the stacks of rocks. It was hotter than the Emerald Pool trail.