The Watchman Trail in Zion National Park is one of the shorter hikes originating from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center parking lot that offers great views up the Zion Canyon. It offers little shade, so it’s best to avoid the heat of the day and hike it in the morning or in the evening.
Kristen and I hiked this trail on a toasty day in mid-September of 2014. The trail follows along the shade of the Virgin River which is great, but then breaks away, crosses a road, then starts climbing up a drainage to an overlook. The south facing slope affords little respite from the shade. The heat makes the grade feel steeper than it is. Numerous little Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers and Scrub-Jays kept us company as we climbed up to the plateau with the overlook.
At the top of the plateau, it took a little bit of figuring out, but we found the loop that leads you to the great overlook, around to the neighboring drainage, then back to the same trail to head on back.
Overall a nice hike and a great addition to the collection of hikes in the canyon. It’s definitely a desert hike with cactus, junipers, etc without the springs, cool slot canyons, etc that hikes further up the canyon provide.