Campground Review: Watchman Campground (Zion National Park)

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After our night at Kershaw-Ryan State Park, we set out on the short drive to Hurricane, UT. It was 106 degrees that day and we had some errands to run in town before setting off for Zion national Park and Watchman Campground. The drive into the park from Hurricane was absolutely stunning. This was my first visit, and I was in awe the entire drive.

We got checked in and made our way to our site, which I quickly fell in love with and wished we were staying longer. I had shade, was near the bathroom, and most surprisingly, we had electricity, which had me rejoicing as I was struggling with an isolator issue and batteries that were very low for the first part of the trip. The sites were good size and I felt like I had decent privacy. It was one of the few places where people were not constantly walking through our site, which was nice. The campground was set up in a really good way to prevent that (we noticed a huge lack of camper etiquette during this trip, which was a bit disheartening). Each site had a fire ring, which due to burn bans were not allowed to be used, and a picnic table. We also had water at our site. This was the first national park we have been to with power and water.

The bathrooms in our loop (the B loop) were updated and clean, however there were no showers at the campground. For our one night, this was not an issue though, and we didn’t have time for them anyway. We were very close to the entrance with Springdale just outside the gate (and a shuttle service and bike path can take you in easily so you can leave your car behind, and it is a short walk) and the visitor’s center where you can catch the shuttles up the valley. There are certain areas where you can not drive without a special pass due to the volume of traffic. It is only shuttle buses, which were fantastic and ran very frequently. We got settled in before racing to catch the shuttle up to the lodge for an evening Ranger talk.

The next morning we got up early, hitched up and took the cars and trailers to the Visitor’s Center parking, and hopped on the shuttle to try and get a hike or two in before the heat became too much. Check out was at 11:00a and we didn’t think we would be back in time, so this was a great solution and so easy. For our hike we DSC_6266decided on the Emerald Pools hike, which is at the same Shuttle Stop as beautiful Zion Lodge. We were going to do a short hike to the first pool, and then hike back out and get back on the shuttle to head up to the Riverwalk Hike. The kids had different ideas, and we ended up doing the whole 3+\- mile hike to the 3 pools. It is a beautiful hike and great for kids. We were in the shade a lot on the way up, but it did get pretty sunny and hot on our way out. Getting there early was a good idea and make sure you bring lots of water to drink.

DSC_6263With the heat coming in and the fact we were planning to drive to the Grand Canyon that night, it was time to head back after a quick lunch, dehydrating, and finishing up the Jr. Ranger packs.

We put our newest Jr. Rangers in the cars and started our drive, which took us through a section of the National Park we hadn’t seen on the shuttles. We were only able to drive through it, not taking time to get out and see things, but it left me with a sense of longing. I will go back one day and explore the park more and I will spend a few days doing it at least. It is an amazing place, and definitely needs more than 1 day.

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