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Attention : April 15-16 2014: Some sites in Watchman Campground will be unavailable for reservation on these nights. A biological spray (Bt) that is toxic only to caterpillars will be applied to the tree canapy of the campgrounds to reduce excessive numbers of caterpillars and droppings that constantly fall from trees in April/May and adversely affect many visitors' camping experience. There are no hazards to humans or other animals associated with this product.

WATCHMAN CAMPGROUND, UT

Photo: WATCHMAN CAMPGROUND
Status: Open through Fri Mar 06 2015   Season Dates
 

Overview

For visitors to Zion National Park, Watchman Campground is an ideal place to stay. Located near the park's south entrance, the campground is just a short walk from the main visitor center, the Zion Canyon Shuttle System and the adjacent town of Springdale. The canyon and most of the park's trails are only accessible by shuttle bus from approximately April to October each year; however, Watchman Campground is open year-round.

Natural Features:

Zion is known for it's dynamic geologic history and Watchman Campground is no exception. Named for the rocky peak that rises above it, the campground is surrounded by tall sandstone cliffs that glow red and orange during sunrise and sunset. The Virgin River, a narrow but powerful river that has carved out the canyon over time, runs adjacent to the site. Cottonwood trees surrounding the the campsite turn golden in the fall. Although the campground is moderately forested, most of the campsites are in partial to full sun but visitors can cool off in the cold river when temperatures peak during summer.

Be Advised: The months of April and May bring an unusual infestation of Tent Caterpillars, which fall from trees onto tents, tables, and unsuspecting campers and can make it quite uncomfortable to sit outside. The months of July and August in particular bring a higher concentration of ants in the campsites, which seem to come out especially after the monsoons, but are present all summer long. Insecticidal treatment by visitors is not permitted.

Recreation:

Hikers can access three trails directly from the facility: the Watchman Trail, a moderate trail that ascends the peak behind the campground; the Archeology Trail, which offers a light hike to an archeological site nearby; and the Pa'rus Trail, a paved walking and biking trail that runs alongside the river, and the only trail in the park that allows dogs.

Although there are no rock climbing routes in the campground, many popular climbs are within a short shuttle bus ride into the main canyon.

Facilities:

Toilets, drinking water and picnic tables are provided at this facility. Tent-only, non-electric sites do not permit vehicles 19 feet and over or in combined length. Group sites are also tent-only and can accommodate between nine and 40 people. Standard electric sites have electrical hookups and most can be used for either tent or RV camping (two are wheelchair accessible). There are no full-hookup campsites; a dump station is available for campers. Use of OHVs and ATVs is prohibited in Zion National Park.

Nearby Attractions:

The town of Springdale has shopping, art galleries, amenities and a theater that shows both natural history and mainstream films.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Sites
  • Amphitheater
  • Bus Stop
  • Comfort Station
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Fire Rings
  • Flush Toilets
  • Hiking
  • Host
  • Parking Area
  • Picnic Area
  • Ranger Station
  • Recycling
  • Trash Collection
  • Visitor Center
Know Before You Go
  • Between the busy season of April 1 through November 1, campers may stay a maximum of 14 days total in Watchman Campground. Between November 1 through March 31, campers may stay a maximum of 30 days total. This includes the non-reservation, self-registration season of December through February.
  • Sites with electric hookups allow no more than three tents in addition to one RV (motorhome/fifth-wheel/pop-up)
  • Generators are not permitted at any time in the campground
  • A separate park entrance fee of $25 per vehicle is required; pass is valid for seven days; interagency passes are accepted
  • Gathering firewood is not allowed; during hot and dry summer months, fire restrictions are common and campfires (including charcoal fires) may be prohibited
  • Single or combined vehicles over 50 ft. long are prohibited from traveling through the park between the east entrance and the campground; if your total length is greater than 50 ft., you must enter the park through the south entrance near the town of Springdale
  • Vehicles taller than 13 ft. are prohibited from traveling through the park. Additionally, trees in the campground are not trimmed to accommodate vehicles of this size. Camping equipment may experience significant damage for which the NPS is not responsible.
  • Vehicles 7'10" in width or 11'4" in height or larger require one-lane traffic control through the Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel, located between the East Entrance and Zion Canyon; nearly all RVs, trailers, fifth-wheels, dual-wheel trucks and campers require traffic control; visitors requiring traffic control must purchase a $15 tunnel permit per vehicle; each permit is valid for two trips through the tunnel for the same vehicle during a seven day period; the Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel is open for over-sized vehicles from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., May through September with reduced hours October through April
  • There are no shower or laundry facilities located in the park
  • If using an Interagency Lifetime Pass for a camping fee discount, the pass must be present upon check-in
  • Map of Zion National Park

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
37.19861, -112.98639
37°11'55"N, 112°59'11"W

From Las Vegas, St. George or other points south on Interstate 15: Travel north to Exit 16, State Route 9. Follow State Route 9 east for 32 miles to the south entrance of Zion National Park. Turn right after entrance station; the campground ranger station is at the end of the road.

From Salt Lake City, Interstate 70 or other points north on Interstate 15: Travel south to Exit 27, State Route 17. Follow State Route 17 for 6.1 miles to State Route 9. Turn left onto State Route 9 and drive 23 miles to the south entrance of Zion National Park. Turn right after entrance station; the campground ranger station is at the end of the road.

From Grand Canyon National Park, Lake Powell, Kanab or other points south on U.S. 89: Travel north to State Route 9. Turn left and follow State Route 9 west for 13 miles to the east entrance of Zion National Park. Continue straight for 13 miles then turn left at the signs for the Visitor Center and Watchman Campground; the campground ranger station is at the end of the road.

From Bryce Canyon National Park, Panguitch or other points north on U.S. 89: Travel south to State Route 9. Turn right and follow State Route 9 west for 13 miles to the east entrance of Zion National Park. Continue straight for 13 miles then turn left at the signs for the Visitor Center and Watchman Campground; the campground ranger station is at the end of the road.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

WATCHMAN CAMPGROUND
S.R. 9
Springdale UT 84767

Phone Number:

Campground-Only Information: (435)772-3837; Park-Related Information: (435)772-3256