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 March through November each year.
Season Dates: Watchman Campground is open year-round. Advance reservations are available 6 months prior for stays March through Thanksgiving weekend in November. The campground has first-come, first-served campsites available from the end of November through February.
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. Use of OHVs and ATVs is prohibited in Zion National Park.
Toilets, drinking water and picnic tables are provided at this facility. Tent-only (F-Loop), non-electric sites (C & D Loop) do not permit vehicles 19 feet and over or in combined length. Group sites (E-Loop) are also tent-only and can accommodate between seven and 40 people. Standard electric sites in A-Loop may be used for either tent or RV camping. However, only RVs are permitted to occupy sites in the B-Loop. There are no full-hookup campsites. Electric sites are all 30 amp, with only a handful of sites that supply 50 amp; a dump station with potable water is available at the entrance to the campground.
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 campground. Cottonwood trees surrounding the campsite turn golden in the fall. Most of the campsites are in partial to full sun, however in the Group sites (E-Loop) and the Walk-To sites (F-Loop) visitors may receive some shade under pergulas that are constructed over the picnic tables. Visitors can also 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.
The town of Springdale has shopping, art galleries, restaurants, and a public library. Throughout the year, concerts, festivals, and parades are held in the town.
Charges & Cancellations
Individual Site: A $10.00 service fee will apply if you change your reservation. Cancellations more than 48 hours in advance of arrival date incur a $10 cancellation fee. Within 48 hours of arrival, a $10 cancellation fee and the first night's fee are charged.
Group Site: Customers who cancel a group overnight reservation less than 14 days before the arrival date will pay a $10.00 service fee AND forfeit the first night's use fee.
ADA Access: N
The campsite is right inside the park if entering from the south gate. The sites can be a little close together with no real separation between groups. However, there's enough space that you won't bother each other. Another plus of this campground is how close you are to the shuttles. But you can also hike from the campground as a main trail passes right by. It's an awesome feeling camping in the valley as the sun sets and hits the rock faces. Overall a good experience and location.
This really is one of the best campgrounds we’ve ever stayed in with our travel trailer and is a must if you’re planning to visit the park.
The sites are well-spaced and feel more secluded than you’d think thanks to the shrubbery between the sites. We stayed in the A loop, which had beautiful large pads and were situated perfectly for all sites in the loop to get great views. B loop looks a little more cramped, with smaller pads.
The best thing about Watchman, though, is its proximity to everything. You’re walking distance to the visitor center, Springdale’s restaurants and shops, and some smaller trails. We didn’t need to move our truck the whole time. And it still manages to feel like you’re camping in the middle of a national park. If we can ever land a reservation here again, we’ll be back in a heartbeat!
Pros: clean, level sites, close to shuttles. Cons: crowded campground, sites too close to each other.
Watchman campground is just inside the gates of Zion National Park. It's located right next to the visitors center and the two shuttles routes, making it wonderfully convenient to get around both inside the park and the bordering town. The camp site itself was partially shaded, well kept and level. A picnic bench and a fire pit sat under the shaded area. The bathrooms we're close and in decent shape. Flush toilets, multiple stalls and sinks.
We were in Loop A. The campsites were nestled between two giant rock formations. Incredibly beautiful. Sites aren’t private, but the scenery is so beautiful it is worth it. The bathrooms also have a dish washing sink behind it which I loved and had never seen before.
Location is amazing for getting to trails and hikes in Zion quickly. The shuttle pick up/drop off is a 5 minute walk from the campground. We went in August so it was VERY hot and no fires were allowed so bring a propane grill or check online before for fire restrictions. Most of the sites are shaded to some degree, some completely shaded and others less, odds are good you’ll have some shade. Multiple bathrooms near by with water for washing up, doing dishes etc. Water didn’t say it was/wasn’t potable but we had bottled water anyways. Make sure you have hard-sided containers for food because deer and squirrels roam around and they WILL chew through whatever they can to get your food. Springdale is 2 mins drive away where there are restaurants, gas stations, gear rentals, markets, hotels, cafes and anything else you could ever need. The river runs real close to the camp so you could cool off during the day.. When we went there was high levels of algae so we were unable to swim there. Will stay there again but in the cooler season. Book early because the sites are 100% full everyday.
It really should be no surprised with the popularity of the Big 5, but the campground was packed. After a little snafu with our reservation, we were permitted to camp in an RV site with our tent. Needless to say, it was a little loud with the generators purring throughout the night.
Make sure you start any hike early in the morning as everything fills quickly.
Also, be sure to utilize the reservation system during peak season. Despite the snafu, if we had not had a reservation, we would have been out of luck.
I've visited Zion a couple of times and have stayed at the South Campground. This trip I stayed at the Watchman Campground. We arrived into Zion around mid-day and immediately hit the trails.
I hiked the Angels Landing Trail while my friend hiked some other trails. We finished at around 4pm then drove into town for a bite to eat. We ended up eating at the Thai Sapa Restaurant right outside the park in the nearby town of Springdale.
I knew that there were not showers within Zion NP so I inquired where I might be able to find a pay shower within Springdale. I was directed to the nearby Zion Outfitters Store. Attached to the store there is a shower room and laundry room that anyone can use. The showers operate on tokens that you can purchase from a machine and cost $4 for about 5 minutes. After showering, we ventured back into Zion NP to find a campground.
We were camping in the winter time, so the park was pretty empty and we had our pick of campsites. We drove around the grounds and found a spot close to the restroom. The restrooms do have sinks and toilets, but no showers. We were camping in a campervan, so setting up camp was easy. We simply pulled into a space, paid our camping fee at the after hours kiosk and we were all good.
We didn't really have a chance to explore the campground much. But the real advantage of this campground is that it is conveniently located within the park. During Spring, Summer and Fall you can access the free shuttle. And it is close to the exit of the park so that you can easily travel to the nearby town of Springdale to pick up any supplies, shower or do laundry.
We had the most incredible time the first 2 days we just were around the campground not even wanting to leave. We enjoyed our stay and loved the park. Definitely will be back!!
This campground is a two minute walk to the Zion National Park Visitor Center, which is also the first shuttle stop into the park. We had a walk in tent site which had a sun structure, picnic table, and a metal box to safely store food from critters. The mule deer often could be seen in the campground. There were flush toilets and a dish washing station close by and the sites were spaced for privacy. They also had lovely views of the Watchman overlooking the campground. We loved it!
We loved this campsite! It is at the base of the canyon and surrounded by beautiful trees which provide nice shade during the day. The campsite is also within walking distance to the visitors center (which has free wifi if you need) and to the shuttle. The shuttle is by far the best way to explore this National Park. Take advantage of it!
The campsite itself was very clean. The bathrooms were also impressive! Very clean with toilet paper and soap provided. There is also a dishwashing station at each bathroom which is very convenient. You can walk into town or take the free shuttle to access some locations in town that provide showers for a fee (~$5-$7). Firewood can also be purchased in town.