5 min read



This was the third park on our Utah roadtrip and it didn't disappoint. We stayed at Watchman Campground just in the park near the visitor center. This campground is walking distance to the visitor center, bus stop, and town of Springfield. Springfiled is just outside the park and the only place near by that has amenities. There is a little strip of a "downtown" just next to the visitor center that has Zion Brewing , showers and little food market. This was the best place for a fresh beer or ice cream after a long hot day of hiking.

Camping out here was beautiful at night. You could see millions of stars and we even lucked out and saw the milky way one night. We went in August of 2021 on our trip and the weather was great. It did get pretty hot by mid day, but we just started each day hiking early to beat the afternoon heat. Starting the day early also helped with the crowds and overall it wasn't too crowded while we were on the hikes. The evenings were really comfortable and cool as the sunset. We again had crazy desert canyon winds here at night, but thankfully we did a good job securing the tent so nothing blew away.

Overall we liked Zion way more than I thought we would. It was really convenient where everything was in the park. Big plus was that after all the driving we had done we didn't need to do any driving in this park since you have to take a bus in the park to get around.

Quick run down of the trip:

Stay: Watchman Campground

Day One

  • The Narrows

Day Two

  • Watchman Trail
  • Emerald Pools

Day One

  • Hikes: The Narrows
  • Miles Hiked: 7 miles

Our first full day at Zion National Park we got up really early to take the 7am bus into the park. It was great staying at the campground just inside the park, we just walked over to the visitor center and hopped in line for the bus. We lucked out and there wasn't a ticketing reservation for the bus anymore, it was first come first serve. Not too many people were getting their day started already so we were able to hop on a bus right away. We had big plans for our first day to hike The Narrows.

After a few days of driving it was nice to just relax on the bus and have that take us to the hikes. As you got farther into the park the views got really pretty! Lots of tall red rocks, the bus drove in kinda a canyon with rock cliffs on both sides.



The Narrows was a fun first hike in the park. It lived up to the hype. When we got to the river we had our choice of walking sticks since we were there so early. All along the side at the start there were various size walking sticks, these were really helpful for balancing on the wet rocks and checking the water depth at different points. We both grabbed a stick and got walking. Leading up to this trip we had bought water shoes for this trail and it was worth it. Happy we didn't have our normal hiking shoes soaked.

At the beginning of the hike there was a little bit of a crowd but as we went farther there were less and less people.


It was a fun challenge walking on rocks and water for the hike. We were happy it was summer since the water is a bit cold, but overall felt refreshing on a hot summer day.


A fun part about this trail is that it just keeps on going and going so you can choose how far you want to go before turning around. Also as you go the water depth changes from barely covering your shoes to well over your shoulders. We ended walking for over 2 hours one way then turned around when the water got too deep to walk through. It ended up being just about 7 miles of hiking back out to the bus shuttle.



When we got back to the entrance of the river we left our walking sticks for the next group of folks to use. When we started the day there were ton and tons of walking sticks at the entrance, by the time we finished there were very few left.


After a morning of hiking we took some time to relax at the campground. We played a little bit of rock stack and chess while getting shade from the car trunk.



That evening we walked over to town to take a shower and grab a beer. There are no showers at the campground but in town there are showers you can pay for. We freshened up then headed to Zion Brewing for some food and beer. After a hot afternoon at the campground, a nice cold beer tasted great!

Day Two

  • Hikes: Watchman Trail & Emerald Pools Trail
  • Miles Hiked: 6 miles

We got up, packed our backpacks and headed out for another day of hiking. The first hike was just past the visitor center so we didn't need to take the bus farther into the park. We hiked the Watchman Trail which is a 3 mile round trip hike. This was my favorite hike of the trip. We did it in the morning before it was too hot so we had a bit of shade on the way up. The views as you walk up the trail are so pretty. You climb through through the canyon to get really pretty views above of the park. The top has some really cool gnarly trees.



After Watchman hike we headed back to pack up camp and do one last hike farther in the park before we headed to our next national park. We took the bus and hiked the emerald pools trail.


Since it was the end of summer there was not really any water at the pools but it was still a pretty hike and the rock cliffs were really interesting.



After another fun 6 mile hiking day we headed out to our next stop on the trip, Bryce Canyon. We made it there in time to see sunset over the canyon. Details on that park here.