Watchman Campground is open year-round and is a great place to tent camp! Here are some tips for booking and staying at this popular Zion area.
Watchman Campground is a popular year-round campground within Zion National Park that caters to tent campers. It's the campground we picked when we visited, as it's conveniently located near Zion's south entrance.
It's one of three campgrounds within the park: Lava Point Campground is also great for tent camping, although it has a much shorter season because of its high elevation. It's about an hour's drive from the main Zion Canyon.
Are you hoping to camp at Zion? Here are some tips we took away from our most recent visit that might help you in planning a stay at Watchman Campground.
Reservations at Watchman Campground
You can make reservations online six months in advance.
Be aware that sites here are very popular, and often book up quickly (sometimes within minutes or hours).
If you're interested in avoiding crowds, you might want to consider going off-season. Here are some other tips for a less congested experience.
What can you do if no spots are available? And if you’ve got your heart set on camping within the park?
Keep checking for cancellations! Plans change, especially when they’re made so far in advance. Also, quite a few hikes in Zion require permits, and some campers may cancel their campground reservations if they don’t get the permit they were trying for. So keep checking!
If you want a backup plan, there are lots of free BLM (Bureau of Land Management) areas near Zion.
Does the view count as an amenity? I think it does.
Two campground loops offer electric.
There are both RV and tent sites, as well as some walk-in sites and tent-only group sites.
This campground has restrooms with flush toilets and sinks, which are supplied with toilet paper and hand soap.
There are no showers, no laundry and no camp store (not even for firewood and ice). There is a dump station.
Pay showers are typically available at Zion Outfitters, which is conveniently located right across the Zion entrance pedestrian bridge and only a five- to seven-minute walk from the campground.
However, during our recent visit, the showers at Zion Outfitters were closed for a whole week for maintenance, and we weren’t able to find any other pay showers in town.
There is a laundromat in town (which we didn’t end up using).
There was a market in Springdale (just across the pedestrian bridge) for basic food items, and there were several outdoor gear stores.
Both the market and the stores were on the pricey side, but it was nice knowing they were there! We ended up picking up two Smartwater bottles at the market before the overnight backpacking hike we did.
We found this to be a great campground with nicely spaced sites. Each site had a picnic table and fire ring.
Will I Have Cell Service at Watchman Campground?
On Verizon towers, we had about three bars at the campground and at the visitor center.
In Springdale, we typically had one or two bars (and our cell data didn’t work well).
Farther into the park itself, we only had a signal at some overlooks.
What Attractions Should I Check Out Once I'm There?
Some areas of the park require permits, as mentioned above. If you're able to obtain a permit to camp overnight in the backcountry, we highly recommend doing the West Rim Trail as a two-day route.