The Watchman Trail is a short trail (3-miles round trip) that starts by the Visitor Center and leads to a viewpoint on top of the first layer of cliffs roughly 300 feet above. This trail doesn't actually take you to the top of the Watchman Mountain, but from the viewpoint you can get a good view of the peak to the south, as well as a good bird's eye view of the whole Visitor Center complex below. During the afternoon heat of summer, this hike could be torture, so the early morning is the best time for this one, especially when this side of the main canyon is still in the shade. The habitat here included the cliffs above, as well as the dry desert, and boulder strewn hillsides. Some oak and juniper dot the landscape as well.
A close walk from the visitor center and campgrounds this trail can easily be done for the scenery with the birding as a bonus. Species typical of the drier portions of the park are found here with JUNIPER TITMOUSE, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATHCER, CANYON and ROCK WREN, WESTERN BLUEBIRD, and SPOTTED TOWHEE being typical finds. Other juniper bound species are also encountered here while some riparian species like SUMMER TANAGER and LUCY's WARBLER are occaionally seen at the trail head. Although there aren't any specialty birds here that you won't come across elsewhere in the park, if you have some time and are in the area, its worth the hike for the views.
All Zion National Park hot spots directions in Zion Canyon, or to the east will orignate from the visitor center parking lot for consistency. Anything in the north and west sides of the park will come from the nearest major instersection. From the visitor center walk to the trail just on the north side and follow it across the road staying on the southside of the Virgin River. The trail continues 1.3 miles then a .5 mile loop can be hiked at the end.