The trail is an easy two miles round trip. The climb is gradual, contouring up through the loose talus slope of Moenave siltstones and mudstones and then across the distinctive band of cliff–forming Springdale Sandstone of the Kayenta Formation. All the while, massive Navajo Sandstone cliffs tower above us like a sentinel.
|The Springdale Sandstone is a distinctive band below the massive Navajo Sandstone|
More of an early bird, I do not often find myself starting out on a hike in the late afternoon, so this day was special. The angled light of early February shifted dramatically on the already dramatic scenery of Zion. The play of late afternoon shadows on the rocks was mesmerizing.
|Mid-winter light and shadow soften the West Temple as seen from the Watchman trail|
|The distinctive band of Springdale Sandstone can be seen in lower Zion Canyon|
After a mile or so, the trail levels out on top of the Springdale Sandstone and loops around on a small, open tableland with views up and down Zion Canyon.
|View from the top - up canyon from the Watchman trail loop|
Did the groundhog see its shadow this year? I can’t remember, even thought it was only three weeks ago! However, as the winter sun inched towards the western cliffs we saw our own shadows lengthen, and soon were obliged to head back to my car. I thought of my half of a cup of cold coffee and the few bites of that tasty brownie that would sustain me on the ride home.
|Lucy takes her time going down the Watchman trail|
|A midwinter sunset reflects its light on The Watchman|