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Rodeo, New Mexico
December 7, 2005
We’d checked out Watchman’s layout before, so knew that we wanted a site on A-loop, smaller and more open than B-loop. The campground is composed of five loops, A through E. A and B-loops are for RVs and have electric hookups, and many riverside sites. Group sites (E-loop), C-loop for tents only, and walk-in campsites were closed for the season. D-loop remained open for tents. Watchman Campground has a different “feel” from South Campground, in that the sites are distinctly segregated between RVer and tent sites.
We picked a riverside site, at which the Virgin River wasn’t visible from the site itself, due to an embankment built to protect the campground during flashfloods. This embankment also serves as a cottonwood shaded path that leads to the entrance station and visitor center. Even when not seen, the river makes its presence known through its voice, the continuous, melodious rushing of water flowing at a good pace. Across the river we spied buildings that we at first mistook for park administration. After I crossed the bridge just north of the campground at the Visitor Center, though, I found myself in the northernmost section of the town of Springdale. A convenient grocery store, several restaurants, a gift shop, and an IMAX theater made up the complex.
At our campsite, we enjoyed watching squirrels frolic around the barbecue pit, and the many birds attracted to the riparian environment. There’s a bit less human commotion in the RV loops at Watchman, than at South Campground, due to a complete restriction on the use of generators, and no noisy tenters, who tend to get a bit exuberant outdoors after enough beers and giddiness from campfire smoke.
During non-reservation season, Watchman runs itself using a self-pay station, and campground hosts are quick to check out new arrivals as well as make sure campers leave when they’re supposed to. Six restrooms are scattered throughout the five loops. A day-use picnic area borders the north end of A-loop. If prizes were given out for most scenic dump stations, Watchman Campground would surely be a contender. The campground’s namesake, imposing Watchman Peak, stands guard behind and far above the dump area.
Cost: $18/site, $20 riverside site, half-price Golden Age or Eagle passports.
From journal Mukuntuweap – Splendors of Zion
San Diego, California
June 10, 2003
All the campsites had firepits and picnic tables. There are not any bears in the region, so no "bear boxes" for your food. The ground is a little rocky, but most sites have trees to shade any size tent. A nice breeze came up each night to help cool off the canyon, where temperatures can reach above 100 degrees in the summer. The RV areas have spots where they have just planted trees, so if you plan on camping in a RV it might be in a really sunny spot.
This campground is reservation only, and during the summer you should book your site well in advance or chance it with the South Campground. The only other campground in the valley, South Campground, is first-come, first-serve. During the summer, there are evening presentations put on by the park rangers, covering topics ranging from park geology and history to projects to protect certain animal and plant species.
From journal Zion Discovered