Sand Bench Trail

MODERATE 100 reviews
#30 of 101 trails in

Sand Bench Trail is a 5.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Springdale, Utah that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 5.6 miles Elevation Gain: 728 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

hiking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

no dogs

Directions from South Entrance: Drive northward to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center and take the shuttle into the canyon. For the full trail Disembark from the shuttle at the Zion Lodge. For the shorter trail Disembark from the shuttle at the Court of the Patriarchs Viewpoint. Hikers should cross the scenic drive and use the foot bridge to access the Sand Bench trail.

hiking
8 days ago

This is such an underrated trail! There were beautiful 360 views during the loop portion of the trail and was well worth the hike. We decided to shorten it up a bit by parking at the Court of Patriarchs and starting at the trail head there instead of going all the way to the lodge. We followed as the reviews said and went clockwise around the loop (go left at the split) and strongly suggest doing so; the trail is primarily sand so it’s slow going, but definitely doable and worth it. We only passed one other couple the entire time, so if you’re looking for a path less traveled, this is it!

hiking
15 days ago

We took an afternoon stroll on this trail. Kids had fun playing along the river. We saw few deers by the river.

hiking
17 days ago

Gorgeous views from the loop. Not many people on the trail, no snow.

hiking
21 days ago

This trail offers a unique view of sandy habitat with desert plants and oak trees. The trail is mostly sandy.

hiking
muddy
25 days ago

Completed - Dec 23, 19 This trail is a hidden gem - I am not sure why I didn’t try this one before. Great views of the canyon all along. We pretty much had the trail to ourselves - literally ran into just 3 other fellow hikers. I would suggest doing the 2.5 mile loop part of the trail clockwise to optimize the views. Also, for most part, it’s sandy which increases the difficulty level; we did it on a rainy day so the sand was pressed which helped a little bit. The trail is also shared by the horse rides - just FYI.

hiking
muddy
25 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

If you want an less crowded hike you will get fewer people here. However in the summer horses use this trail so you may have to step off the trail to let the horses pass. True to it name there is a lot of sand to negotiate which make this hike a little more strenuous.

hiking
3 months ago

Very sandy, made the hike surprisingly challenging. I didn't see a single person on the trail when I was there in mid August on a weekday. A refreshing change of pace from Angel's Landing. Stunning views

hiking
3 months ago

deep sand, easy hike but slow going . beautiful canyon views.

hiking
3 months ago

Nous avons fait l'erreur de faire la boucle dans le sens anti horaire. La montée dans le sable était rude ! Cependant les vues de la descente sont magnifique. Et le plaisir d'être seul sur le trail n'a pas de prix.

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

My boyfriend and I did this trail to get away from the crowds and it worked - we saw only a handful of people on the hike. We started at the Court of the Patriarchs, it was a little tricky to find the start of the trail as you have to cross the byway and go up a bit on a side road before the trail is accessible. From there, we followed signs to the loop and took the advice from reviews on here and went clockwise (which I also recomend). The trail itself wasnt overly difficult, but its easy to forget how tiring it can be to hike through sand for extended periods of time. Also, it's worth noting that because the trail is horse-friendly, there was a large amount of horse excrement on the path and, subsequently, lots of flies.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike! Beautiful views! We started at Court of the Patriarchs. The amount of sand in the loop seems downplayed in some reviews. It is DEEP and seemed to go forever when you go counter clockwise. Don’t make the same mistake we did and go counter clockwise around the loop. I wish I had read the reviews and gone clockwise, it would’ve been more enjoyable. This trail should be rated closer to moderate since there are areas that the sand sits on top of rock and creates a surface that needs caution since it is sloped. Wear shoes that won’t let the fine sand in.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail off the beaten path with great views. Incredibly underrated and not too many other hikers. You can start the hike from shuttle stop 4 (Court of the Patriarchs) and skip the first mile which is boring, muddy, and full of horse dung. Recommend taking the loop clockwise, as others have mentioned. Great views of the south side of canyon. Beware of sand and horse poop but definitely still worth the views.

7 months ago

We did this today and started at Emerald Pools. It was so muddy and very slow in the beginning and honestly just follows the river so not much views. I would recommend starting at Court of the Patriarchs to avoid the mud. Completing the loop clockwise is a must and makes the whole hike worth it! Great views and we were the only ones there. it opened up to a beautiful clearing with the tall rock walls surrounding it. So worth it. It was slick and slow on parts because if the rain but doable for sure!

hiking
scramble
8 months ago

Nice trail with great views with almost no people. Agree with the advice in previous review to start from the Court of the Patriarchs, cross the bridge, and join the loop there. You should do this during the day while the crowds are doing Angel's Landing, then when you come back, do Angel's Landing towards end of day when crowds are gone!

hiking
9 months ago

This provided some good views of the surrounding canyon that we didn’t see elsewhere in the park but we would probably rate it as our least favorite hike we did in Zion. Didn’t see until afterwards that if you go clockwise around the loop you don’t have to deal with as much sand. Some places you can walk on the sides of the trail and avoid it but if you go on this hike, expect to encounter some sand. Trail would probably be pretty messy in the rain.

hiking
bugs
9 months ago

Nice view. Very Sandy. Watch out for horse dune and horse flies.

hiking
9 months ago

Good starter hike. Definitely take the left route at the fork as the ground is more stable for an uphill climb than the right side. Very sandy as expected. Good views throughout.

hiking
muddy
9 months ago

Exceeded our expectations. It’s a lollipop hike with slight gain to truly awe-inspiring views. The lower section is quite muddy (it’s early spring and was drizzling throughout the morning) but very doable. It’s a horse trail so we needed to stick to the sides of the trail since the center was unusable with horse hooves creating deep puddles. Just wear good shoes and you will be fine. Along the path we came across half a dozen mule deer. At the loop, go clockwise to save you from climbing in deep sand (much easier on the descent). As you climb to about 700 feet above the canyon floor, you gain epic views of the soaring canyon walls. Snow capped and brilliant red, truly breathtaking. This is a good family hike

running
10 months ago

Pretty easy trail with some broken pavement on the hills. Used as a horse trail so expect to well... smell horses. If you go right at the fork it’s uphill in fairly soft sand, that’s what we did so ended up being some power hiking. Great view from the top and beautiful greenery in the loop. Took just over an hour at a steady pace but weren’t working too hard. It’s a very runnable trail if you have a good level of fitness.

hiking
10 months ago

Started this trail from Zion Lodge and wasn’t expecting much at first. It’s about 1.5 miles to the loop from there and the views are only okay up until this point. Once you get into the loop it’s absolutely incredible. I did not expect these kinds of views on this hike and it turned out to be one of my favorites. We did the entire 5.6 in about 2 1/2 hours but were moving at a good pace. Highly recommend to anyone

hiking
muddy
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

This is one of my favorite Zion Hikes. The views Just keep coming and coming and coming. Most of this hike is on sand so it's pretty comfortable. We enjoyed watching some

hiking
10 months ago

Fun hike with great views. If you take the path from the Court of Patriarchs bus stop then the hike is less than 4 miles and only takes about 2 hours. We accidentally did this, however we still got all the great views that the trail had to offer. Definitely go clockwise around the loop to avoid climbing steep sand.

Tue Dec 18 2018

used Marvin's suggestion. started at Court of the Patriarchs. Just after the footbridge went left (arrow suggests right) onto the narrower path, which as Marvin describes goes along a small stream. crossed once and met up with Sand Bench where it crosses. We didn't go left to the loop, but right up to where the horse fences are. then right to see the breathtaking view and down. short, but sweet.

hiking
Sun Oct 14 2018

This hike is a hidden gem in Zion. We didn't see many people and the views are wonderful. On my map, the distance was measured as 2.5 miles - it felt longer. After reading other reviews, it seems only the loop is actually 2.5 miles. There is a lot of sand, but it sorta adds to the hike. The views are killer. We're so happy we did this trail. Definitely go clockwise around the loop!

Thu Apr 05 2018

The trail has DEEP SAND. 100% BRING HIKING POLES. it was in the 40s when we did it, but after having done East Rim / Observation point, we thought that only 700ft wouldn't be bad. it was grueling for sure. BUT The views of the lower canyon are breathtaking. it was a rough hike but was worth every minute of it. last thing, at the split (A sign that says ⬅️Sand Bench Loop ➡️) GO CLOCKWISE. That way, you climb the steeper part on stone, and have a more gentle climb on Sand coming back around the other side. Tough hike, but worth it.

hiking
Tue Mar 06 2018

Begin by crossing the Virgin River using the foot bridge on the other side of the road from the Zion Lodge. The trail will be lined with cactus and cottonwoods as you parallel the river for most of the hike... al under the stunning red pock walls of the canyon.

Sat Feb 03 2018

I hiked this trail the last week in October. The loop part of the trail at that time was entirely very deep, soft sand — like walking the beach above high tide. It was grueling and so unpleasant, particularly on an exposed trail on a hot day, that I turned around, the first time I’ve ever done that (and general fitness is not the issue; I’d hiked Angel’s Landing that morning). Perhaps at other times of the year when the ground is more solid this is a better trail, but as I found it I could not recommend it. On the plus side, the views were good and I had no horse by-products to contend with.

hiking
Mon Nov 07 2016

I really loved this easy, pretty hike. No pavement, just a nice, soft trail. I went in November and the horses had already stopped using the trail and there was a little poop on the trail, but who cares? Only saw one other person the whole time, which was also nice.

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