Sand Bench Trail

EASY 19 reviews
#35 of 88 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 good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

5.6 miles
728 feet

kid friendly



horseback riding

nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


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.

5 months ago

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.


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.

7 months ago

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.

Monday, November 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.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Difficulty depends on which part of the trail you choose. The section of trail that runs from the junction with the Emerald Pools Trail near the Lodge and the footbridge over the Virgin River down to the junction with the trail that runs out to the road at Court of the Patriarchs is easier. It is approximately a mile and a half one way measuring between the two trail junctions and is generally rolling hills with nothing steep or precarious. Very nice views of the river and the mountains on the opposite side of the river and deer and wild turkeys can be seen at times. The other part of the trail is more difficult and includes the loop, generally known as "Sand Bench Loop". It can be accessed from Court of the Patriarchs via a road and trail that leads to a footbridge across the river and then to a trail junction. The distance is a little under a half mile to here and the left fork is taken to go to the loop. The trail goes through mostly forested land and a small stream can be crossed without any trouble. The trail begins to climb and then there is a trail junction for the loop. A sign at this junction gives the distance of the loop itself as 2.5 miles but my Garmin put it as closer to 2.8 miles. Whichever fork is taken there is a climb from the loop junction. If the left fork is taken there's a climb of about 1.2 miles with a grade of 7.1%. If the right fork is taken the climb is about .9 mile and the grade is 7.4%. I did the loop clockwise. On the left fork the trail is rather narrow and sunken in places and there are rock steps built in a couple of places. Footing can be tricky. There are some very nice views of the mountains on the opposite side of the river from this left fork and from one or two spots you can see the Virgin River below. Deer can also be seen along this part of the trail and I saw a number of them including a buck. There is no potable water along these trails so of course bring plenty of your own. Now, a note of caution. These are horse trails and horseback rides start from a point near the Scenic Drive. So yes, there is horse manure along these trails; if that bothers you then don't go. But you can avoid the horses and riders themselves by choosing the season or hour for your hike. The season for the rides is generally during the warmer months, and I believe there are only two rides daily on the loop trail, so you can avoid them by hiking early or late in the day. These trails are not particularly popular and receive light usage. I did the loop portion of the trail in late January and saw no one on it. The other section gets a little more traffic but you won't see many people. I've always been on a weekday so I don't know for certain what it's like on a weekend but it likely will be a little busier. But if you like solitude during your hiking then this is the one for you!

horseback riding
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Do this trail on horseback, not on foot. Even in the off-season, the leftovers from the horses make this trail very messy.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

This trail is very easy but offers a wide variety of exploratory opportunities. It follows the river bed and there are tons of deer and evidence of other animals in the area such as beaver, rabbits, fox. It is a great was to relax and explore the valley. The fall trees added such beauty to the red rocks and river. Lots of fun. great for kids....I mean ME!!!! hahaha

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Actually rode this trail on horses with my children. Does that count. Beautiful views from a different vantage point.

2 months ago

7 months ago

8 months ago

10 months ago

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday, May 28, 2016

horseback riding
Tuesday, May 03, 2016