Sand Bench Trail

  • Shuttle Stop 5, [Zion Lodge]
  • Estimated Roundtrip Time: 5 hours
  • Distance: 7.6 miles/12.2 kilometers
  • Elevation Change: 466 feet/142 meters

About the Sand Bench Trail

Further down the Floor of the Valley Road you’ll find a small service road at the Court of the Patriarchs. There is no parking to speak of but the trams and buses have a drop off point right across the road from this trailhead. Walk across the street and down the short service road, past all the maintenance buildings and big red water tank to find the beginning of Sand Bench trail.

The first thing you will notice that separates this trail from most of the others is the horses. Sand Bench Trail is a popular horseback riding trail and can be busy with animal traffic during the summer afternoons. Hike this one early in the morning or late in the afternoon if you want to avoid packs of visitors on horseback.

Immediate after leaving the service area you’ll cross the Virgin River on a small footbridge taking you out into the hiking trail proper. The ground is often soft sand so be sure to wear supportive footwear and be ready for a bit of a push at times. The northwest trail comes to a split shortly after; the Emerald Pools are off to the northeast, our Sand Bench Loop is down to the southwest.

After leaving the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Peaks behind, the 7150’ Sentinel looms high off in the west and the trail splits again at the Sand bench Loop. From here it is about a mile and a half elongated loop that will take you down to the Streaked Wall giving you a magnificent view of this sandstone formation. The right fork will provide you with views of The Sentinel and all the natural debris of all the rockslides. The left fork will have you looking down the canyon, over the rock slopes to the river below.

Most of this trail is open to the scorching sun but there is a small juniper shaded picnic area dazzled with abundant wildflowers at the loop’s far end. Be sure to take advantage of the horse corral and restroom at the loop’s near end.