Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
789.00 ft (240.49 m)
Trail type
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Sand Bench Trail in Zion National Park is a lollipop loop trail that offers spectacular views of the “Patriarchs” and unique vistas down to the Virgin River and Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Despite the grand views, the Sand Bench Trail is not very popular for two main reasons. First, as the name implies, it is quite sandy. The areas of deep sand found along the trail turn the mild uphill stretches into leg-burners. Second, the trail is used by the park for horse tours during the months of March-October. Therefore the Sand Bench Trail is best hiked during the winter season when these large horse groups can be avoided.

The trail is best started from the Court of the Patriarchs Trailhead & Shuttle Bus stop. To find the start of the trail, follow the service road back to some NPS maintenance facilities. You’ll see the trail to the right of the buildings as it crosses over the Virgin River on a footbridge. This first stretch of the Sand Bench Trail offers stunning views directly toward the Court of the Patriarchs.

Next you’ll come to a junction where you’ll follow the trail to the left (south). After crossing a small stream you’ll come to another junction. This is the beginning of the loop. If heading counter-clockwise you will begin a gradual climb that is unfortunately made much more difficult due to deep sand. The Sentinel (7,047 feet) will be to your right and, as you reach the top of the slight climb, you’ll be walking atop a massive ancient landslide that was caused by a large piece of The Sentinel collapsing.

At the far end of the loop is a rest area with hitching posts for horses, a picnic table and vault toilet. The second half of the loop follows near the edge of the bench and offers several spectacular viewpoints looking east across the Virgin River and Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, with prominent peaks including Mount Spry (5,689 feet), Twin Brothers (6,821 feet) and Mountain of the Sun (6,696 feet) just across the valley.

The Sand Bench Trail then descends slightly from the bench and rejoins the first stretch of trail. Follow the familiar route back to the trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Open Year-round



River views.


Heavy horse usage March-October. Very sandy in places.

Trailhead Elevation

4,254.00 ft (1,296.62 m)

Highest point

4,735.00 ft (1,443.23 m)


Family friendly
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required




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