Sand Bench Loop
Description: Sand Bench Loop takes you through the dry, sandy country of lower Zion Canyon. Not recommended as a hiking trail at all- but is better done by horseback.
Distance: 3.4 miles round trip
Highest Elevation: 4,710 Feet Above Sea Level
Jurisdiction: Zion National Park
The Sand Bench Loop Trailhead is located at the Court of the Patriarchs viewpoint, about 2 miles up Zion Scenic Canyon Drive. Canyon Rides offers a guided nose-to-tail trail horseback and mostly muleback trail ride on the Sand Bench Loop from March-October and they are the best option (unless you bring your own horse) to experience this trail. The reasons you should avoid hiking this trail by foot are sixfold:
1. The sand is deep and makes for heavy footsteps.
2. The trail is completely exposed to the sun making it incredibly hot, especially due to the deep, hot sand.
3. About 30 horses are going to pass you at least twice on your hike.
4. The trail, being traversed by 30 horses twice a day, is littered with manure.
5. You must cross the Virgin River- not enough to really have fun wading in the water like you do in The Narrows; but just enough to get your hiking boots wet before walking on the deep, hot sand again.
6. There are much better viewpoints of Zion Canyon all over the Park anyway.
If you do take the Sand Bench Loop either by foot or (hopefully) by horseback, these are the main points of interest you will see: The Court of the Patriarchs, The Streaked Wall, The Watchman, The East Temple, The Twin Brothers, and The Mountain of the Sun.