Hiking the Sand Bench Loop Trail - Zion National Park
Imagine for a moment a hike in Zion that is beautiful, family-friendly and not crowded with people. You're probably thinking, no, that isn't possible. Well, I am here to tell you it is! This trail is amazing! You get views of iconic mountains, a lovely bridge, and a stream filled with frogs and tadpoles in the spring and summer.
1.25 mile loop
This trail has very little elevation gain, but for the majority of the hike you are walking in fine sand.
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You get off on the Court of the Patriarchs stop (Stop #3) and cross the street to the river. You will walk past a horse stable and a watershed and then you will come to a beautiful bridge. Head to the right after you pass the bridge.
You will walk past a horse stable and a watershed and then you will come to a beautiful bridge. Head to the right after you pass the bridge. The way I like to do this hike is not the way that is advertised, or how I have ever seen it described online.
The way I do this hike with my kids makes it much shorter than advertised and it also only puts you on the horse trail for about 1/3 mile. After you take a right at the bridge, you will soon come to an area where there are wood posts for horses to be tied up. After you pass the wood posts, as long as you don't take any paths going to the right and always go to the left, you will loop back around to the bridge where you started.
This trail gives you beautiful up-close views of the Court of the Patriarch mountains, and you will also come across a little stream towards the end of the hike that is filled will tadpoles and frogs in the spring and summer. Scroll down for tips and additional info.
TIPS AND ADDITIONAL INFO
Go early in the morning or later in the evenings in the summer. This will help you to miss the horses and the heat.
The horse trail is used March through October, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m
Spend some time exploring along the Virgin River before or after your hike. It is a stunning area that sees very little tourist action.
If you are interested in an ideal spot to do some landscape photography in Zion, the waterfall at the bridge at the start of this hike is the perfect spot for a beautiful sunrise photo.
While you are there make sure to do the Cort of The Patriarchs trail. It is just to your right as you exit the shuttle. A very short uphill walk will get you to a beautiful view of the three iconic mountains.
Wear shoes that you don't mind lots of sand getting in.
If you have hiked this trail and you have any tips or additional info we would love to hear from you in the comment section below.