To access the trail, take the Court of the Patriarchs shuttle stop, where you’ll see the bridge that marks the start of the trail. The trail has little shade, so be sure to bring lots of water.
Known as “Zion’s Horse Trail,” the Sand Bench Trail is relatively unused compared to other trails and has an interesting story. The trail actually takes you to the top of an ancient landslide, providing a stunning view otherwise blocked. Over 1000 years ago, a large piece of the Sentinel Mountain (one of the highest points in Zion National Park) collapsed, causing the massive landslide to block the main canyon and allow the build up of sediment. The loose and sandy trail begins at the Court of the Patriarchs where it takes you west and gives you a lovely view, and then south, where you’ll cross a small stream, and then hike up to the top of the landslide ending at the Sand Bench Loop. The loop offers gorgeous views of the canyon, and each part of the loop is different. It can also be fun to stop for lunch at the picnic area at the far end of the loop trail where you can eat while you overlook the mouth of Zion Canyon.
The main concern on this trail is the amount of sand. There are some places where the sand is similar to a the deep sand you’d find on an actual beach and can really slow down walking. Some hiking poles can help you out here, or some horses.
Sand Bench is a popular trail for guided horseback rides from spring to fall, so as a hiker, be on the lookout to avoid walking through horse waste. On horseback, however, this trail is a unique gem you do not want to miss!