Riverside Exploring. The Sand Bench Trail is a loop hike along the east and west banks of the Virgin River, between the Court of the Patriarchs and Zion Lodge (a sandy side trail even extends to the Grotto). Some parts of the trail are heavily used by the Zion Lodge trail horses and may have DEEP sand, while other sections are nice for a walk or trail run.
The trail is almost always in view of the main canyon drive, so you can't get very far from civilization. Nevertheless, any time you walk near the river in Zion, you create opportunities to see flora and wildlife. A Sand Bench walk early or late in the day, or any time during the winter off-season, will be horse-free and treat you to unriverside delights.
Generally, you can hike this trail year-round. Summer is HOT and winter may bring some snow or mud.
Horseback riders are a common sight along the trail.April - October take the free shuttle to either the Court of the Patriarchs or Zion Lodge. In the off-season, drive your own car to the Emerald Pools trailhead. If starting from Court of the Patriarchs, head across the main drive from the shuttle stop and follow the service road to a bridge that links with the trail.
A bride on the bridge at the north end of the trail.This is a sandy Zion trail, hence the name! From the Court of the Patriarchs, the trail hugs the Virgin River at first, offering good views of the Court of the Patriarchs. It then heads south and crosses a small stream. Here's where the trail from Zion Lodge connects. Now you climb up to the top of the landslide and loop back around. Follow the trail along the west side of the river to the bridge at the intersection with the Emerald Pools trail. From here, cross the bridge to jump on the shuttle for your next destination OR find the sandy trail that goes back south along the eastern river bank.
A printable canyon descriptionand map you can take with you.
Have all Zion's classic canyonsin one convenient book.
Genearl Zion Canyon trail map
Click on any map to browse a larger view,then right-click to save and print.