Fifty Mile Bench Road is a recreation road in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. As there is not so much information about this trail available in the internet, here a short description of this route.
Fifty-Mile-Bench Road is a loop road, which could be startet from Willow Tank Slide Road (rec road #260) near Hurricane Wash or from Sooner Slide Road (rec road #280). Both are starting from Hole-In-The-Rock Road (#200) and lead up to Fifty Mile Bench, which is a starting point for different hikes in the Straight Cliffs region. Fifty-Mile-Bench Road is rec road #290 (BLM).
We startet our trip from Hurricane Wash, so that we had the steeper climb at the beginning.
After coming down from Escalante, UT the Hole-In-The-Rock Road and crossing Hurricane Wash, we are reaching the right turn to Willow Tank Slide Road. The following picture shows the turn off from Hole-In-The-Rock Road:
The climb up to the Fifty Mile Bench level could be seen on the follwing picture (background, left side):
The trail was in very good condition. The rangers in Escalante, UT told us, that there is no grading done in Kane county, and for this reason they asked us to provide feedback about the actual road condition. It seemed to us, that the trail recently got graded. Here now a first climb towards Fifty Mile Bench:
And this is how the trail proceeds:
Everywhere one can have great views towards the Canyons of Escalante:
We are climbing up and up. Sometimes we had to do some slight repair work, but no problem at all.
The following picture gives a good impression about the steepness, which seemed to us in reality much more than on the photo:
Here a view back to Escalante:
We are proceeding ahaed and soon we are reaching the ´horizontal level on the bench:
On the following picture you can see a part of the trail:
On Fifty Mile Bench a gravel road awaits you, which was in perfect condition and which is sometimes getting narrow, but most of the time it is wide:
Here also one can have great views:
The trail is getting wider after some time and soon the turn off to Sooner Wash will come:
Here a view more shots:
The following picture shows the turn off to the left. Straight ahead the trail leads to a hiking trailhead
We are turning left towards Hole-In-The-Rock-Road. This gravel road is less steep than the one we were using to climb up on the Fity Mile Bench level.
Here also nice views are offered:
Sometimes some minor rocky parts could be found:
The snow on the Straight Cliffs could also be seen from here:
The canyons are coming closer and closer:
And the trail goes still down:
After some time you are reaching the ´lower level’:
When seeing this sign, you reached again Hole-In-The-Rock Road.
The trip itself is a nice half day tour, which could be combined with Hole-In-The-Rock Road down to it´s end. This combination makes it a full day trip. The climb from Hurrican Wash is definitely more difficult than the one from Sooner Wash. But with a 4WD vehicle one should be able to go up. It is just like always. One has to rate his own capabilities.
Here you are able to download a gpx file of our trip:
Tracklog: Fifty Mile Bench Road, GSENM, UT (702 downloads)
The map gives an overview over the visited region: