Fiftymile Bench

Escalante, Utah

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As you drive out the Hole-in-the-Rock Road through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, two topographic contrasts are readily apparent. To the east, the Escalante Desert is a despairing wasteland of desert scrub and cacti, drift sand, and sun-baked slickrock. Discernible positive relief only periodically interrupts the general levelness. If you attempt traveling toward the center of this tableland, however, your progress will be impeded by hundred- or thousand-foot drops from an unforeseen canyon’s edge. To the west, the Escalante Desert is bound by a line of two superimposed cliffs extending as far as the eye can see. The upper tier is a ruler-straight escarpment, hence named the Straight Cliffs of the Kaiparowits Plateau. The lower platform, Fiftymile Bench, is a succession of cusps jutting out from a common bench. Fifty miles to the south, the Escalante Desert and the two terraces converge. From atop Fiftymile Bench, you’ll gain a true perspective of the monument’s Escalante Canyons Province.
Mountain Biking Utah

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Mountain Biking Utah

by Gregg Bromka (Falcon Guides)

As you drive out the Hole-in-the-Rock Road through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, two topographic contrasts are readily apparent. To the east, the Escalante Desert is a despairing wasteland of desert scrub and cacti, drift sand, and sun-baked slickrock. Discernible positive relief only periodically interrupts the general levelness. If you attempt traveling toward the center of this tableland, however, your progress will be impeded by hundred- or thousand-foot drops from an unforeseen canyon’s edge.

To the west, the Escalante Desert is bound by a line of two superimposed cliffs extending as far as the eye can see. The upper tier is a ruler-straight escarpment, hence named the Straight Cliffs of the Kaiparowits Plateau. The lower platform, Fiftymile Bench, is a succession of cusps jutting out from a common bench. Fifty miles to the south, the Escalante Desert and the two terraces converge. From atop Fiftymile Bench, you’ll gain a true perspective of the monument’s Escalante Canyons Province.

©  Gregg Bromka/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Escalante
Distance: 26
Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Technical Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Physical Difficulty: Difficult
Season: Spring (March into June) and Fall (September into November)
Trailhead Elevation: 4,600 feet
Top Elevation: 6,500 feet
Local Contacts: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, 435-865-5100
Local Maps: USGS: Big Hollow Wash, Blackburn Canyon, and Sooner Bench
Driving Directions: Directions to Fiftymile Bench

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Apr 2018