We had driven by both ends of Fiftymile Bench while we were on Hole In The Rock Road, and we couldn't believe we were going to go up the Straight Cliffs. We saw both ends and how steep they were, and we considered the weather before we started up the southern end at the Sooner Slide. It didn't look like the distant rain would get to us, so we headed up.
The climb was really fun. It was full of switchbacks and it was bumpy in spots, but it was a maintained trail. It definitely wasn't as nice as the other trails we'd seen that day, but it was decent. The views from multiple switchbacks were really amazing. We kept stopping to take pictures and look out over the slickrock we were just traveling on.
When we got to the top, the trail basically stopped because we were up against the cliffs. You could take the trail a bit farther south, but we weren't interested in the spurs. We headed north along the cliffs.
They're very much like a staircase, especially up close. There were layers, and holes in them all over. The trail had a few twists, but it was mostly very straight along the cliffs.
When we got to the northern end we could have continued a bit farther, but we turned downhill instead. The Willow Tank Slide was much steeper, with fewer switchbacks. It would be fun to come up this side, too. It got a bit rocky on the way down, and we all enjoyed the descent.
We could see Chimney Rock out in the flat, and we were glad to have the vantage point. This was a really cool trail, and we were really glad we took the time to do it.