This trail was built in sections and can be ridden in sections, but it is an amazing trail ridden front to back, back to front or as part of a big loop. Mountain biking in the Canyon has been around for quite awhile but only recently have we had the opportunity to ride the east side of the Canyon.
Need to Know
The trailhead at the Mac Dick Pavilion does not have facilities, but a short ride to the Givens, Spicer & Lowry Trail
will give you access to restrooms, and will keep you headed in the right direction.
Starting at the Mac Dick Pavilion you'll be greeted by tight, twisty, flowy, singletrack that is perfect for warming up for what is to come. You start out in Cottonwoods, pampas grass, and end up creekside with overhanging cliffs, and this is just the first mile. Cross the road to the Givens, Spicer & Lowry Trail
trailhead and stay to the left. Drop down and follow the trail over the creek and take it up just a little until you come to a T and can turn left or right.
This is Paso Del Rio
, and a left will take you to Water Crossing #1 bridge, a right will take you to Chinaberry Parking. Either way will get you to Comanche Trail Mid
. Left - go under the bridge and it will take you to the trailhead, Right - go to Chinaberry and once in the parking lot go towards the left exit and get to SP 5 turn right and you'll see the trailhead across the road.
Comanche Trail Mid
starts with a climb. Rest as much on the downs as you can, because there is more coming, and when you think you are done, there is more. Don't quit, the view alone is worth the climbing. Take a rest and take it all in. Before you know it, you'll be shoulder to shoulder with Fortress Cliff and let the flow begin. You have climbed out of the Cottonwoods and are now on top of a plateau with mesquite and cactus, but wait a little and you'll be in the middle of an oasis with a spring and trees... and then it is gone as quick as it came. A few more short, steep slash climbs and you'll be at the Rock Garden Trail
. Don't turn right onto the Rock Garden Trail
, keep going straight and the Comanche Trail South
will be just on your right.
More contour riding coming up, with a little cliffside exposure thrown in for fun. The short climbs get even shorter and start to give way to a more downhill feel, there is even more flow. The flow gives way to a switchbacking downhill, and after a few, and then a few more, you'll be on the Canyon floor before you know it.
The Mesquite Campground has restrooms and water. Refuel and then head across the road to continue on the last 0.5 of the trail, or turn around and make it an out and back. Comanche Trail South
actual finish is on SP 5 right by Water Crossing 6. Take a right on SP 5 and head toward the Juniper /Cliffside Trail or Riverside Trail to start a Big Loop.
History & Background
Parts of this trail follow original sections of trail that the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed in the 1930's. The Palo Duro Canyon Corp of Engineers is responsible for the construction and maintenance of this trail. It is the newest addition to the trail system in the Canyon and is easily the queen of the trails.