Venable-Comanche Trail is a 12.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Westcliffe, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 12.3 miles Elevation Gain: 3,884 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

bird watching

running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

washed out

hiking
snow
21 days ago

Was planning on doing overnight backpacking trip on Great Venable-Comanche Loop (20 miles), but after we hit the backside of the saddle we chose just to shorten the trip and cross over to the terrace rather than going down then back up for the greater loop. Went clockwise, spent first night at campsite near pond at 11800 feet after starting late friday afternoon. Trees still available for hang at campsite. Up to lake there were spots of snow and a few small snowfields necessary to cross. Snow fairly hard, but some postholing every now and then. The hike up to the saddle was definitely the hardest part, but could avoid most of the snow. Backside of saddle clear. Terrace clear other than right at the beginning there was a small snow cornice and a few delicate moves to get onto terrace that required us busting out the ice axe for safety. After crossing terrace there were a few snowfields that was necessary to cross. We were able to glissade down one (mostly for fun), but also to take a quicker route back to trail as it disappeared in snow. Many fallen down trees on northern side of route that necessitates some route finding. Recommend micro spikes, no need for snow shoes at this time, and maybe waterproof boots although we were fine with just running shoes and water-resistant boots. Feet got wet, but we were fine and able to change socks. As season progresses expect more muddy trails and less snow.

Great trail ill definitely come back and finish the loop when it is warmer than single digits.

horseback riding
7 months ago

do not take horses on the phantom terrace cross over. stop at either comanche lakes or venable lakes. several have lost their lives here.

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

Perfect day for a hike (9/12), it was very windy at the top (the connector between Comanche and veneable trails) so it was cold up there and not too hot going up. The view from the top of Comanche trail was spectacular, and I definitely recommend doing the loop clockwise so Comanche first, because there’s a pretty steep cliff that I walked down, and I think that if I had been faced with hiking up it, I would have turned around and missed the great view from the top. It was pretty scary but worth it for a nice hike.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

9 months ago

This is such a beautiful area. A little slice of Heaven it is. My husband and I have hiked here twice and love it. Although we've never made it to the lakes, a 12.3 mile round trip hike is a bit much for us. I wish I had the strength to do it, and as much as we love to hike, we aren't extremists. Lol. We plan to camp at Alvarado CG in a couple of weeks before the summer is over and do some more hiking. So looking forward to it!

recorded Venable-Comanche Trail

hiking
bugs
9 months ago

hiking
bugs
rocky
9 months ago

We only went as far as Venable Falls but a beautiful trail with some scenic overlooks down valley, creek side views and sight lines to the peaks. Moderately to quite challenging for a slightly overweight desk-jockey but absolutely worth it. The waterfall was stunning. All the late snow this year and plenty of rain has kept the mountain lush and green but, with that, comes and abundance of mosquitoes so be sure to pack some good repellent.

hiking
bugs
rocky
10 months ago

Great trail. About 5 miles to Comanche Lake from Comanche Trailhead. No camping within 300ft of lake allowed. Camping spots closer to water were limited. Great fishing. We hiked off trail up Spring Mountain to see Venable lakes which is a lot farther along the actual trail. Would take a serious day hike to make the Comanche-Venable loop.

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

I completed half the loop yesterday on a guided horseback trip. The trail was overall in great condition being mostly dry. Some snow still visible on the peaks below Comanche Lake. I’ll echo other posts that bug spray here is ESSENTIAL. The mosquitoes were brutal especially around the lake. The views of the lake and peaks were amazing!

hiking
bugs
rocky
10 months ago

Gorgeous hike that rewards with beautiful views (and a nice cool off) at the lakes. We brought our dogs and they had a great time! A couple notes of caution: One did end up splitting her paw on the way down due to how rocky it was. A good portion of the trail was just loose rock of differing sizes. I would reccomend booties or lots of paw cream if you bring your pup. I also would reccomend BATHING in bug spray before you hit the trail and bringing a can with you. I'm not exaggerating when I say between the three of us, we have over 200 bites. They were relentless! Otherwise, enjoy!

recorded Venable-Comanche Trail

hiking
bugs
rocky
10 months ago

backpacking
bugs
rocky
10 months ago

Beautiful trail! My Garmin had it closer to 14.5 miles. Did the whole loop and there was only one small snow field to cross on the Comanche side, but it was easy to navigate around. The mosquitoes are out in force! Bring your bug net and Deet! Lots of wildflowers. The trail is really rocky in places which is torture on the ankles and makes it hard to move at a decent pace. All that said, gorgeous trail!

hiking
10 months ago

Full loop. Great trail amazing views. A few small snow crossings but no post holing.

hiking
11 months ago

Low traffic trail in good condition although a bit more rugged on the venable side of the loop.

hiking
11 months ago

only got to Vanable lake, sounds like a lot of snow still below Vanable peak.

hiking
blowdown
snow
11 months ago

Snow just below the lake. Turned around.

hiking
Tue Jun 04 2019

Lots of burnt wood throughout that was clearly made my humans. It was not there in the fall. Kind of scary!

hiking
snow
Tue May 28 2019

backpacking
rocky
snow
Sat May 25 2019

Very gorgeous and tough trail. Took 3 new backpackers here and all did great until we hit heavy snow pack at around 11,000 feet. We pushed on to Venable Falls and that was about as far as we could go. Beautiful wilderness and was very rewarding, but very tough. Plenty of water along the trail and great views.

hiking
snow
Sun May 19 2019

The full loop isn’t ready yet. Still a lot of snow since you’re 2 miles in. You can make it to the falls easily but anything past that will be difficult. Otherwise, the trail and the trailhead are in great condition.

Tue Jan 08 2019

Amazing trail. Best hike I've done in Colorado so far. Spent three nights on the trail - two at Comanche Lake and one at the upper Venable Lake. One of the days I climbed the mountain to the left of Comanche Lake when facing the main mountain (Spring Mountain?) and got an excellent view from there. There is no trail and it's very steep but worth it. I brought Panther Martin spinner bait and had no problem catching plenty of trout in both lakes (this was in August). There are marmots everywhere. Excellent views throughout the hike - highly recommended.

Sun Sep 30 2018

this trail is pretty epic. this should be rated as hard. did the venable side first. was very windy and a little nerve wracking before phantom terrace. saw more people coming the opposite direction. beautiful long hike. will do this again as an overnighter.

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