Comanche Trail

By: W. C. Holden

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1994

Though the Comanche Trail has long been named in the historical literature of the Southwest, only an occasional reference is made to it in contemporary records and documents. A map of West Texas made by J. H. Young in 1857 shows such a trail. The lower portion had two prongs, one crossing the Rio Grande about the vicinity of Boquillas and the other at Presidio. The two converged at Comanche Springs, near the site of Fort Stockton. From this point the trail extended north to cross the Pecos at or near Horsehead Crossing and continued northeasterly across the sand hills to the site of present Big Spring. From Big Spring it extended east of the Caprock past watering spots on Tobacco Creek, Mooar's Draw, and Gholson Spring. From this point there were two routes across the Staked Plains. One was up Yellow House Canyon by Buffalo Spring to the forks of the canyon in what is now Mackenzie State Recreation Area in Lubbock, thence up the north fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos, where there was running water just west of the site of present Abernathy. From there this branch extended to Sod House Spring, north of the site of present Littlefield. From this point it ascended Blackwater Draw to Portales Spring, to Tiban Spring, and thence to the Pecos near Fort Sumner. The alternative route from Gholson Spring extended southeast to Blanco Canyon and thence up that canyon and Running Water Draw, past the site of present Plainview about twenty miles, at which point the route left the draw and extended west to Spring Lake. From there it continued to Blackwater Draw, where it intercepted the Yellow House route fifteen miles east of the site of present Muleshoe. Young's map indicated that water could be had daily from Big Spring northward and northwest to the site of Fort Sumner, New Mexico. The upper portion of the trail from Plainview westward was possibly used by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado on his return to the Pecos.

Joe Cunningham, "The Comanche Trail," Texas Parade, December 1952. Edward N. Todd, "The Comanche Trail," Frontier Times, July 1974.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

W. C. Holden, “Comanche Trail,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994