Now everybody knows that a monkey is not the same thing as a chimp. Monkeys have tails and chimps don’t. But when it comes to naming a trail, maybe “The Monkey Trail” just sounds better.
A Brief History of the Monkey Trail
As far back at 1990, Caddo Parish started looking at the land adjacent to a parish jail (then the Caddo Detention Center), for use as a nature park. For several years, the Caddo Parish Commission looked at how to best use the land, and by 1998 (with the help of Tim Goeders, a local cyclist), they were in talks with The LA Dept of Veterans Affairs and Chimp Haven, a non-profit whose mission is to provide lifetime care for chimpanzees who have been retired from medical research, the entertainment industry or no longer wanted as pets. By 2000, the Parish had a plan in place for a park, a Veterans Cemetary and Chimp Haven. The main feature of a park was to be a mountain bike trail, and somehow the name of the trail became “The Monkey Trail.”
Getting To the Monkey Trail
From River City Cycling: head South on Youree Drive to Southfield, turn right on Southfield to I-49. Take I-49 South; I-49 to Hwy 3132 (Inner Loop); West on Inner Loop to Walker Rd; South on Walker Rd to Colquitt Rd (Hwy 525); West on Colquitt Rd to the town of Spring Ridge & Hwy 169 (approx 11 miles); Turn left (South) on Hwy 169 at flashing red light and turn left (east) on Hwy 789 (Caution, the left turn is in a dangerous curve!) There’s a sign right in the middle of this curve for the prison, so follow that sign. Continue South on Hwy 789 for approx 3 miles. Park entrance is on the right just past the church.
From I-20: Take the Greenwood Exit (Exit 3) and head south on Hwy 79 to the light just south of the Interstate. Turn left at the light onto Hwy 80 and then right at Hwy 169. Stay on 169 through the town of Spring Ridge and then left (east) on Hwy 789 (Caution, the left turn is in a dangerous curve!) There’s a sign right in the middle of this curve for the prison, so follow that sign. Continue South on Hwy 789 for approx 3 miles. Park entrance is on the right just past the church.
The Monkey Trail Ride
Over 10+ miles of some of the best trails around. Mostly singletrack, with plenty of climbing. Very pretty area. Also has a 1.5 mile hiking trail that is beginner friendly you can walk, run, or ride. Restroom facilities are on site.
Short steep climbs/decents with several 180 degree switchbacks are the most memorable features…….well taken care of trail and excellent trailhead facilities.