From the Stockton General Store in downtown Stockton, head east-southeast on Silver Avenue / Copper Street about 2 miles, where the 2-lane blacktop ends and a dirt trail begins. This trail is variously labeled South Copper Street or Soldier Canyon Road.
From the beginning of this dirt trail to Commodore’s Lower Launch is 5 miles. Another 2 miles takes you to Commodore’s Upper Launch. Most of the trail to launch is on BLM land, but you will traverse private property as well. Leave all gates as you found them.
4WD is required to reach the Upper Launch. Chains may be required during snow season. Expect mud following snow-melt or rain. The trail is rocky, wash-boarded, and rutted. You will gain nearly 3500 feet in elevation between Stockton and the Upper Launch, with the steepest grades in the last mile. Turnaround space is very limited.
The area around both launches is dotted with closed mines and mining relics.
At the 5 mile point you’ll come to a wide spot in the road with a gravel drop-off on the west side of the trail. This is the Lower Launch, primarily used by paragliders.
Another 2 miles of steep grades and switchbacks brings you to the Upper Launch, which is primarily used by hang gliders. The one-acre setup area is broad and level, with room for several vehicles. There are no permanent tie-downs at either launch site. The launch itself is moderately steep and rocky, with trees left and right of takeoff.
Dust devils in the valley during midday heating are your best indicator that turbulent thermic conditions may exist. Late afternoon glass-off is probably the best time to launch at Commodore.
Expect severe shear when winds shift from south to north (typically midday or later). Be aware that north winds may be present at altitude even when surface winds are blowing straight in on launch.
The Landing Zone:
The broad valley floor below you offers nearly limitless safe landing zones. The terrain appears uniformly flat from a distance but in fact features small drainages and knolls which will not be apparent from altitude. A north-south line of transmission wires and towers, marked by a parallel dirt utility road, runs through the landing zone 1.7 miles west of the Upper Launch. You’ll see the dirt road before you see the wires.
The terrain in the LZ is mostly flat or gently rolling open range, with sparse high country vegetation. Small clumps of dense sage are easily avoided, and dirt roads criss-cross the valley in all directions. A retrieve vehicle parked along one of these dirt roads makes a useful aim point.
Part of the Tooele Army Depot’s massive storage bunker complex is 2.3 miles south of the LZ. Flying over or landing within this complex is prohibited. Remain north of Highway 73 and you will be well clear.