Elevation: 4,212 ft
GPS: 37.751, -103.478 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 38,701 total · 366/month
Shared By: Darryl Roth on Oct 14, 2012
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC


Vogel Canyon sandstone varies in quality from soft, sandy, and brittle to occasional chocolate brown, Dakota Sandstone, iron rock. The majority of the rock lies somewhere in between the quality extremes but only occasionally achieves the Dakota quality of Morrison's famous hogback. There is route potential in this area, from 5.6 bucket hauls on vertical rock to 5.13 or harder, severely overhanging aretes and roof systems, but the real attraction here is the bouldering. Vogel has the potential for hundreds of problems.

Some of the highest quality problems are nowhere to be seen at the concentrated first areas you arrive at from the main trail. The best thing is to get hammered on the obvious classic problems, then start hiking to find more and more and more. All told, there is probably about a mile of rock on the public land areas closest to the parking and easy access trails. Beyond that, there are a few more miles of rock with questionable access.

Since the La Junta area is usually 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the Front Range, Vogel Canyon is probably the warmest area in driving range to Colorado Springs and Denver. It is usually at least 3 to 5 degrees warmer than Shelf Road and takes about 30 minutes more driving time than Shelf. Since there are crags facing all four directions in a concentrated area, it is always possible to quickly find sun or shade. The season goes from about late September to mid-May. Summer is not a good option at all.

From the parking area, there are covered picnic tables, trash cans, and a toilet facility. There are no designated camping facilities, but I have seen up to four tents set up at a time behind the trees to the right side as you enter the parking area. This has been fairly cool and should continue without problems as long as it doesn't get out of hand.

Vogel Canyon has some ancient rock art. It isn't one of the grand displays compared to some places in the region, but the area of the petroglyphs is in the most conspicuous of locations... near, but not directly conflicting with, the most impressive overhanging aretes and tiered roofs. The temptation to bolt lines in the area of rock art could be very strong.

I'm not going to advocate or discourage bolting, but the ambitious developer must realize that this area is sensitive enough to be closed down if shiny hangers pop up everywhere. Be smart and weigh your decisions. If any bolts go in, it is best to camouflage them well, and don't hang fixed draws for days on end.

Directly beneath the overlook are the Blob Boulder and the Sandy Blonde Caves (more westerly) as you descend from the overlook, and get into the canyon, bear right to see an erratic horizontal roof system on a flat sandy ledge with good landings. This is a good warm-up area on buckets. The rock here is likely to unnerve some climbers, since it feels like everything is hollow, but the moves are fun enough and the stone is generally reliable.

Just past the erratic is the Blob Boulder with a good traverse on the west side that starts on a gnarly, right hand slot. The problem moves to the left on successively harder moves on down sloping incuts and ripples. This goes at around V5. There are highball "up problems" at the start of the traverse.

Farther west, the Sandy Blonde Caves have a variety of problems pulling out the steep caves on mostly good holds but with some slopey top outs that still need some wire brushing. There is a 30' traverse that is good for running laps to get a crushing pump at the end of the day. The quality at these areas is not the premium available, but the convenience and variety can't be beat.

Across, at the east (west Facing) side of the canyon, visible from the overlook there are a series of overhanging aretes and faces. The first of these impressive features is a chocolate Shield accessed by taking the trail with the "NOTICE" sign at the bottom (this isn't a private property notice). The left side has a traverse moving left around the arete to a footless campus (or heel hook move) to a hueco and bucket finish. On the main Shield face, there is a nice left trending problem with a move to double huecos and then a launch to the overhanging arete.

To the left / north and downhill of this face is a free standing, warm-up boulder with good holds. The boulders and faces past the shield have some good problems and a variety of route potential from beginner to 5.13 or harder.

The east- and north-facing sides of the canyon hold a variety of bouldering and route potential with some of the better quality stone.

Getting There

From La Junta, drive south on Highway 109 for 13 miles. The turnoff to the canyon is well marked on Highway 109. Turn right (west) on County Road 802 for 1.5 miles. Turn left (south) on Forest Service Road 505A for 1.5 miles to the Vogel Canyon parking lot.

From the parking area, the best approach is to take the Overlook Trail (the westernmost of the two trailheads) for about 7 minutes to the overlook of the canyon. From the overlook, the trail switches back to the left for a quick descent into the canyon. It is also possible to take the Canyon trail, but it is not as well groomed a trail and takes a few minutes more for the approach.

44 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Vogel Canyon Change
Type:  to 
Sort by:   then:

Classic Climbing Routes at Vogel Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V5 6C
Center Overhang Direct
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Crack Left
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Sport Route Right
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Crack Right
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Limon Layback
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Sport Route Left
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Queen's Ride
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
The Lord of La Junta
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Center Overhang Direct Picket Wire Canyon > Misson Boulders > Vortex Boulder & Padi…
V5 6C Boulder
Crack Left Picket Wire Canyon > Scorpio Crag
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Sport Route Right Picket Wire Canyon > Scorpio Crag
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Crack Right Picket Wire Canyon > Scorpio Crag
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Limon Layback Picket Wire Canyon > Scorpio Crag
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Sport Route Left Picket Wire Canyon > Scorpio Crag
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Queen's Ride Picket Wire Canyon > Dino Overlook
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
The Lord of La Junta Picket Wire Canyon > Scorpio Crag
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Keymaker Picket Wire Canyon > Scorpio Crag
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Vogel Canyon »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season