Vogel Canyon is a scenic tributary of the Purgatorie River and has a rich history. American Indians lived in the canyon 300-800 years ago and left rock art which is visible on the canyon walls. Four hiking trails lead visitors through the riparian, canyonland and shortgrass prairie vegetation found in the canyon and surrounding plains:

  • Overlook Trail - This easy trail is a one mile loop from the parking area. It is wheelchair accessible and provides access to a canyon overlook.
  • Canyon Trail - This easy trail is 1 3/4 miles round trip from the parking area. Highlights include ruins, a canyon overlook, a spring, and rock art.
  • Prairie Trail - This moderate trail is 3 miles round trip from the parking area. Highlights include historic stage tracks, juniper woodlands and shortgrass prairie,
  • Mesa Trail - This moderate trail is 2 1/4 miles round trip from the parking area. Highlights include ruins, juniper woodlands, and shortgrass prairie.

Trail safety:

  • Please carry water with you. Spring water is not safe to drink.
  • Look for cairns, or stone post, to help you locate the trails. Please stay on trails.
  • Pay attention to the trail. Shortgrass prairie and rocky areas are home to rattlesnakes and cacti.

Trail vicinity map:

highlighted trail map

At a Glance

Fees: No fee at trailhead
Usage: Medium
  • Camping and parking in designated spots only.
  • No shooting.
  • Use existing fire grates only.
  • Do not draw or scratch graffiti on rocks or cliff faces. Graffiti defaces a fragile, irreplaceable legacy. All cultural resources on public lands are protected by law. The Antiquities Act and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act impose fines and penalties for disturbing or removing artifacts. 
Closest Towns: La Junta, Colorado
Restroom: Vault Toilet - at trailhead
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Comanche National Grassland

General Information


Vogel Canyon Picnic Area

From La Junta, Colorado drive south on Highway 109 for 13 miles. 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 area.


Day Hiking

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  • 'Queen of the 14ers' Link opens in a new window

    She is the agency’s Colorado Fourteeners Program manager; others simply refer to her as ‘Queen of the 14ers’.