Hiking Project Logo

gem icon Zapata Falls [Suggest Edits]

4 votes
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Description

This must-do family friendly hike is the epitome of a "Gem."

As you make your way up to the falls, stay to the left. The ascent is partially shaded from the trees and has a gradual incline as well as some spectacular panoramic views of the dunes and the San Luis Valley below. Before long you can hear the water from South Zapata Creek as you approach the final leg of the hike.

The last part of the hike up the creek to the falls can be a little tricky, especially in spring when the water is strongest (also the most beautiful time) as it requires some balancing skills as you hop from rock to rock or wade your way through the creek to get to the base of the falls. But, the journey is the best part of the adventure and what makes this hike so great. The way the sun rays beamed through the canyon at mid-day and lit up the trunks of the trees, brightened the shimmering leaves, sparkled the surface of the creek water, and illuminated the canyon walls was an unforgettable image.

Once at the base of the waterfall, we spent about 5 minutes appreciating all the beauty of the scenery until our feet got cold and the area became a little crowded, encouraging us to turn back.

This hike is everything you're hoping to experience when you decide to take a trip into nature: waterfall, dunes, trees, birds, adventure.

Short Hike: Zapata Falls is located just outside Great Sand Dunes National Park and requires driving up an exciting and bumpy unpaved three-mile long rocky dirt road (2WD accessible). Once at the top, park in the designated area and the trailhead behind you should be clearly marked.

Family Friendly: Accessible, short, and adventurous trail.

Gem Type: Waterfall

Shared by:
Andrew Gilkerson

0 Comments

You & This Gem


Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Share This Gem

Check In

Check-Ins

Jun 1, 2019
Alex Lomas
Erin's Golden Weekend Dunes Adventure!!
May 25, 2019
Kale Rogers
May 14, 2017
Seth Dayvan

Nearby Trails

1.0 mi 1.6 km Zapata Falls
Alamosa East, CO
1.0 mi 1.6 km Alamosa East, CO
All Clear
Update
Dry
16 days ago
16 
3.6 mi 5.8 km Sand Dunes Loop
Crestone, CO
3.6 mi 5.8 km Crestone, CO
Unknown
Update
11 
2.7 mi 4.3 km Tour de Little Bear
Alamosa East, CO
2.7 mi 4.3 km Alamosa East, CO
Unknown
Update
3.0 mi 4.9 km Mt. Lindsey Trail
Alamosa East, CO
3.0 mi 4.9 km Alamosa East, CO
Unknown
Update
15.3 mi 24.6 km Tallest Dunes Out-and-Back
Crestone, CO
15.3 mi 24.6 km Crestone, CO
Unknown
Update
8.4 mi 13.5 km Mt. Lindsey
Alamosa East, CO
8.4 mi 13.5 km Alamosa East, CO
Unknown
Update
3.4 mi 5.5 km Lily Lake Trail #1308
Alamosa East, CO
3.4 mi 5.5 km Alamosa East, CO
Minor Issues
Update
An avalanche has taken out nearly a mile of the hillside and left deep debris on and near the trail. Creek is flooded
11 days ago
1.0 mi 1.7 km Little Bear Peak
Alamosa East, CO
1.0 mi 1.7 km Alamosa East, CO
Unknown
Update
0.5 mi 0.8 km Dunes Overlook Trail
Crestone, CO
0.5 mi 0.8 km Crestone, CO
Unknown
Update
3.6 mi 5.8 km Mosca Pass Trail
Crestone, CO
3.6 mi 5.8 km Crestone, CO
All Clear
Update
One fallen tree that you have to step up and over, otherwise clear.
24 days ago
Shared by Andrew Gilkerson on May 26, 2018. All Page Views: 748. Last Month: 28.