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Zapata Falls

Intermediate
 4.5 (20) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A great, short out-and-back hike to Zapata Falls.


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Map Key

1.0

Miles

1.6

KM

Out and Back

9,382' 2,860 m

High

9,093' 2,772 m

Low

289' 88 m

Up

288' 88 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

32%

Max Grade (18°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly A relatively short and easy climb, the kids will love exploring the area at the base of Zapata Falls.

Overview

While this short hike won't have you breaking a sweat, it is worth the short side trip to explore Zapata Falls and for the expansive views of the Great Sand Dunes on your way out.

Need to Know

The drive into the parking lot at the trailhead can be a bit rough (lots of washboard). While it technically isn't a 4WD road, it definitely helps to have some ground clearance, and just be ready for a bouncy, dusty, rocky drive in (the trailhead is located about five miles in off of 150).

Description

A short, wide, easy trail with mild grades, Zapata Falls Trail is an easy hike to a hidden waterfall. The views from the trailhead back across the valley to the Great Sand Dunes aren't too shabby either. The path itself is wide and only has a couple rocky or steep sections, but nothing too hard to navigate.

While the falls themselves aren't the most impressive you'll ever see, it is unique to be able to hike back into the cavern where the falls originate. In the springtime, the falls will be swollen with snow melt, and hikers had better be ready for frozen feet and legs if planning on dipping their feet in the water. Later in the summer, the flow of South Zapata Creek will have lessened, making the falls easier to reach (and the water won't be as frigid). In the winter, Zapata Falls will freeze over with a beautiful sheet of clear blue ice that allows you to still see the water flowing underneath which is equally as intriguing as viewing the falls in the summer.

Flora & Fauna

Pinion pine and wildflowers in the springtime. Cottonwoods by the creek.

Shared By:

Kristen Arendt

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 20 votes

#573

Overall
  4.5 from 20 votes
5 Star
60%
4 Star
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3 Star
15%
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#118

in Colorado

#573

Overall
19 Views Last Month
4,169 Since Feb 15, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

Zapata Falls - Looking up from base of falls
Apr 17, 2018 near Alamosa…, CO
Zapata Falls
Apr 17, 2018 near Alamosa…, CO
Zapata Falls- Views From Trail
Apr 17, 2018 near Alamosa…, CO
Zapata Falls - Looking down the creek from the base of the falls.
Apr 17, 2018 near Alamosa…, CO
In the cavern with the frozen falls.
Feb 17, 2016 near Alamosa…, CO
View of South Zapata Creek near base of the falls.
May 26, 2018 near Alamosa…, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Sep 20, 2020
Michael Schieferecke
1mi
Sep 13, 2020
Markus T
Sep 2, 2020
Amy G
Aug 12, 2020
Jason Todd
Jun 21, 2020
Lily Douglas
short but gorgeous. the canyon mouth and falls are spectacular. bring chacos or something you can wear in the water!
Jun 2, 2020
Jenn Hunter
Apr 30, 2020
Hunter E
0.8mi
Jun 28, 2019
Carolyn Jungels