Zapata Falls

 2 votes
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Featured Hike
Trail

1.0 Miles 1.5 Kilometers


0%

Singletrack

325' 99 m

Ascent

-324' -99 m

Descent

9,411' 2,868 m

High

9,086' 2,769 m

Low

13%

Avg Grade (7°)

45%

Max Grade (24°)

All Clear

46 days agoUpdate

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

Kristen Arendt

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.
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.

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.

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   Clear

4.5 from 2 votes


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Check-Ins

Apr 22, 2017
mike hesh
Great hike, loved going up the stream at the end. Rough access road.
Apr 7, 2017
Nate Varns
Mar 25, 2017
Taylor Buffington
Sep 17, 2016
Tim Filipiak

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes

#1316

Overall
  4.5 from 2 votes
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Rankings

#210

in Colorado

#1,316

Overall
55 Views Last Month
307 Since Feb 15, 2016
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

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Conditions


All Clear 46 days ago
Dry, Icy - Falls are iced over. You can hike the ice right up to the fall.
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