Explore the most popular birding trails in Rio Grande National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Fall we’re still partially frozen last weekend. Short and easy

Did this hike on 5/11/18. Hike is long but very doable in a day. Wherever the trail goes through the trees there are a significant amount of downed trees blocking the trail. The 4x4 trail was closed but wouldn’t be able to make it to the end bc of all the downed trees.

This is a super rewarding hike for the effort. You won’t even break a sweat walking to the falls and it’s beautiful! The stream is super cold and clean. I would recommend it, the hardest part is driving up the road to get there!

hiking
12 days ago

Nice little hike, just be prepared to (1) get your feet wet and (2) have numb toes! The waterfall is still mostly frozen so the creek leading up to it is VERY cold. Great for families, careful if you're bringing pups so their feet don't freeze! Waterfall in the cave is so fun to see.

The falls are beautiful! It’s a short incline to the waterfalls. Once you arrive at the water, you will have to hike over rocks in the stream to reach the falls. I hiked it today and half was frozen over and the other side was flowing water!

Great Easter hike. Great earlier season hike. Recommend microspikes from half way point on. Scenic rewards abound in last 20% of trail. Had lake all to ourselves and basked in its glory!

hiking
2 months ago

HIKED ON SATURDAY FEBRUARY 17, 2018

Road leading up to the trailhead is not very well maintained but any car should be able to make it no problem. The trail is pretty short so you can get to the falls in less than 10-15 minutes. When I was there the falls were basically all frozen. You could see a little water running behind the ice. Microspikes helped a lot, especially if you want to actually get up close to the frozen falls. I definitely plan to come back in Summer when the falls aren't frozen.

I went to the dunes during the day for a few hours and then hit Zapata Falls a little before sunset. Zapata Falls campground is awesome and suggest staying there if you want to camp. Thats where we camped and other than the wind was perfect.

hiking
2 months ago

It takes longer to drive up to the trailhead than it does to hike to the falls. The falls are pretty, but the trail leading up to them is uninteresting and ill-maintained. The road to/from the trailhead from the highway is BRUTAL on your vehicle with potholes and bad grating. Absolutely a no-go if your car has low clearance. Awesome view of the Dunes from the parking lot, though!

hiking
3 months ago

Great little trail. Have seen moose here several times. Sadly the forest fire we had a few years ago, went around this area, so the view isn't as good as it once was, but it's still a beautiful trail.

Was beautiful and frozen. Worth seeing!

hiking
4 months ago

Great short hike with a fresh inch of snow. Traction is key - the water at the end was a slick sheet of ice today. Go all the way to the back of the alcove to see the actual falls. We almost stopped short of the best part!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful short hike

hiking
6 months ago

We went in November - gorgeous secluded trail with an amazing aspen grove and lovely creek.

hiking
6 months ago

Sweet short hike to a waterfall. 1 mile round trip with last 100 meters walking in stream to an amazing fall.

Nice trail up to the water falls. Very rocky so hiking shoes are best! I'm glad I brought my hiking boots as at the end to get to see the water fall you are basically hopping rocks in a quiet river of water to get to it. It's hidden behind a wall of rock so you can't see it unless you go back. We went in October so the water was freezing.

on Zapata Falls Trail

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful, easy hike. There was no way to keep your feet dry to get to the waterfall at the top though... bring extra socks!

Beautiful! Only moderately hard as well, though we didn't go all the way up...

backpacking
7 months ago

The reviews already submitted are accurate. I just did this hike over the course of two days. I recommend getting out there early. The best camping spots in my opinion are near the trail shelter which is a short trail just off the Wheeler Geological Area trail. Additionally, beware one of the creek crossings is quite large. It was very cold when I went and wet feet would have been a nightmare. If you go upstream about 100 yards you can find two logs to cross. The trip going back to the trailhead is a lot tougher as others mentioned (many uphill sections) Lastly, tie your shoes tight this trail killed my toenails.

Favorite CO hike!

Quick easy hike! Make sure to hop along the rocks and check out the waterfall hidden in the back!

My wife, 5 year old, 8 year old and I went on this yesterday. The scenery is out of this world! The hike itself was not too difficult for myself and my wife but the kids had a difficult time coming back. The hike there is mostly downhill, but the hike back is almost all uphill. We did this in about 4 hours, and it was totally worth it. I highly recommend it!

My husband and I explored the wheeler area on September 16 2017, we drove the 16 mile 4x4 road in our 2007 Chevy silverado. We made it fine. The road was very long and lots of mud puddles and places where there lots of rocks. It look us 2 1/2 hours to reach the trailhead where we camped in a tent for the night. Beautiful area but there is alot of dead trees due to beetles. We hiked the 2 mile loop . The views are amazing! The formations will make you wonder if you are still on planet earth. It was well worth the time and discomfort of the long rough road to get there! We saw a couple vehicles with flat tires so make sure you have a spare and don't attempt to drive this road without 4 wheel drive. I would of given it 5 stars if it weren't so hard to get to.

hiking
9 months ago

trail(road) leading to como is horrible, def get your workout in for the day. Como is very beautiful once you make it there. 4x4 will help get you further up the road. 3 stars due to the trail but Como Lake is a 5 star.

The falls are moderate at best. You will be required to get wet walking upriver to see the falls.

hiking
9 months ago

The falls are moderate at best. You will be required to get wet walking upriver to see the falls.

backpacking
9 months ago

The Lake Como Rd is called the "Worst Road" in Colorado for a good reason. From Highway 150, a regular car can drive about 1.5-2 miles up the road. A stock jeep or truck about 3 miles. Specialty vehicles can drive all the way to Lake Como (lots of videos on Youtube). On a recent backpacking trip we measured 5.8 miles from our start to the western shore of Lake Como resulting in a 4,000 ft climb. This is an "ankle-breaker" trail and not a good walking surface as long stretches are almost entirely softball to basketball sized boulders. Around mile 4.3 we crossed the only convenient water source, Holbrook Creek. There are a fair number of individual campsites dispersed along the trail.
Lake Como is beautiful and the western end has lots of campsites and can accommodate a large group. There is also a small cabin if you need a quick shelter. I saw two bear cables. These sites are heavily used as shown by the amount of trash and excessive number of fire rings. For better campsites I recommend walking to the southern shore. Misquotes, chipmunks, and people are abundant.
From Lake Como you can go for the higher lakes or the summit of Mount Blanca, about 2.8 miles one-way.

The Lake Como Rd is called the "Worst Road" in Colorado for a good reason. From Highway 150, a regular car can drive about 1.5-2 miles up the road. A stock jeep or truck about 3 miles. Specialty vehicles can drive all the way to Lake Como (lots of videos on Youtube). On a recent backpacking trip we measured 5.8 miles from our start to the western shore of Lake Como resulting in a 4,000 ft climb. This is an "ankle-breaker" trail and not a good walking surface as long stretches are almost entirely softball to basketball sized boulders. Around mile 4.3 we crossed the only convenient water source, Holbrook Creek. There are a fair number of individual campsites dispersed along the trail.
Lake Como is beautiful and the western end has lots of campsites and can accommodate a large group. There is also a small cabin if you need a quick shelter. I saw two bear cables. These sites are heavily used as shown by the amount of trash and excessive number of fire rings. For better campsites I recommend walking to the southern shore. Misquotes, chipmunks, and people are abundant.
From Lake Como you can go for the higher lakes or the summit of Mount Blanca, about 2.8 miles one-way.

The trail itself was ok. It is very rocky. The Falls water was nothing like the pictures I saw of it. Must have been taken in the spring. The road that you have to drive is AWFUL. It is 2.8 miles of rocky ruts. Had to drive my 2 wheel drive Honda C-RV 5 mph. Lost my navigation on the way out.

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing!! Totally worth it!

400 foot climb in 1/4 mile on a rocky trail. Then you have to wade upstream in ankle-knee deep, COLD water, but seeing the waterfall at the end was absolutely worth it!

You really probably should have 4 wheel drive to get to the parking area-for sure a high clearance vehicle.

Road to get to the trail head is a little ruff but manageable. Bring your water shoes, pretty sweet falls.

Load More