Explore the most popular mountain biking 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.

hiking
8 days ago

This is a great hike, suitable for just about anybody. There is some elevation gain, but it’s not too bad, and the hike is not even a full mile (1.6km) round-trip to the Zapata Falls.

Falls were 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
17 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!

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

This is an enjoyable, gently inclined but sustained, fairly long, non-technical hike with a lot of possible elevation gain, good for getting into shape for the 14ers or just to do for its own sake. If the weather looks favorable, go all the way to Bennett's summit!

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail. I was fortunate enough to see a mountain lion cross the road, close to the trail head. It contains beautiful shaded areas that open into lush fields. The constant sound of moving water is very relaxing. Definitely recommend!

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
4 months ago

I’ve hiked this many different times since my cabin is just a few miles away. Beautiful hike. Great gradual elevation changes and heavily shaded by dark timber. Can’t take any ATV larger than a quad. It is along Frisco Creek so the sounds of running water and great.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Easy little hike up to an AMAZING falls carving through a mountain. Don't miss this and be ready for some cold toes.

hiking
10 months ago

Pretty and easy hike near Great Sand Dunes National Park. Long and slow drive up a very rugged and rocky dirt road - beware if you're worried about your car. Maybe 2 miles to get to trail head from main road? Also pretty well-trafficked trail. Our kids loved wading through the creek and maneuvering across the rocks to reach the falls, which are back in a cave. Yes, the water is most definitely freezing, so be prepared. After a hot day on the dunes we kind of found it refreshing.

Super rewarding hike and not difficult at all! It's long but with very gradual elevation gain, we did a day hike starting at 8 and got back to the car around 4. Hiked around the area too. Magnificent views

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