Explore the most popular walking 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

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!

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!

1 month ago

Hard.

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

I've lived in the SLV most of my life, and Blanca's summit had been calling for a while. I finally decided to get in shape to do it, starting by regularly hiking Limekiln Hill, west of Monte Vista, sometimes doing time trials, sometimes adding 50lbs of weight, and then proceeding to hiking ever larger hills and mountains: Pup, Dog, Horseshoe, Windy, Bennett, Handies, West Spanish Peak, Twin Peaks, etc. Then, on a nice day, I finally went for it, thinking I'd just see how far I could get before weather or fatigue made continuing seem unwise. I was hurrying, trying to beat the usual afternoon thunderstorms. I started at 8700 feet at 7am. To my surprise, I made it to the summit at 11:20am without any real difficulty! It was easier than I expected!

The area around Como and the upper basin below Blanca and Ellingwood are gorgeous! And the views from the summit are hard to beat.

I had been concerned about how I'd do with the exposure on the ridge, looking down Blanca's north face, but I found that I was fine with it. But most of it, aside from a spot or two near the summit, is entirely avoidable if it makes you uncomfortable.

The scrambling near the top is easy if you have even a little scrambling/climbing experience.

I found trekking poles very helpful, as always, especially for the descent. Bring some tape to treat hot spots before they turn into blisters. The long descent can be grueling. Make sure your shoes or boots fit properly and leave a little space in front of your toes.

I don't recommend this hike, especially in one day, unless you are very fit and understand the weather risks. Afternoon thunderstorms are the norm in summer and can be very dangerous up above treeline.

A beautiful area all seasons. The falls area includes benches , bathrooms, and signs to learn about the history of the falls. While a little bit of a climb, it is possible to reach the base of the falls. Please do not try to drive here in the winter. I have had to help people who thought they could make it before. Less than ten cars might pass threw here per day, and the nights can drop well below zero. If you want to hike here in the winter, snow shoes are a must.

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
5 months ago

Started at 7 and I expected it to be an easy hike. But the road you hike on is fist sized round rocks that make walking terrible. The wind on top was 15 mph and it was manageable but the 7 degrees plus wind chill made it extremely cold. I would totally do it again though. Ended up taking 11 hours and ended up two miles from my car in the dark. PS: if you want at about 13000 ft on the left their is an old mine shaft 300 yards from the trail and it’s only 20 feet deep but it’s a nice relief from the wind and snow drifts.

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...

Favorite CO hike!

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

backpacking
9 months ago

Excellent hike. Wish I would have pushed my jeep a little further, at least until the switchbacks started. Nonetheless we got to tack on an additional few miles of hiking. Getting to coma lake, summiting Blanca the next morning, breathtaking views of neighboring peaks, all made it worth it. Tough hike, good challenge.

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.

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