Explore the most popular waterfall 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
1 month 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
1 month 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!

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.

Was beautiful and frozen. Worth seeing!

hiking
3 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
3 months ago

Beautiful short hike

hiking
5 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
6 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!

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

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

hiking
8 months ago

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

hiking
8 months ago

Recommend going with someone who has done the hike before. Just a few spots near the top where you can go in the wrong direction. This is a very challenging hike but still do-able. Kids included.

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.

Huge waterfall.

hiking
8 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.

Beautiful falls and gorge overlook. Railings and areas of open rock cliffs if you're feeling adventurous. Waterfall is about 200 feet and people were climbing down the rocks to the bottom.

hiking
8 months ago

Wow! We made it! What an experience to see a lake named by one of our ancestors. The hike was really tough - after the 26+ switchbacks, there's still a ways to go. But the lake is worth it! It's even been stocked with fish!

hiking
9 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.

more of a stroll then a hike but beautiful overlook. safe railings.

fishing
9 months ago

This was a tough one. I didn't think I would make it. Pace yourself. The views are EPIC! Also, don't get your hopes up once you pass that 26th switchback, there's more up ahead. Prepare for mosquitoes from hell and even worse weather. We made the hike only to stand for 3 hrs in the hail! Good luck.

hiking
9 months ago

We walked up the dirt road because we were told that our Dodge Charger would not make it. It would have but the views were nice. To reach the falls, you have to balance yourself on a rock face just above flowing water which is ice cold. Eventually, you have to wade in the water which is like having an ice cream headache in your feet. The falls is in a cave so to speak and the constant mist provides a rainbow. This very short trail is for the young and agile, but not children as it would be very easy to slip and get injured.

on Zapata Falls Trail

hiking
10 months ago

A hassle to get to the trailhead on the unpaved road, and the trail gets very crowded. The falls are worth seeing - especially when still partially frozen! - but not much of a hike.

10 months ago

The hike ended up being 8 miles and that included going to the falls which is off to the side of the main trail. There are some fallen trees in the middle of the trail, a horse wouldn't be able to get around. If you're looking for your prince there's tons of frogs to choose from at the lake. Watch out for wood ticks along the way, I found 2 on my clothes on my way up. The GPS doesn't take you to the trail, if you look to the right just before turning on old bridge road there's a sign that points you in the right direction.

walking
10 months ago

Great waterfall, very small walk

Super easy hike in, anyone can do it. Bring water socks, your feet will freeze in the water that is no lie!

hiking
11 months ago

Pretty cool for a short walk, lots of people not that it was a problem.

11 months ago

Really fun

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