Explore the most popular wild flowers 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.

backpacking
8 hours ago

this trail is great access to mountains like Adams and other 13er/14ers it doesn't have many poeple on it ever really (much less then willow) and is way easier but a little longer.

Magnificent! The water felt warm enough to swim in of it had been sunny.

Great short hike.

hiking
2 days ago

Did this hike this morning. IMHO, the highlight of the hike was the side trail to Rough Creek Falls. Very pretty. Ruybalid Lake itself is in a beautiful location. But the view is marred by the prevalence of so many Engelmann Spruce trees devastated by the spruce bark beetle. I still think it's worthwhile to climb up to the lake. Just don't be disappointed when you discover that the reality doesn't match the pictures you might have see of the picturesque lake.
One trail-finding note. When you reach the meadow at the top of the climb, the trail towards Ruybalid Lake is not that evident. To find it. look out into the meadow, and head towards the two 6 foot posts about 10 yards apart from each other. The furthest post has the number 855 engraved at the top of the post, signifying the Forest Service designation of the Ruybalid Lake Trail. From these posts, the trail is a lot clearer.
Enjoy your hike.

hiking
9 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
18 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.

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
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

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!

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