South Zapata Lake Trail is a 9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mosca, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
A hidden waterfall, several old miners cabins, and a high alpine lake are the rewards of this hike. The Zapata Falls are only 0.5 mile from the trailhead. The cabins are less than a mile beyond Zapata Falls. Continue 4 miles or so and you will come to a beautiful alpine lake above the tree line.
Beautiful trail. Moderate elevation change. Wildlife at the lake have been fed by hikers too much and are aggressive with begging. Water crossings are somewhat treacherous after storms. Be prepared to set up emergency shelter. I wont be doing this trail again.
Easy, wide and the waterfall is beautiful! Prepare to get your feet wet.
Great trail. Easy to navigate with a fair amount of traffic. Snow starts to accumulate towards the top this time in the season, be prepared with you dress. Great views of the San Louis Valley on the way up.
The South Zapata lake trail is pretty strenuous if you try to do out-and-back in six hours and are not acclimated to the elevation. There are some backpacking spots near the trail past the fork where you turn to go to the waterfall. About a mile in there is another camping site on the trail to South Zapata lake. There are no other easy campsites until you reach South Zapata lake however. The alpine area right before you get to the lake was very marshy and walking sticks were useful.
Beautiful views and steep, technical climbs. Lots of rushing creeks and waterfalls. Less than a mile from the lake the trail was lost under snow with waist-deep postholing. Don't plan on making it all the way to the lake this time of year without snow gear and a gps to navigate.
Moderate hike and very scenic along the way. Prepare to get your feet wet as you cross the creek quite a few times. I ran it this time-in the rain. 2 hours up and 1.5 down. Lots of fun!
Definitely plan on a solid 6 or 7 hours of hiking. We saw a few people on the trailhead who really didn't know what they were getting into. That being said, this is not too difficult of a hike and is absolutely beautiful. The waterfall is only .5 miles from the trailhead and is very cool in it self. Continue about 4.5 miles further, each way, and south Zapata lake is incredible.