South Zapata Lake Trail

MODERATE 21 reviews

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.

9.0 miles
3277 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash





nature trips


trail running







wild flowers



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.

Steeper than I expected but worth it.

7 days ago

This hike is lightly trafficked and I would say slightly more challenging than moderate. It is steep most of the way, however it is very rewarding. The view of the lake and the 14ers that surround it are unbeatable. We brought our dog, he was off leash the entire time, and he did wonderful. I do recommend bringing plenty of water, maybe even a small filter and snacks. Start early, the clouds seem to always move in around noon. Enjoy this beautiful hike!

12 days ago

One of the best views on this trail is at the trail head parking lot before you start. You can hear the river but seldom see it. The trail is very rocky with little to look at other than at an occasional clearing.

16 days ago

22 days ago

2 months ago

Very scenic trail. Several steep sections.

2 months ago

The trail starts off very wide and this section of the trail is heavily trafficked. About a half of a mile in you reach Zapata Falls, the trail to the lake breaks off to the right. From here on the trail is much narrower and less traveled, think any normal hiking trail. There are several hills but overall it is a moderate hike. There is snow near Zapata Lake. Pack snowshoes or plan to scramble for ~1/2 miles to reach the lake.

2 months ago

This hike is one of my all time favorites. zapata falls is gorgeous but you might get a little wet getting there. after the falls there is about a mile or so of pretty easy hiking and then it gets pretty difficult. there are several streams to cross and some steeper climbs but the lake was well worth it.

2 months ago

3 months ago

This is a harder hike than lead on to believe. Pack lots of water, snacks, and layers.

9 months ago

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday, August 07, 2016

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.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Easy, wide and the waterfall is beautiful! Prepare to get your feet wet.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

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.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

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.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

trail running
Monday, May 26, 2014

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.

Monday, August 19, 2013

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!