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Zapata Falls Trail is a 0.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Mosca, Colorado that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 0.9 mi Elevation gain 213 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Bugs

Rocky

Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

The falls were formed when South Zapata Creek wore a groove in the crystalline rocks of the Sangre de Cristos, allowing its water to spill onto the soft alluvial soils below. Over millennia, the creek has carved a dim, deep and narrow chasm through which water tumbles some 30 feet. In the summer, the falls offer a cool respite; winter temperatures turn them into a giant ice sculpture.

US Forest Service Rio Grande National Forest 1803 W. Highway 160 Monte Vista, CO 81144 Phone: 719-852-5941

To reach Zapata Falls Campground: (Trailhead at campground) From Highway 160, about 5 miles west of Blanca, turn north on Highway 150 and travel about 10.5 miles to BLM road 5415; turn east and travel another 2.5 miles to the campground entrance. To reach the road to the campground from the Great Sand Dunes National Park, travel about 7 miles southwest on Highway 150

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (670)
Photos (267)
Recordings (503)
Completed (1376)
JP Chaisson
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Hiking

Hard drive up but worth it. Temps were hot until you get to the river. Then it feels 20 degrees cooler. You have to walk in the frigid water to get to the falls but there are big boulders to stand on every once and a while to warm up. More people than Cuchara but less than Royal Gorge.

View JP's Recording
Kristi Rodda
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HikingGreat!Rocky

It was very heavily trafficked. Many families with kids and dogs on leash. The water fall was gorgeous. We both really liked it. The road up to the falls is very rocky. It took us 20-30 mins to get up the hill going 15-20mph. I have a stock Jeep Wrangler Rubicon w 33” tires. We aired down to make the ride more smooth. We camped at the Zapata Campground which was lovely. $11 per night, camp host on site. Fire pits and incredible bear boxes provided. There was no fire ban. You’re allowed to cut and collect dead wood. Bathrooms located throughout the campground.

Regina Kania
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Hiking

So Cool!!! We stopped by on way from the Dunes and as billed. Bumpy Road!! I get motion sick but I was ok!! And it was so worth it. Short hike. Need rugged water shoes like Keens at the end to get up to the water fall and see up to it. Just a short distance. Cold feet, felt so good after the hot sand.

Nicole S.
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Hiking

Clearly marked trail with informative signs. Easy hike but not worth the drive unless you are already up here camping. Great walk from the campsites. Very busy, lots of families...

AllTrails User
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Hiking

Amazing hike! Make sure to bring hiking sandals for walking up the river.

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Sofia Ketcham
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We took this trail at dusk. Getting there is like driving through a rock garden, so bumpy. The trail is also very rocky to get to the falls. Not worth it for me.

Mallory Williams
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HikingRocky
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Ed Bills
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HikingRocky

5/5 for the short hike with amazing waterfall and great views of the sand dunes. 0/5 for the horrible rocky road up to the trail head. Not for the faint of heart of low rise vehicles

View Ed's Recording
Sharon B.
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Hiking

Short hike but challenging with the rocks. wear good shoes you can hike in and don't mind getting wet.

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Karlin Foor
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HikingRockyScramble

Epic!!! But it does get sketchy at the end and you need to be willing to get your feet wet. Water is also very cold.

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Rich Jones
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Hiking

Great little hike. Waterfall was spectacular today!! Water shoes with grip tread are very helpful. Will definitely be back.

Lily Sitero
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HikingRocky

Too crowded, too rocky. Road up is super rocky and bumpy.

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Aaron Schan
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HikingFloodedRockyScramble

Super awesome hike, although short. The road up is really rocky. We did it in our stock jeep Cherokee no problem though. It cuts a few miles off your hike, we also saw a couple sedans making it up. The road doesn’t get too much worse than it is in the beginning so if you start and it’s too much just turn around. Your MUST hike through the creek In the canyon to get to the falls. You WILL get wet, and there’s nothing you can do about that. It was awesome! Nothing really above your ankles but I would recommend water shoes or maybe Sandals. Rocks can be slippery so watch your step. This is probably one of the coolest waterfalls I’ve ever been to! Everything from the drive up to the hike through the canyon was a cool adventure! Must do if your are in the area.

View Aaron's Recording
Mackenzie Wendahl
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HikingRocky
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Ally Byzewski
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HikingRockyWashed out

If you really need something to do maybe make the trek up but the road is miserable. It’s like you are driving over millions of speed bumps and can’t go over 5 mph most of the time. Falls were pretty cool just be careful rocks are slippery. You can make it a fun climbing traverse

View Ally's Recording
Melissa M
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HikingRocky

Short climb up rocky path to water fall; last bit is through river, you will get your feet wet. Worth it for beautiful waterfall in the mountainside.

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Ross Miller
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The drive up was as promised - 3 bumpy miles. We were in a 2WD Sequoia and had no issue. We camped at Zapata Falls Campground and had a few spots to choose from. The ZF hike was easy and short. Did it in flip flops. I went barefoot once we hit water. It was refreshing. We went at lunch time and the sunlight cut through the rocks from above. It was AMAZING. The rock formations are even more spectacular than the waterfall itself.

Lizzeth Nevarez
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Hiking

The ride up in the car is super bumpy but the falls are worth it!

View Lizzeth's Recording
Beatrice Lawson
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Hiking

Rough road getting up to the trailhead but nice trail and beautiful waterfall.

View Beatrice's Recording
Kelley Opperud
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Hiking

Very beautiful place, just be prepared to drive up a very rocky road and hike up a pretty easy but can be rocky, trail. Wear shoes that can get wet and maybe bring a stick for balance as you'll be walking on rocks through water. So worth it.

Phillip Martin
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If you want to see the falls, you will have to get your feet wet. Keep that in mind for footwear. We did the short-ish hike in flip flops.

Lexi Vance
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Hiking

Short hike but gorgeous waterfall inside the cove. Be prepared to get your shoes wet! It was crowded as expected (we went on a Thursday late afternoon). As other reviews state 4WD is definitely preferred for the rocky drive up.

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Joshua Sikora
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HikingNo shadeRocky

Good trail would not say this is easy if you hike all the time then yes but if you are not a normal hiking person then u will find it hard and road up to it is omg bumpy but you can make it

Taylor Frenchi
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Hiking

Quick, rocky trail to a gorgeous view. Came on a weekday and had the waterfall to ourselves. Not much shade on the trail to the waterfall and highly recommend Chacos or bringing a second set of shoes since your feet will get wet if you go to the base of the falls. The drive up to the trailhead is pretty brutal but we made it in a minivan with no trouble. Just very slow going.

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