Trails.com is merging with AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Zapata Falls Trail

EASY 425 reviews

Zapata Falls Trail is a 0.9 mile moderately 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.

Distance: 0.9 miles Elevation Gain: 213 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

bugs

rocky

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.

hiking
rocky
1 day ago

What a surreal place. So much natural beauty you truly don’t know where to look. Best advice is to bring waterproof boots or don’t be afraid to get your feet wet! So worth it.

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful waterfall. The drive up there is very rocky. Just drive slow and you’ll make it up there. Make sure you bring water shoes or shoes you don’t mind getting wet.

hiking
7 days ago

Pretty waterfall! Tiny hike, plenty of parking, road isn’t that bad. Worth the minimal effort to go see

hiking
10 days ago

Warning! There’s three miles of off roading to get to the trailhead. Be sure you have a higher clearance vehicle or know how to maneuver around the rocks. Otherwise the hike is very peaceful and a steady incline. Get a nice view of the sand dunes from afar. The falls are cool! Be sure you have waterproof shoes and pants. The water is cold but so worth it!

hiking
24 days ago

Short hike to the falls once you reach the parking lot. Be sure to make a bucket of margarita and strap down in a secure spot in your vehicle. By the time you make it up the road to the parking lot it should be shaken to perfection and you’ll need to have a few to regain your equilibrium. All in all enjoyed the falls. Try to plan a early time so you don’t have to wade through a bunch of people and bring a good pair of water shoes.

hiking
26 days ago

Easy? Not sure this is considered a walk in the park. Big rocks, and little rocks, then there are jutting rocks, beside loose rocks too. If this sounds like a Dr Suess poem... so be it. I would say to where ankle supporting boots and watch where you step. I witnessed many abandoned flip-flops and shoes of non-hiking quality at random spots along the way. There are benches every so often for a rest if one gets overwhelmed, but opportunity for off trail wandering and moderate climbing can be achieved for those who are able and willing. Great picturesque spots.

hiking
28 days ago

Very short hike to the falls. Road to the trailhead takes longer than the actually hike. We did realize this can connect to Mosca Pass and we hiked the pass a bit. Easy trails.

hiking
28 days ago

As many have said the road up to the trailhead is very rocky and will toss you about. Just take it slow and you will get there. Same applies going down. The trail is moderately steep and rises from approximately 9100 to 9300 ft. At 78 I made it easily with just a few brief stops to rest. The view of the falls requires a walk through the icy water. Can be slippery. Well worth the effort!

hiking
30 days ago

Definitely worth going to! The 3 mile road leading up to the start of the hike, which takes about 25 minutes, is very bumpy with lots of rocks - doable, just go slow. If you have any open drinks in your car maybe want to cover those up as some spots are bumpier than others. I have a Honda CRV and I was just fine. I passed smaller cars on the road up, and they made it too. You walk about half a mile up at an incline that is fully rocks - I’d suggest wearing shoes for that part but then again I wore flip flops because I knew there was going to be a creek with rocks I’d have to walk over to get to the falls. So really up to you! Just a rocky path. I’d recommend bringing sandals or flip flops or water shoes since you have to briefly walk through water with rocks to get to the falls. The water wasn’t high at all for me, didn’t even go up to my ankles. The falls are sort of in a “cave” but it’s not the kind of cave you’d think - open top and not that dark whatsoever :) I was told to bring bug spray but when I went today around 9:30am there weren’t that many bugs at all! I’ve been told otherwise, so bring some if you have it. Factoring in time it took to drive up to the trail head, hike to the falls, hang around a bit, and drive back down it was a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Awesome falls! The price of admission is the rocky, bumpy 3.5 miles of dirt road leading to the trailhead. It will knock your cup right out of the cup holder! Once there though it’s an easy, short hike to the creek. We saw people with all types of footwear make it to the falls, but it requires rock hopping and wading to ankle depth. Our waterproof boots paid for themselves today! The falls are still thundering spectacularly, even this late in the summer. As spectacular as the falls themselves was the gorge through which they flow. The bright sunlight from above quickly disappears into the shadows in which you stand , looking up as mist settles on your upturned face.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome falls! The price of admission is the rocky, bumpy 3.5 miles of dirt road leading to the trailhead. It will knock your cup right out of the cup holder! Once there though it’s an easy, short hike to the creek. We saw people with all types of footwear make it to the falls, but it requires rock hopping and wading to ankle depth. Our waterproof boots paid for themselves today! The falls are still thundering spectacularly, even this late in the summer. As spectacular as the falls themselves was the gorge through which they flow. The bright sunlight from above quickly disappears into the shadows in which you stand , looking up as mist settles on your upturned face.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely NOT worth the trouble! I parked at the roadside & hiked up - & that was the best part! Don’t risk damaging your car for this! Go to the park instead & see the dunes & hike to Mosca peak (although be warned you don’t get much of a view except on the way back about halfway down, you get a glimpse of the dunes & mountain range). If you really want to see dunes go south to New Mexico (Alamogordo) & the White Sands National Monument...that has more to offer & no horrendous queues to get in! (honestly I waited a full 40 minutes at the great dunes NP to get past the entrance gate only to be severely disappointed as an international visitor!).

hiking
1 month ago

Fun hike. Great for kids!

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Zapata Falls is a beautiful and easy hike. The terrain is super rocky with a minimal incline. It’s a gorgeous hike, especially at sunset. To get close to the falls be prepared to walk through cold mountain water. It’s totally worth it! The hardest part is getting your car up the rocky road!

hiking
1 month ago

The 3 mile drive on the rocky road took 20 minutes. it is a VERY rough road! I don't think that the drive and damage to my paint job was worth a 20 minute round trip hike. I definitely agree that the best way to get to the falls is in a pair of shoes that can get wet and then just walk up the creek to the falls. That was the best part of the hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Great easy trail. To see the falls you have to walk through a river, which I was not prepared for. Also, the 3 mile road leading to the trailhead is very, very rough. I wouldn’t drive a sedan to the trailhead, but my SUV handled it well.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Great little hike to an awesome waterfall. I highly recommend wearing sandals such as chacos or keens and just walking in the water (in summer). Its very cold but it's much safer than trying to skirt the edge and causing erosion. Expect a fair amount of people, even on weekdays. Bring bug spray, there's a fair amount of mosquitos. The road in is not that bad. Its rocky, so go slow, but easily doable by all but the lowest clearance cars. I saw minivans, Corollas, and a Civic make it with no issue.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Went here in the winter and it was 100% worth it! Bring spikes if you want to go back to the frozen waterfall! It’s so cool!

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Drive was a bit rocky and hike was freezing on the feet BUT the falls were amazing!

hiking
2 months ago

Classic hike that we’ve done in the summer and spring when the creek is frozen. Definitely recommend - pretty, easy and unique. One word of caution, though. Don’t do this if it is - or will shortly - rain hard. We got caught coming out of the cave right as a downpour started and rocks started coming down from the cliff walls. Our kids got a few bumps from the falling rocks before we got to cover. Had to wait it out to calm down for a bit before making our way back to the trail. An adventure for sure! Still easy to recommend - just be safe.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous and an easy hike to get there. The drive up is rough - bring 4WD!

hiking
2 months ago

I like trail about half a mile up and half mile down The waterfall is beautiful and you will get your shoes Drenched in water be prepared to bring extra clothing If you plan on camping bring plenty of mosquito repellent there are a lot in the camp ground check inn when ever you want but check out is at 11:00 am the cost is 11:00 per night. I like it here will come again 08/03/2019❤️

Load More

Featured Trails