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Zapata Falls Trail

EASY 321 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
bugs
rocky
4 days ago

A short, must do. Just be prepared and know the road in is rough, bug lotion is a must, and accept that your feet/boots are going to get wet. Be careful the footing can be tricky in the creek but is doable. The short wade back into the cave to see the falls is why you hike this trail.

hiking
bugs
5 days ago

hiked 7/13 and the road to get there is longer than the hike itself. we saw all sorts of cars drive up the rocky road but I'm sure they were extremely uncomfortable because we were in a 4WD. the waterfall was okay the amount of mosquitos and the road to get there made it feel not worth it but I'm sure its beautiful in Spring when there is more snow melt and less bugs. if I had to recommend the Zapata Falls or Great Sand Dunes Ntl Park. I would say dont waste the drive to the Falls or potentially ruining your car and go straight to the dunes.

hiking
bugs
rocky
12 days ago

I would not recommend going up here if you’re in a small car. SUVs and Trucks are best due to the rocky roads. There was no falls at all when we went in July. Pictures show a beautiful falls but it must be during a more wet season.

hiking
bugs
rocky
13 days ago

The falls are AMAZING! The energy and beauty almost made me cry. I did it at about 8am and had the trail& falls to myself until I journeyed back down. Easy trail and the mosquitos really aren’t that bad - just in the parking area and the muddy bank of the river. I did the river barefoot and I lost feeling in my feet but it was super worth it. Would recommend water shoes and a hiking stick if you don’t have good balance.

hiking
15 days ago

The trail itself is pretty boring (just a rocky path, not much to see) but the waterfall and creek at the end are beautiful! Like the other reviews said, you do have to get your feet wet and wade/climb up shin-deep water to get the waterfall. The water is FRIGID (I couldn’t feel my feet after a few mins) and the rocks in the creek are slippery, but to me that made for a fun adventure. Definitely recommend this short hike! The only con is the road to the trailhead. Any car can make it — I saw 4wd, sedans, minivans and everything in between but it’s a very very bumpy, gravelly ride. If you go slow it shouldn’t be an issue for your car, just a bit annoying to be tossed around for the 3 mi there and back.

hiking
18 days ago

Loved the trail, not because it's a cool trail (it's rather dull and rocky) but because the waterfall at the top if awesome. You will have to wade to see them (100yds up the cold and slippy stream) but it's worth it. Take non slip sandals and hiking poles to help you get up the river.

hiking
bugs
rocky
18 days ago

First of all, do not by any means try this right now without bug spray. It’s a mosquito apocalypse there right now. Secondly, that water is COLD. Didn’t wade the last bit up because it was so cold. Flip flops not recommended. Wear good water shoes. The river is still beautiful even if you don’t go the last 100 feet.

hiking
bugs
18 days ago

Great trails often take some effort. Sure the drive is rough and there are bugs, but the sensation of calf deep icy cold water makes the last 100 feet simply awesome. You have to make the effort to go around the bend into the rocks Well worth the 1.5 hours of driving and hiking

hiking
19 days ago

Love this spot. Take repellent at certain times of the year and a vehicle that can handle the rough roads but well worth the hike to it.

hiking
27 days ago

The icy sensation of pins jabbing into your toes as you walk out of the fall is reason enough to make this epic trek. be prepared to walk in icy cold water to get to the grotto. loved this short hike on this beautiful day.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

For one, DO NOT drive up this road in a 2 wheel drive car. The road is rocky as it gets and is 3.3 miles straight up trying to maneuver over huge potholes, giant rocks and uneven ground. However, the trail is beautiful and I would highly recommend! The actual waterfall is up the icy cold stream and in a cave-like in cropping but is absolutely worth the icy toes!

hiking
1 month ago

Short hike up to the falls. Water was freezing & swift.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Short hike, it was rocky. Did not see the falls because the water was too cold! We'll come back in August ;)

hiking
1 month ago

The water is so high that you have to tread through the river up stream to even see the falls. If you can bare the numb feet from the freezing water, it’s a beautiful view. Overall, between that and the 30 min drive up a painfully rocky road, I don’t know that it’s worth it. Maybe when it’s warmer out and the water has gone down.

hiking
1 month ago

The water is so high that you have to tread through the river up stream to even see the falls. If you can bare the numb feet from the freezing water, it’s a beautiful view. Overall, between that and the 30 min drive up a painfully rocky road, I don’t know that it’s worth it. Maybe when it’s warmer out and the water has gone down.

hiking
1 month ago

The water is so high that you have to tread through the river up stream to even see the falls. If you can bare the numb feet from the freezing water, it’s a beautiful view. Overall, between that and the 30 min drive up a painfully rocky road, I don’t know that it’s worth it. Maybe when it’s warmer out and the water has gone down.

recorded Zapata Falls Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely do this in late summer. Have to hike up in the river to get to the falls. Way too much water to make it through because of snow melt.

hiking
1 month ago

Great little hike for anyone. Road up is rough.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

The drive up/down to the trail head is brutal on your car. It is unpaved and rocky, 3 miles long. Takes around 20 plus minutes. The hike was easy, rather rocky too. You get a far glimpse of the dunes and the mountain ranges along the trail. The falls is supposedly hidden behind a cliff wall which probably requires you to wade through the river, but in this temperature the water is near freezing and was not worth trying. Would probably just not recommend due to the amount of time getting to the trail in the first place...

1 month ago

This is easy, not moderate. Most anyone with legs can get to the creek in 15 minutes. The rest, however, is likely to be wading through shin-deep ice cold water to see the actual waterfall. The views of the sand dunes and the Sangre de Cristo mountains above them are spectacular, both from the trail and from the parking lot. The rough, 3-mile rocky dirt road takes longer than the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Everyone is correct...the road up is a rocky one. Great views of the dunes, mountains and the valley below once parked. The trail is short and goes by very quick. The waterfall/creek was raging this time of year. To see the falls, you have to tread up the creek. Impossible to keep the feet dry. I wore chacos and used poles for balance. The falls is truly a site to be seen. Still had a glacier of ice hanging to the wall. A short, adventurous, must do if in the area.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Relatively easy to moderate short hike (rocky and a little bit of elevation gain), but the water is very cold right now. I’m glad I wore water shoes. Be prepared to be in a river of fast, frigid snow melt for part of the trek and wear a waterproof jacket. My feet went numb a couple of times, and the rocks were slippery. Saw a couple people go barefoot and regret it. There is still ice on the waterfall.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful! The water was very full and cold! Gorgeous once you get to the water fall!

hiking
1 month ago

Great short hike up to a beautiful waterfall. Water was a bit chilly so have some type of water proof shoe to use.

hiking
1 month ago

An easy trail after a bumpy drive up, high clearance recommended. There are better waterfalls.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Great hike. Be prepared for all weather, snowed on the way back. Water is cold, you have to get wet for the best views and pics. My 3 y/o grandson hiked the with us, on his own, easy trail. Long bumpy road to get to it.

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