Explore the most popular hiking trails near Mosca with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
3 days ago

Agree with the last poster that the first 2/3rds are very hot with little shade if you park at the base of the mountain. Next time I will rent a jeep and go up further up to the larger tree area. Hiked up and saw multiple shallow lakes all the way to Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point. Beautiful. Little Bear peak is also in the same vicinity, but more technical. Camped out with perfect weather with low pressure system keeping the smoke out. Did not run into bears but saw big horn sheep and the usual suspects (marmots, deer, etc.). Definitely do this trip, but if you can start a bit higher than I did from the base.

hiking
6 days ago

Very easy hike, but the road getting there is extremely rough.

Surreal place and great little hike. Water and sunscreen are a must.

Amazing hike. I bit more challenging than anticipated, especially coming from sea level. Started 7:00am at the campground trailhead. Made it to the lake by 11:20am. Back to campground by 3:00pm. Bring lots of water and sunscreen. The Sun is very strong. Also, thunderstorms started moving in around 1:00pm.

Went on a windy, cloudy morning before a thunderstorm and it was a magical experience. Definitely follow the ridges where the sand is more firm. The wind was blowing the sand around, making beautiful eddies but blasting our legs. Wear pants on a windy day (easy to say when it was cloudy) and stay on the windward side of the ridges.

Tips aside, one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, 100% recommend!!! The beauty was otherworldly. If you go beyond the first high dune ridge, all that you can see for miles are dunes and mountains.

Update: we went again the morning after a steady rain, and the sand was solid and cool to walk on. Perfect conditions for hiking, and the patterns that showed up were breathtaking. I walked barefoot in the dunes for hours with plenty of sunscreen and plenty of water.

backpacking
10 days ago

A moderately challenging hike with some steep sections. Beautiful views at the lake though!

Beautiful hike, and though sandy, hot, and hard, it’s so worth it! We tried sliding down in a cardboard box, but it didn’t work very well for us and we ended up just tumbling down the dune. Overall, it was a wonderful trip!

Amazing views on the way! We started very late about 5 pm and went to the falls first started to trail from the falls around 6 pm and went uphill for about another 2 hrs and turn around at 8 pm. We didn’t finish the trail but my gps told me we went about 3.4 miles so we were about 1.2 mile short of finishing the trial. It’s totally doable and worth it. Amazing views of sunset and the valley

hiking
13 days ago

If you're taking your dog, be aware of the temperature of the sand! Nothing is worse for your furry friend than four burned paws. According to the lovely rangers, the sand gets 50 degrees hotter than the ambient temperature. So get an early start, or do a sunset hike if you're bringing your pets.

hiking
13 days ago

Absolutely breathtaking, I am from upstate NY and there simply isn't anything that will prepare you for the contrast of enormous sand dunes against the backdrop of such majestic mountains. There is no marked trail, it is go as you please (a refreshing change from life here in the northeast) so you really so feel as if your hike is unique. Don't be fooled though, the further you go the more you understand that hiking in sand is more difficult than you might expect. There really are no words for the beauty you will see, so do not miss this if you are in the area. If you are afraid of heights, as my wife is, it can really push your limits as you walk the ridge lines heading to High Dune. If is a windy day, which it was, the blowing sand can sting and get everywhere ( I mean everywhere). But don't let that stop you, the view from the top of High Dune is unlike any I have ever seen. Looking out over that vast dune field and grassland is something you will never forget!

hiking
13 days ago

FYI, walking up steep sand dunes is tougher than it looks.

Great hike and since of accomplishment when you reach the top! Definitely wear wind breaker pants and take something to cover your face. The sand hitting you on some of the ridges from the wind hurts! Take lots of water and take lots of breaks!

This hike is moderately difficult but STEEP once you're about a third of the way up. These mountains are powerful and the San Luis Valley can create some wild weather, so don't forget to keep your eye to the west once in awhile (the view is worth it!). When we attempted this hike during early June of 2016, there was still plenty of snow remaining on the last third of the trail, causing us to miss part of the trail that went south at a creek crossing; we instead entertained ourselves with a fairly large boulder field and eventually met back up with the trail. You're getting right up underneath some amazing, high peaks once at South Zapata Lake. Love this section of mountain ranges for the magic it still has in it!

hiking
17 days ago

Much harder than one would expect. Bring water and sunglasses, as towards the top the wind gets nasty and you will be eating sand. Pace yourself, as the sand makes it slow going. Push past the initial high point where most people stop and continue off to the left, which requires a slight decline before heading up the spine of the final, highest dune, which offers amazing views.

Beautiful scenery. We went a bit beyond Lake Como and turned back at Blue lake. Be advised that the "road" leading to the lake can be a bit treacherous due to the loose rocks and gravel. If you are doing this hike in the summer, go early because the first two thirds have very little cover and it is very hot.

Beautiful view of the falls if you’re willing to get cold feet and have a good mosquito repellent.

Went there on june 24th. We came around 830 AM and saw very few people. Can get windy and cold at the lake, but the views are amazing!

Beautiful! Be prepared for a very bumpy/rocky drive up(my Fitbit counted it as steps and stairs.) To actually see the falls you have to walk in the creek- fairly hard to accomplish without stepping in the water. Quick easy hike with a beautiful destination.

on High Dune Trail

hiking
24 days ago

Great hike!

Awesome view! Definitely worth the huh ike and drive.

This is a great waterfall but to actually see the falls you have to walk in and out of the creek for about .2 if a mile. Worth it, but you definitely need water shoes or at least water resistant hiking boots. Great views of the Sand Dunes and San Isabel range on the way down. I measured 1.8 miles round trip. The road to the trailhead is fairly rough.

This lake is stunning! It sits just below Blanca Peak which was really neat. Most of the hike is through a forest but towards the end, the trail levels out in a beautiful valley just above treeline. It was cloudy and misty when we went, but the views were still incredible. I kept stopping for photos and to just marvel at how great it was. We started early in the day (on a Sunday in June) and saw very few others on the trail. This trail is somewhat challenging with a consistent uphill grade and a few steep sections, but nothing overly demanding if you are used to hiking//are in good physical shape. And it is easy to follow.

The flowers right now are amazing--so many Columbines, more than I have ever seen on a trail before, and everything else is very green. Highly recommend if you are in the area!

hiking
26 days ago

A hiking stick helps a lot. Bring much more water than you think you will need.

Dogs ARE allowed on this trail!!
A great hike for kids - short, with points of interest marked along the way. Be sure to stop at the trailhead to check out the book that identifies each of the numbered markers.
Parts of the trail are lined with aspens, which will be gorgeous in the fall.

Wow.
Definitely worth the drive and $20 entry fee. Tough hike at times to get to the top. Gorgeous when you're there - sand dunes as far as you can see. Minus the temp, I felt like I could be in the Sahara.

Did this hike at sunset as another viewer suggested, and it was stunning. Bare feet the whole way. Had my two dogs with me and I'd suggest getting booties for those bringing theirs. The paths to and from the dunes were lined with small cactus. Also, even if the sand isn't hot, I suspect running on this was pushing their paw pads apart. Both started showing signs of paw irritation and ended up putting them on - they went from 0 to 100 real quick.

This was by far the most distinctive hike I've done. Very happy hiker here.

hiking
1 month ago

Such a unique hike in CO. Highly recommended for those looking to go out of their comfort zones.

walking
1 month ago

Done this 3 times and love the climb, great views of the dunes

Hiking sticks are a huge help.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiking sticks are a big help

At the trail head there is a sign posted warning of the difficulty of the trail and advising hikers to not "recreate beyond their abilities." I will say that was a very fair warning. The hike is beautiful, the trail leads you back to the farthest and highest point of the valley at which South Zabata Lake is located. However, almost the entire hike is uphill. Very physically challenging (as much on the way down as the way up). Bring lots of snacks and water, you will need it! It took us about 8 hours total. Fun but intense, make sure you are prepared.

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