Explore the most popular river 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.

Hiked Memorial Day Weekend. Absolutely beautiful hike! But please note that the lake is 6 miles ONE WAY, thus making this hike 13 miles if you include the Falls. We started around 9 am, and it took roughly 6 hours to do both and take a lunch break at the lake. Very steep trail, but once you hit the boulder fields it flattens out. Make sure to bring enough water, it gets hot in the afternoons. Lots of people were trying to start the hike (with no layers, visible water or snack supply) when we were finishing without realizing how far it really is.

hiking
2 days ago

This is an awesome short hike with great payoff. A few tips:
-the road up to the trailhead gets a bad rap, but I didn't find it to be too bad. I managed fine in my 2WD Ford Fusion. Just go slowly (5-10 mph max) and choose your line carefully. The road is plenty wide, so you have a lot of options to avoid the larger rocks. There are a few ruts in the road, but we didn't bottom out. Low and slow!
-The hike up to the river isn't difficult, but note that you do have to wade in the river to reach the falls; you can't see them from the trail. Tevas, Chacos, or similar might be better than shoes/boots. My water proof boots were great until I had to wade in water up to my mid-calf!
-If you feel like extending the hike, you could take the turn off to South Zapata Lake. The hike to the lake is long, but there are some old mining cabin ruins about 1 mile above the falls. The sign for this portion of the trail turnoff is misplaced (it must have fallen over), but the well-defined trail is on the right just before you reach the river crossing.

Enjoy!

hiking
2 days ago

Hiking on the Dunes is such an incredible experience. We went at sunrise, and it was well worth it. Some things to keep in mind:
-hiking in sand is much more difficult than regular hiking. It's a short distance (approx a mile to High Dune), but each step takes a lot more effort than hiking on usual surfaces
-we went the morning after a rainstorm. The sand was more packed/hard than usual, and this made hiking much easier. I highly recommend it!
-even though it's counterintuitive, wear shoes/boots/socks, not sandals. The sand can get quite hot and it burns. Even if you start out in the dark/early morning, the temperature can rise quickly.
-be careful in planning your path to the Dune; avoid the fragile plants!
-if it's windy, you'd appreciate long pants, a hat, and a windproof jacket (a rain jacket would do). At one point while sand boarding, I even wished for goggles.

Enjoy!

Suggest a SUV, AWD vehicle for ride up to trailhead. Once there, nice little rocky hike to falls. Wear the appropriate shoes (sandals) to make it into the inner walls of the cave/falls. Sweet little adventure. Highly recommend

hiking
6 days ago

Uphill, rocky hike. Pretty quick trip, took a while to drive up the rocky mountain in our scion tc but we made it. Waded through the ice cold creek to the falls. Definitely wear hiking boots or Teva’s if planning to go all the way to the falls (you can’t see it from dry land)

hiking
6 days ago

Wow. Definitely not a hike for those with weak knees. We planned on camping here, but due to lighting we ended up getting on the dunes around 2a.m. Definitely a challenging, but very rewarding hike. Some of the best views you can experience in America!

hiking
12 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.

backpacking
16 days ago

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

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
19 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
19 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
20 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
23 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 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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

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

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