Explore the most popular trail running 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.

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 definitely 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!

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.

This is an amazing hike. But sorry, everyone who seeks to be debating... it is 5.7 Miles EACH WAY. So you’re going to come in just under 12. That is FROM THE TRAILHEAD. Now onto the hike itself.

This trail offers amazing views, and the lake and bowl at the end are incredible. It is, however, relentless. Loose, sharp rock from the first 1/4 mile, a quite a few steep, loose, technical ascents and then descents. If you’re use to 14ers and such, you could do this in trail runners. For the average but avid hiker, I’d recommend a sturdy hiking show or mid boot and certainly one or two hiking poles would be nice, mainly for coming down.

A wonderful backpacking trail with some nice areas to camp right at tree line near the lake, but brutal as a day hike. Took us about 4 hours up and 2.5 down (lots of short stops both ways - we had a dog with us and I was having some trouble with the altitude on the ascent).

Absolutely stunning end destination and worth it - but our group of four agreed that it’s just about the toughest thing we’d done in Colorado aside from a fourteener. So be prepared and enjoy!!!

We hit Zapata falls at the end and boy did that frigid water feel amazing on our throbbing feet!

on South Zapata Lake Trail

11 days ago

This hike was exactly 10 miles round trip from the parking lot.
Very steep, suggesting hiking poles but the reward is sweet. Beautiful scenery throughout the hike.

I don't know what is wrong with these wimpy Colorado folk below me. This is definitely not a hard trail, and the moderate rating is appropriate. And the guy claiming it is 8 miles both ways is just spreading misinformation. It is 4.4 both ways. The trail is easy to follow, has a persistent but mild upward grade, and only a few short stretches of steeper climbs, although there are some very rocky bits and scree fields to cross. I would have been well served to wear stiffer-soled shoes and to remember a trekking pole. There's wonderful tree cover for most of the way. Took me 2.5 hours up and 2.5 hours down.
Love the inquisitive marmots and the Alpine tundra wildflowers above the timberline!

hiking
15 days ago

As the others said already, the Lake Como road is horrible. It is basically destroyed by the off-road vehicles, there are loose rocks everywhere, so it is difficult to walk. It is also very dusty hence unpleasant. The trees along the road are damaged by the vehicles too which is very sad. Why to destroy the nature??? There is a marker at 4.0 mile to the lake. The next marker is only at 1.5 miles to the lake (so don't get discouraged). Hiking in the morning is quite pleasant as the road is in a shade, however when descending in the afternoon you will have sun directly in your face (bring a ton of sunscreen). Lake Como itself offers epic views on Little Bear Peak, but the surroundings don't look particularly appealing. There are pieces of burnt wood scattered everywhere... Off-road vehicles continue to drive all the way to the waterfalls under Blanca Peak destroying the trail and the surrounding nature (I am not getting that....). Wildflowers are awesome in this time of the year :-)

As the other reviewers have said, this is more of a “hard” hike as it is quite long and fairly steep in certain areas. We only saw 2 people on the trail! The views are absolutely amazing, you can see so much of the San Luis Valley and the Sand Dunes! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete this hike on that day. We started around 12:30-1pm (admiring Zapata Falls for half hour before that) and we were just past the halfway point around 3:30-4 not to mention we had to drive back to Denver later that evening. TIPS; take plenty of water OR a filter/UV light and snacks, make sure your shoes are comfy, and start EARLY. The trail sometimes isn’t marked well, follow your instincts! The road to the trailhead is about 2-2.5 miles of rocky terrain so make sure your tires are in good shape. I will be going back more prepared to see the lake in the future!

nature trips
19 days ago

First of all, moderate MY ASS. This hike is a killer climb and it’s not for the faint of heart. It is not 4.5 in and 4.5 out. It is 8 Miles in and 8 Miles out. It is a wonderful challenge, but don’t be fooled and don’t be cocky. This trail will kick your butt. Worth it but I will never do it again.

Really great trail but be prepared it’s a long one because of the incline and elevation. Took us about 6-7 hours and really is more of a hard as we clocked in around 11-12 miles because we went to the falls first. It was a little snowy in the basin, but the lake is halfway melted. Beautiful hike and view just be prepared!

Lots of camping spots along the way. Saw hardly anyone

hiking
2 months ago

Just went on this trail this morning! It was a decent hike but very anticlimactic ending. We took the nature loop on our way back down, which adds hardly any milage, and that was probably the best part of the whole trail. Coolviews of the dunes on this end.

Fantastic hike!

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful spring hike! It’s a long hike to the end, but the views throughout were awesome! We saw big horn sheep and a followed the creek throughout. Afterwards we hit the dunes. Made for a great day.

Beautiful hike! If you feel up to it, continue on up to the summits of Twin Peaks. The views of Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear are amazing!

Great trail! Some snow coverage but good traction.

hiking
7 months ago

We hiked the whole trail to the end and back. It led you through forests, side of the mountain and eventually to a grassland area. We went in October and choose a sunny day in the 60's to hike. It was the perfect temp! There's a old car hidden in the woods off to the right if you came from the entrance near the sand dunes. Took about 4 and a half hours with breaks and a kiddo.

During my visit in July, I started the trail from its southern end at the intersection where the Montville Nature Trail loops back to the trailhead, and near where the Mosca Pass Trail continues into the mountains. The views begin almost immediately, and are mostly unobstructed by the hillside trees. The higher perspective provides a wonderful view of the dune field, the grasslands and the surrounding Sangre De Cristo Mountains. With limited time, I wasn’t able to complete the entire trail. But it was definitely worth it for the beautiful panorama.

hiking
9 months ago

Backpacked our way to the campsite right before treeline. Made it to Zapata lake the next day. Did this early june. Snow still present

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful trail through the woods and then meadows filled with wildflowers. The trail does follow the Creek, but there are only a few easy points to drop in so the pups can drink. We saw a bear across the creek early on but he ran off and we didn't see any wildlife after that. We started the hike at 7am and got back to the TH at 10 on the dot, and then included plenty of picture stops! Didn't see anyone until we were half way back down, so early is the way to go for privacy, not to mention nice cool temps and that gorgeous golden light streaming through the trees. Perfect hike!

Steeper than I expected but worth it.

hiking
10 months ago

trail(road) leading to como is horrible, def get your workout in for the day. Como is very beautiful once you make it there. 4x4 will help get you further up the road. 3 stars due to the trail but Como Lake is a 5 star.

hiking
10 months ago

This hike is lightly trafficked and I would say slightly more challenging than moderate. It is steep most of the way, however it is very rewarding. The view of the lake and the 14ers that surround it are unbeatable. We brought our dog, he was off leash the entire time, and he did wonderful. I do recommend bringing plenty of water, maybe even a small filter and snacks. Start early, the clouds seem to always move in around noon. Enjoy this beautiful hike!

hiking
10 months ago

One of the best views on this trail is at the trail head parking lot before you start. You can hear the river but seldom see it. The trail is very rocky with little to look at other than at an occasional clearing.

backpacking
10 months ago

The Lake Como Rd is called the "Worst Road" in Colorado for a good reason. From Highway 150, a regular car can drive about 1.5-2 miles up the road. A stock jeep or truck about 3 miles. Specialty vehicles can drive all the way to Lake Como (lots of videos on Youtube). On a recent backpacking trip we measured 5.8 miles from our start to the western shore of Lake Como resulting in a 4,000 ft climb. This is an "ankle-breaker" trail and not a good walking surface as long stretches are almost entirely softball to basketball sized boulders. Around mile 4.3 we crossed the only convenient water source, Holbrook Creek. There are a fair number of individual campsites dispersed along the trail.
Lake Como is beautiful and the western end has lots of campsites and can accommodate a large group. There is also a small cabin if you need a quick shelter. I saw two bear cables. These sites are heavily used as shown by the amount of trash and excessive number of fire rings. For better campsites I recommend walking to the southern shore. Misquotes, chipmunks, and people are abundant.
From Lake Como you can go for the higher lakes or the summit of Mount Blanca, about 2.8 miles one-way.

The Lake Como Rd is called the "Worst Road" in Colorado for a good reason. From Highway 150, a regular car can drive about 1.5-2 miles up the road. A stock jeep or truck about 3 miles. Specialty vehicles can drive all the way to Lake Como (lots of videos on Youtube). On a recent backpacking trip we measured 5.8 miles from our start to the western shore of Lake Como resulting in a 4,000 ft climb. This is an "ankle-breaker" trail and not a good walking surface as long stretches are almost entirely softball to basketball sized boulders. Around mile 4.3 we crossed the only convenient water source, Holbrook Creek. There are a fair number of individual campsites dispersed along the trail.
Lake Como is beautiful and the western end has lots of campsites and can accommodate a large group. There is also a small cabin if you need a quick shelter. I saw two bear cables. These sites are heavily used as shown by the amount of trash and excessive number of fire rings. For better campsites I recommend walking to the southern shore. Misquotes, chipmunks, and people are abundant.
From Lake Como you can go for the higher lakes or the summit of Mount Blanca, about 2.8 miles one-way.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful trail.... well marked & well kept. You follow Mosca creek the entire way - very peaceful. The views of the sand dunes are also marvelous. The first 3/4 mile is definitely the most difficult with the elevation gain. We saw very few other hikers. Be prepared for a plethora of mosquitos (the only reason I ranked it 4 stars - I wasn't prepared) !!

Took the 4WD road to the Sand Ramp trailhead, parked, backpacked to Little Medano backcountry campsite (0.7 miles, uphill, in the sand). There is a drought, so Little Medano Creek was dry, which was a shame; we ended up going back to the road and carrying water back. We set up camp and then hiked just past Aspen and back with lighter gear. As others mentioned, there seems to be a lot of unnecessary winding, but the views are beautiful. I'm surprised people rate this trail so low, but maybe it's the time of year that you go? We had a great overnight, and then packed up and hiked the dunes on Day 2.

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