Zapata Falls

Zapata Falls, Mosca: Address, Phone Number, Zapata Falls Reviews: 4.5/5

Zapata Falls
4.5
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4.5
454 reviews
Excellent
273
Very good
124
Average
32
Poor
15
Terrible
10

Carolina
1 contribution
Zapata Falls is the sort of place you can’t find unless you look for it. Despite this, I stumbled upon it largely by accident as it happened to be the only open campsite in all southwestern Colorado because it is first come, first serve. It’s a bit of an adventure to find, miles and miles through the wide open expanse of the San Luis Valley, and the a sharp right turn onto the roughest three mile dirt road my ford fusion has ever seen that seems to be going nowhere the entire 25 minutes it takes to wind up the side of the valley without popping a tire.
The campsites sit on the west facing slopes of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, from which you can see the tallest sand dunes in North America and a spectacular view of the sunset over the valley. It is great for car camping, for $11 a night the sites are decently spaced, there is good tree coverage and clean bathrooms. The weather is unpredictable, so be prepared for short bursts of strong winds and heavy rains, especially in late summer.
The hike to the falls from the campsite is short and sweet, uphill but not too steep, though if you’d like to see the waterfall be prepared to wade upstream for 20 feet or so. The water is cold, but it’s worth it to wade into a chasm carved out by the force of a little creek over a millennium. The falls themselves aren’t large, but it’s the sort of place where time ceases to exist, or maybe is a little more present, just for a moment until someone else comes in and they aren’t wearing a mask and damn its 2020 isn’t it?
Written September 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

PrMichaelM
Des Moines, IA568 contributions
Family
Our hike to Zapata Falls was the adventure of the day and possibly of our vacation - time will tell! It’s not for all, however. They are working on the road and we had delays up and down but enjoyed all the folks waiting with us. The ride is slow but doable. Not sure why some folks were driving with campers and RV’s, but... The hike itself has some modest elevation but is only half a mile, so accessible for any age at a moderate fitness level. The creek, however, requires some discernment. Since we were the first from our line of traffic buddies to the creek, we weren’t sure what to do. But the course is to get in it and walk upstream. No brainer! Right now the flow is moderately rapid and frigid, but it is not deep. Water shoes are a must in my opinion but I would wear regular shoes rather than go barefoot as you need to negotiate each step to avoid slipping on rocks, twisting your ankle or worse. You can look to see where the falls is, you just can’t view the falls because when you get there, you have to turn left. But despite the numb feet (frigid), it’s worth it! Today there is still an ice formation up there. Go for it (if you have a change of shoes/socks or are on your way out when you are finished...)!!
Written June 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

bcasey1
Plant City, FL1,665 contributions
Friends
We were happy to have a 4 wheel drive vehicle to drive up to the parking lot. The drive is under construction, so it may be better in the future. Just drive slow and steadily. Once we parked, it was a lovely walk to the stream. A bit steep at times for people not yet used to the higher elevation, but certainly do able, especially with some benches along the way to catch our breath. We walked across the rocks and snow over a stream, then kind of hugged the rock walks to get into the cave. We were so lucky to see the waterfalls half frozen. After enjoying that for a bit, we walked around a bend to see the part of the falls that was running. So pretty! We lucked out that it wasn't too crowded, so we could just be there to take it in for a bit without being rushed out, or having to share with toomey people. Worth the trip. It was a nice thing to do after going to Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Written June 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jmpncsu
Raleigh, NC4,381 contributions
We visited Zapata Falls while staying at Great Sand Dunes. The entrance road is just a few miles south of the park. Be warned, it is a very rough gravel road leading up to the trailhead, but can done in a 2WD sedan if you go slowly. The road ends at the campground and an easy half-mile trail leads to South Zapata Creek and the waterfall is just upstream in a narrow chasm. In warmer weather, you'll have to wade the creek to get into the chasm and see the falls. But in colder weather, it's completely frozen and we wore micro-spikes and walked the frozen creek into the gorge. The waterfall was completely frozen and the blue ice surrounding the falls was gorgeous. This is definitely a fantastic waterfall and a must-see if visiting the area.
Written May 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dave S
Omaha, NE179 contributions
The entrance to the falls trail is on the way to Great Sand Dunes and is easily accessible. Definitely take the time to stop here. It is free and definitely worth the time. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead. It is a short hike up the trail to the falls. To actually see the falls, you do have to walk in the creek and climb over rocks. It is not accessible to those who have mobility issues. We were there in the evening so it was not too hot but the creek was running pretty high because of rain on the mountain. Even if you are not able to see the falls, the hike and creek are worth the time. Be prepared for very cold water in the creek.
Written August 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jogger1987
Pueblo, Colorado, United States43 contributions
There are a lot of reviews describing the road as awful, and damage causing etc. I can't say for sure, but I think those individuals took Blanca Road instead of Zapata Falls Road. Before, getting to the Zapata Falls Recreation Area (you can't miss it, BLM has added a ton of signs and informational booths, just off highway 150) there is another road a few miles south of Zapata Falls that leads up to Blanca Peak. That road is a designated Jeep route. If people took that road in a stock vehicle they would definitely tear their vehicle up. I've been up to Blanca Peak and I've been up to Zapata Falls multiple times. The road up to Zapata Falls is a small rocky dirt road. Take is slow under 20 mph and you'll make it just fine. I've taking a Honda Civic, and Honda Fit. Today when I went up in our Subaru Forester, there were 4 passenger sedans. The hike is easy, and late spring is a unique time. The runoff is just starting so most of the waterfall is still frozen, but access is much easier to it, bc the creek is flowing slow and low. Summer the waterfall will be flowing full blast, making it difficult to fully get into the slot canyon. It's worth checking out, no matter what time of year.
Written May 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

stevesgirl1111
Centennial, CO57 contributions
Family
We really enjoyed our trip to Zapata Falls! The road is bumpy but we easily did it with our Subaru Outback. Fun fact - it’s actually less jarring of a ride if you drive a little faster. Go slow and you feel every rock. The hike to the falls was also rocky but fairly short. Make sure you bring water shoes! You will need to walk through the stream to see the actual falls. The water was very cold but it was worth it! We were with two 12-year-olds who thought it was “lit.” Lol. Next time we’ll pack a lunch, bring our hammocks, and make an afternoon of it!
Written June 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

worktotravel14
Trenton, NJ1,823 contributions
Mind you, we took on this hike after 4 hours of hiking, but we were surprised at the steepness of the trail. It is one of the most hiked trails and you basically hike up a riverbed. Tons of stone until you get to the part of the bed that is near the Falls You do a few crossings in the water and then you are there. The only hard parts of the hikes are navigating around people. It is a crowded a popular trail. The falls are hidden, so it's anticipatory until right near the end. It is pretty and given that it's only a few hundred feet of hiking, it's worth a stop, especially if it's your first time.
Written December 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dare2Live
Dallas, TX73 contributions
The other reviews that mention the long gravel road up to the parking area of the trail to the falls is absolutely accurate. Take your time driving up and you'll be fine. Also, take your time walking back down the trail from the falls to the parking area. It can be treacherous with the rocks.

All of that being said - totally worth it! Great little hike up. Worth the minimal effort to see and hear the falls. Be courteous to other people - there's sure to be a lot of people in the warmer months. Worth it. Just go!
Written June 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Shellee R
2 contributions
Family
Zapata Falls was a nice little unplanned spot for us where we hiked on a whim on our family vacation. Rocks going up the first part of the trail are a little tricky, but nothing you can’t do by just taking your time and watching your step. We hiked with our two children, ages 6 and 10. We were glad we had on adventure/hiking sandals since we had to cross the creek a few times to get to the falls. Water is ice cold and refreshing if it’s hot. Our whole family agreed that this spot was a trip highlight. Only negative, there were flies/gnats that swarmed us at the base of the trail (guessing it’s proximity to the primitive restroom nearby). It’s definitely a must on your list!
Written June 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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