Zapata Falls

4 Hr
200 ft gain
.9 Mile
Out & Back
Rock Formations
Rock Formations

Bask in the Glory of a 30ft Waterfall!

Zapata Falls is a stunning 30 foot waterfall nestled in a canyon near the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. It is a must stop for anyone on their way to Great Sand Dune National Park!

The hike is short and doesn't climb much, making it an easy stroll for the whole family! The falls are absolutely gorgeous and a great place to cool off on a hot summer day!

A few things to be aware of on this adventure. First, the road up to the trailhead and campground is quite rough. 2WD vehicles can make it, just go very slow and be prepared for an extremely bumpy ride. It is 3 miles of rough road to the trailhead, and it can easily take a half hour to complete.

Secondly, the actual falls are within a canyon. You will have to traverse through the stream and over slippery wet rocks into the canyon to view the falls. Water shoes are definitely a good idea to bring on this adventure. See the entry into the canyon/fall viewing area below.

Once around the corner in this canyon you will have to yell to hear each other over the roaring falls! The falls themselves are absolutely gorgeous. Lots of people will climb up into where the tall fall is and stand under the chilly water! You can get a sense of the magnitude of the falls with the photo below. See the guy in the upper right?

These falls are absolutely gorgeous and definitely worth a stop if you're visiting the Great Sand Dune area.



The trail to the falls begins at Zapata campground, a great place to stay if you are visiting the area and plan to hit the Dunes as well. You can find more info on the campground HERE.

Bring the Kids and a Camera!

This is a fantastic, short, easy hike with an awesome waterfall as a reward. Bring the whole family! Also bring your camera for some great photo opportunities!

Continue the Hike to Some Old Mining Cabins

If looking for a bit more of a challenge and to add some length to the hike, continue on the trail up and to the right of where you enter the canyon for the falls. After about a mile and half, you will come upon some neat old mining cabins! You can continue even further to climb up to South Zapata Lake, and even summit Mount Blanca.

Cool Off from a Day at the Dunes

Cool off from aa long day on the scorching Sand Dunes and splash around in the falls at Zapata!

Leave No Trace Bigfoot Sign
It is of the upmost importance that you always remember to take care of our precious outdoor spaces, and preserve them for future generations. Be as invisible as bigfoot and practice Leave No Trace Principles. For more info on how to be an environmentally conscious adventurer, click HERE!

It is a 3 mile rough road to the trailhead. 2WD vehicles can make it, but be prepared for a bumpy ride!

Mountain landscape


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