Hike to Zapata Falls

Zapata Falls Trail

This is a hike is right outside of Great Sand Dunes National Park, that leads to a 30ft. cave waterfall.

Driving towards the Sand Dunes, you will see a sign marker that indicates the road up to Zapata Falls. Turn right onto the road a follow it for about 2 miles until you hit the parking lot at the top. The road is in pretty rough condition so if your car doesn't have high clearance make sure you take it slow. Once you reach the parking lot, you will see an 10ft sign indicating the trail head. You will follow the trail up for 1/2 mile leading to the cave entrance. Depending on the time of year you will continue into the cave, either on ice or through water and you will see the falls in the back of the cave.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Camera
  • An extra pair of shoes and socks
  • Jacket
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RT Distance 0.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 150 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Amazing!!

This hike is one of my all time favorites! 1/4 mile up a rocky trail to the water. Wading upstream in ankle deep, very cold water to the cave. Waterfall is in the back. It was spectacular! I loved all of it! Highly recommend! Throw on some water shoes, grab a walking stick and do it! Might want to take a 4WD vehicle up to the parking area, definitely a high clearance vehicle. There were cars there but no way I would've taken my Honda!

Escape from the dunes

After hiking up the dunes and getting sand in about every crevice of my body, Zapata falls was a nice little escape to cool down, Still iced over Memorial Day weekend.

Must See

Hiked to the falls in late April and most of the waterfall was still frozen over, but still so beautiful. The road out there was REALLY rough on my 2WD car, but it made it without falling apart. Win! If you're already in the area for the Great Sand Dunes I highly recommend checking the falls out as a part of your trip!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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