Family Activities:

Zapata Falls


Zapata Falls

State Highway 150 , Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

This moderate half-mile hiking trail leads you to the base of a creek, where you pretty much have to get your feet wet if you want to see the 30-foot falls roaring down a narrow cave-like chasm. The dramatic sight is definitely worth the wading, and the cold water feels good on a hot summer day.

The water is swift and deep in early summer, and the trail is fairly rocky (and somewhat steep), so this hike isnâ€Â™t appropriate for the youngest children or anyone unsteady on their feet. Some of the rocks can be slippery, as well, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots with good traction.

Under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction, the Zapata Falls Recreation Area is 11.5 miles south of the Great Sand Dunes visitorsâ€Â™ center (on the way to Alamosa). To get there from the park, drive south on Highway 150 to the Zapata Falls Recreation Area sign. Turn left on the gravel road and drive 3 miles to the parking area. There, youâ€Â™ll find restrooms and picnic tables in addition to the trailhead.