Zapata Falls (9,250′)

Zapata Falls (9,250′)

Zapata Falls is located in the San Luis Valley near the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It is south of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The falls have a 30 foot drop that freeze in the winter months, but water can still be heard flowing deep underneath the ice.

StatsRoute DescriptionDirectionsNotes
  • Trailhead:        Zapata Falls
  • Round trip:      1 mile / 1.6 km
  • Elevation:         9,035′-9,250′ (+215′) / 2,754m-2,819m (+66m)

From the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center, drive south about 8 miles, then turn left (east) onto a dirt road. Drive the remaining 3.5 miles to the trailhead. To view the falls, hike about 1/2 mile, cross the creek, then scramble up the rocks and stream into a crevasse where the 30 ft. high falls cascade down.

Zapata Falls has a 30′ / 9m drop

GPS track

The falls are not distinguishable on Google Earth

Zapata Falls
Zapata Falls

Pictures

  • Zapata Falls sign near the Great Sand Dunes

    Zapata Falls sign near the Great Sand Dunes

  • View of the dunes from the trailhead

    View of the dunes from the trailhead

  • Gradual trail to the falls

    Gradual trail to the falls

  • Getting close

    Getting close

  • Walked on a frozen stream into the canyon

    Walked on a frozen stream into the canyon

  • An entrance

    An entrance

  • Zapata Falls

    Zapata Falls

  • Frozen Zapata Falls

    Frozen Zapata Falls

  • Icy cave

    Icy cave

  • Looking up

    Looking up

  • The way out

    The way out

  • Heading back

    Heading back

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