Zapata Falls

by Nate
(Colorado Springs)

Zapata Falls near the Sand Dunes is really spectacular to see in the winter time when the whole thing freezes into a massive ice column. I was leaving the dunes one day and saw the sign for Zapata Falls off to the left going South on Hwy 150. I figured I'd check it out and I was SO glad that I did. It was amazing to see and the ice was so clear that you could see the water flowing underneath it. It's definitely worth the time if you're making the trip to the dunes.

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Amazing
by: Anonymous

My husband and I decided to see Zapata Falls on our way home from Durango. It's about ten miles in from the Sand Dunes park entrance. It is a washboard road. It took awhile to get up to the trail head, and we were seriously considering turning around. We'd just paid $700 for new tires and a couple of wheels and were not in the mood to get more car damage. I'm so glad we kept going. We were told it was a short hike to the falls, not hard at all, and we'd heard that a lot of people made the hike in sandals. We saw that it was true. There were quite a few people making the trek when we got there, even a woman in ballet flats. The trail is laden with several sizes of rock and you constantly have to watch your feet, especially in sandals. It is uphill most of the way, so be prepared to go slowly if you are not in the best of shape. There are several benches on the way to sit and rest. I'd also recommend good, sturdy shoes on the trail.

Once you reach the creek, be prepared to do some wading. In early fall, the water is fairly shallow. There is a rocky ledge off to the side of the water with some hand and footholds that will help you stay out of the cold water a little, but if you don't mind the cold, going straight up the middle of the creek is the easiest way to get to the cave (according to my husband and the man who told him to go that way). I had fun my way. Pretty soon, you run out of rock ledge and have to just walk through the water or strategically walk along the big rocks that are sticking out of the water.

Once inside the cave, walk inside a little and feel the mist of the rushing waters. Just around the corner, the falls cascade forcefully down onto a ledge and then get redirected approximately 90 degrees down into the creek. The falls are beautiful, the rocky hike is worth it, and my husband said his numb toes were worth it, as well.

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Great stop!
by: Robin Ebel

The little hike to the mountain stream and falls was hot but so worth it! My son had a blast walking on the rocks up the stream. And what a beautiful sight to turn a corner to find a waterfall dropping from between the large rocks! This was a great way to cool off after visiting the hot sand dunes!

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Parking Lot Size
by: Anonymous

Is the parking lot big enough to park an RV?

I haven't been there so I don't know the answer to your question. I did some research to see if I could find you an answer but didn't have any luck. I did find something saying that the road leading to the parking lot is a washboard road and that it gets steep, and has a number of switchbacks, so it doesn't sound like a good road to drive an RV. Maybe someone who knows the answer will see this and answer it-I hope so anyway :-).

Karen

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Must See
by: Anonymous

We went to the falls in late April and it was still frozen. . .you could hear the water running underneath the ice. It made a very impressive "ice sculpture". I'm anxious to go back when it thaws.

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Thanks Nate
by: Karen

Thanks Nate, for telling us about your side trip to Zapata Falls. I just watched some Youtube videos about it and I guess you have to walk up the stream to see the falls. Either that, or do what you did and see it in the winter-that way you don't have to get your feet wet! Anyway, it sounds like it's well worth seeing :-).

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