"Zapata Falls Trail offers a short but scenic tour of the San Luis Valley, the Great Sand Dunes, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. An easy, stacked-loop ride, Zapata Falls Trail is a great family ride, offering 4 to 10 miles of well-maintained singletrack—an excellent trail for the beginner mountain biker.
Although the Zapata area is composed of four distinct numbered loops, the ride described here includes sections of each loop, introducing the rider to all four. Consult interpretive area map signs when deciding which loops to add or subtract from this description. A short 0.25-mile hike beginning at 9,000 feet delivers you to Zapata Falls." Read more
"On the northwest ramparts of 14,042-foot Ellingwood Point in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, snowmelt and rainfall fill South Zapata Lake, funnel into South Zapata Creek, and flow north to fuel Zapata Falls. This dramatic plunge waterfall—located just 8 miles south of Great Sand Dunes National Park—is a family favorite. Follow the wide, rocky, juniper-lined trail to the creek. You will have to wade up the creek to view the falls, so this is a good time to put on your water shoes and get out your trekking pole. Alpine glaciers once covered this area, depositing a moraine and then carving a deep and narrow cleft through it with melting water. Enter this cleft in the rock and make your way to the base of the falls. You may have to wait in line for the best views, as this is a popular photo-taking spot." Read more
"A stop at Zapata Falls caps the trip for many visitors to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. After a morning of cavorting in the sand, the short hike to Zapata Falls leads to a cool retreat for creek play and exploration. Simply driving to the trailhead offers grand views of the dune?eld and San Luis valley. Interpretive signs near the parking lot orient visitors to the valley, lakes, and mountains of the region." Read more
"A scenic trail up to high lakes above the tree line, with access to Twin Peaks." Read more
"A hidden waterfall, several old miner’s cabins, and a high alpine lake are the rewards of this hike. The Zapata Falls are only 0.5 mile from the trailhead, and that is as far as most people get. The cabins are less than a mile beyond Zapata Falls, and they are also a worthwhile goal for a short day hike into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The real highlight of this hike, however, is South Zapata Lake, a small alpine lake at the end of the trail in a majestic basin surrounded by 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks." Read more