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gem icon Zapata Falls [Suggest Edits]

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Description

This must-do family friendly run is the epitome of a "Gem."

As you make your way up to the falls, stay to the left. The ascent is partially shaded from the trees and has a gradual incline as well as some spectacular panoramic views of the dunes and the San Luis Valley below. Before long you can hear the water from South Zapata Creek as you approach the final leg of the run.

The last part of the run up the creek to the falls can be a little tricky, especially in spring when the water is strongest (also the most beautiful time) as it requires some balancing skills as you hop from rock to rock or wade your way through the creek to get to the base of the falls. But, the journey is the best part of the adventure and what makes this run so great. The way the sun rays beamed through the canyon at mid-day and lit up the trunks of the trees, brightened the shimmering leaves, sparkled the surface of the creek water, and illuminated the canyon walls was an unforgettable image.

Once at the base of the waterfall, we spent about 5 minutes appreciating all the beauty of the scenery until our feet got cold and the area became a little crowded, encouraging us to turn back.

This run is everything you're hoping to experience when you decide to take a trip into nature: waterfall, dunes, trees, birds, adventure.

Short Run: Zapata Falls is located just outside Great Sand Dunes National Park and requires driving up an exciting and bumpy unpaved three-mile long rocky dirt road (2WD accessible). Once at the top, park in the designated area and the trailhead behind you should be clearly marked.

Gem Type: Waterfall

Shared by:
Andrew Gilkerson

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Shared by Andrew Gilkerson on May 26, 2018. All Page Views: 824. Last Month: 8.