Beneath the towering Mount Blanca massif, the scorching Great Sand Dunes are exposed to the unrelenting summer heat. For those visiting the area and looking for a way to cool off, a drive to Zapata Falls is a must.
Snowmelt from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains pours through rocky canyons, culminating in a powerful torrent in Zapata Creek. The narrow canyon keeps water vapor from escaping, creating a cool, misty atmosphere. This environment is ideal for the black swift bird, which often nests in this area.
The falls themselves are at the end of one hundred-yard hike through a shallow stream. You will probably get your feet wet, but that’s really the point. The water is only knee-deep until the plunge pool, where it can rise up to your waist. It is generally safe to dunk your head in the falls, but it is best to go with a friend.