This afternoon, we went to Zapata Falls. The falls, near the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, lie within BLM land just south of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The road to the trail heads up into the mountains, providing great views of the San Luis Valley
and the Great Sand Dunes.
You also get a good look at the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
It is a shame that the road is a gravel washboard, as there is a nice campground near the end of the road.
It only offers dry camping, but if the road was better, we’d pull the Airstream up there for a few days. The views are just incredible. Plus, it is basically empty.
After parking, there is a half mile hike to the waterfalls. The trail is strewn with decent size stones. Kathryn decided to see how long she could walk without touching dirt.
Some other unknown hiker found another creative use for the stones.
As you near the falls, the temperature begins to drop as you start to hear the water’s thunder and soon you see the small stream from the falls.
The falls themselves are hidden from immediate view within a crevasse.
To reach them, you must walk through the stream. For a short distance there is a “path” along the rock wall with a cable to hang onto. So, if you wish, you can stay out of the stream for a while. Kathryn enjoyed this part so much that she had to do it a few times.
Mary and I followed this route for awhile, then decided if we’re going to get our feet wet, we might as well go ahead and do so. This pointed out to us why the cabled path is there. The stream is flowing, so the water temperature is at least 33 degrees, but I’m not sure it is much warmer than that. But it was worth it to see the falls.
Though only 25 feet in height, the location makes for beautiful falls. Since you’re within a crevasse, all light streams through a fairly narrow opening.
The sound of the falls echoes between the rock walls, amplifying their sound, drowning out the rest of the world. We spent a fair amount of time here just enjoying the beauty of it.
After returning to the Airstream, we enjoyed one of the localized rain showers they seem to have here in the valley.
We enjoyed both the rain and rainbows until the daylight faded away.