For those who are in Alamosa after 4: PM on Friday, I would like for you to drive up to Zapata Falls Campground, bring something to eat and drink for yourself, firewood would be nice and just have a good time! We could sneak up the trail up to Zapata Falls and take some pictures of the Sand Dunes at Sunset.
Here are the directions to Zapata Falls Campground from Alamosa: Access Zapata Falls from Highway 150, 12 miles north of the intersection with highway 160. Turn right at the sign and travel three miles on the dirt road to the parking area.
Saturday, April 19th, 10:00 AM: OPENING WEEKEND OF NATIONAL PARK WEEK: GREAT SAND DUNES: MOSCA PASS TRAIL
American Indians and early settlers used this route for travel into the valley. The first .5 mile will take us on a guided loop of the former town site of Montville. Once completed with an orchard, a store, some twenty houses, and a post office, Montville was established in the 1880’s. The post office closed in 1900 and a flash flood wiped out most structures in 1911 or 1912.
Beginning in the 1870’s, Mosca Canyon provided a corridor for a toll road that ushered settlers into the San Luis Valley for several years.
This trail begins at the Montville Nature Trail at the edge of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The Monteville Nature Trail is a self-guided nature trail. Interpretive booklets are available at the trail's head.
Mosca Pass Trail follows Mosca Creek over the route of an early toll road and to the summit of a low pass in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, winding through aspen and evergreen forests.
This hike is a 7 mile round-trip hike, with a moderate hiking rating with a beginning elevation of 8,200 feet and an elevation climb to 9, 750 feet. Beginning in a steep walled canyon, the trail climbs moderately fast to a gentler, more open ground near the top. Beautiful views of the Sand Dunes and the San Luis Valley are seen along the way. Dispersed camping is allowed in the area, camp at least 150 feet from any water, and practice Leave No Trace ethics. Trail is available for hiking.
From Alamosa travel east on Highway 160, 14 miles to State Highway 150, travel north about 18 miles to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The trail head is on the east side of the road just pass the visitor center.
After visiting the Sand Dunes let's meet at the Zapata Campground and hike Zapata Falls.
The falls were formed when South Zapata Creek wore a groove in the crystalline rocks of the Sangre de Cristos, allowing its water to spill onto the soft alluvial soils below. Over millennia, the creek has carved a dim, deep and chasm through which water tumbles some 30 feet. In the summer, the falls offer a cool respite; winter temperatures turn them into a giant ice sculpture.
The South Zapata trail is a 4.8 mile easy to easy moderate hike. It begins at BLM Road 5415 (The Zapata Falls Road) and ends at South Zapata Lake. The trail offers sweeping views of the San Luis Valley, the San Juan Mountains and nearby Sand Dunes-plus spectacular sunrises, sunsets and night skies.
Hike one-half mile from the trailhead to Zapata Creek, hike upstream into the narrow cave to view the falls. The 30 foot high waterfall cascades within a narrow chasm.
The trail proceeds from the waterfall up to South Zapata Creek to South Zapata Lake.