BLANCA – If you're looking for an awesome hike that's suitable for beginner and expert hikers, perhaps you should head down to Zapata Falls and South Zapata Lake in Colorado's San Luis Valley.
The hike up to the falls is relatively short; less than a half-mile. Once you're there, you'll be greeted by a bubbling stream with a spectacular water-fall hidden inside a cave behind it.
You can walk through the water if it's not running too high to see the waterfall first-hand.
Keep in mind, the water can be really cold. Now, on to the more difficult hike.
If you're up for a challenge, hang a right at the sign near Zapata Falls for South Zapata Lake.
The hike up is mostly all incline and is about 10 miles round-trip.
Be prepared to be gone for six to eight hours on this hike, depending on how fast you are.
The nice thing about the hike up to South Zapata Lake is that the scenery switches up every half-mile or so.
Early on you get to hike past run down old cabins, then alongside a few creeks, a couple of aspen forest – and eventually you get to climb up a boulder field.
Once you reach the boulder field, the trail you've been following disappears. Just keep on moving forward towards the mountain peaks.
Eventually you will reach South Zapata Lake. This gem of a lake is absolutely stunning. It's not too big, but it's full of color.
Do yourself a favor: Stay for a while and enjoy the views. You'll be surrounded by 13,000 and 14,000 foot peaks straddling the Sange De Christos.
The drive down to Zapata Falls and South Zapata Lake is relatively easy. It's only a few miles south of the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
From Denver it will take you a little more than four hours.
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