Zapata Falls is a Bureau of Land Management Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA). There are 23 single campsites, one group site, and one campsite host. The campground is located on BLM road 5415, seven miles southwest of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The campground sits at 9,000 feet at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It offers sweeping views of the San Luis Valley, the San Juan Mountains and nearby Great Sand Dunes National Park—plus spectacular sunrises, sunsets and night skies.
A new trailhead in the campground supplies a link to the South Zapata Creek Trail # 852, and the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. A second trail, North Fork South Zapata Trail # 868, just above the campground in the day-use area, leads visitors on a mildly steep half-mile hike to the falls that give the campground its name.
Getting to the falls is an adventure in itself, involving a wade through cold creek water and a climb over slick boulders. The falls are located on land owned by the Colorado State Land Board, and people who visit them need to be cautious and realize that the climb can be risky.
Zapata Falls campsites, one group site and one camp host site are spaced around two, one-mile-long loops. The sites on one loop are designed for tent campers. Parking spurs on the second loop vary a little in length but in general can handle RVs, towed campers or other configurations of vehicles up to about 50 feet long. Each single site has a picnic table, fire grate, parking and tent pads and a bear-proof food locker. The accessible group site has three picnic tables, three tent pads and a group fire ring. The campground is open year round but access in the winter can be difficult - call ahead for conditions. QUIET HOURS & no generator use 10 pm - 7 am. For more information, please contact the San Luis Valley Field Office.
ADA Access: Two sites are ADA Accessible
Yeah… the road is bumpy. My Subaru made it fine. Most cars will make it up the hill just fine. Drive slow and be smart. The campsite was straightforward. I was at site #7 for tents. Good amount of shade, nice views, and a flat padded area for the tent. My only complaints would be people showing up late and being noisy and some guy who was yelling on his cell phone literally all day from the back of his camper, but these are situational and you can’t beat that view. Close to the dunes, clean bathrooms and sites, and safe. Good for everyone including kids and pups.
This was a great campground. The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 star rating is because the only road to get to it is brutal! It is a dirt road with rocks; extremely bumpy. I don’t suggest taking a vehicle any smaller than an SUV; a monster truck would be preferable 🤣. It took us 30 minutes from the entrance of the road to the campsite at the top. 3 mileish. The campsite itself was clean and each campsite was generously spaced so safe for social distancing. Each site has a fire pit and bear safe. There is clean community restrooms (porta potty style) and trash bins for your garbage. The view from the site is amazing and it’s also at the base of the trail that leads you to Zapata Falls. It’s a short hike and the falls are beautiful. Water is cold and you will get your feet wet so I recommend water shoes.
We visited the falls just a few days ago and it is so worth the trip. Use caution on the road up to the falls as it is extremely rough
This site is great. You just need to get there.
The views are incredible. The sites are spread out enough that you don’t feel like campers are stacked on top of each other. The camp host is friendly and attentive. The bathrooms are as clean as can be. Your proximity to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Zapata Falls can’t be beat.
The only drawback is the road to get to the site is very rough and rocky. It takes an easy 20-30 minutes of driving just to go 3ish miles. Along with the road, the sites themselves are also rocky under the soil so it can be difficult to drive your tent stakes at times.
Beautiful spot at about 9100 ft. There were plenty of sites available on a Saturday, but we got there around 4pm or so. Fire rings, a host, plenty of trees to tie up your hammocks, and a trailhead with a 5 mile hike up zapata falls and beyond.
Rough road to get up it, go slow. When we arrived at 9pm all of the standard sites were taken but they had some overflow available. Great spot, quiet. Close to Great Sand Dune National park. The stars are unbelievable- you can see the bands of the Milky Way. 😍😍😍
Pro tip: the sand dunes are open 24hrs, but oasis the board rental/food/gas place on the way doesn’t open until 9am. Rent from Christie sports further back in town if you want to get a jump on the day. Big love
What more do you want from a camp ground? Its great! The proximity to Zapata Falls and the sand dunes offers for beautiful hikes and diverse landscapes. Been wanting to go back here for a few years now.
Pretty cool sites. Rough road heading up there, reccomend 4WD or at least slow-going. Lots of ruts and large rocks. Take it slow, and you'll be alright. Saw some civics and smaller cars making the trip up.
Under the Stars and very close to Zapata Falls. This place stays booked! Wide open views, windy at times. Gorgeous anytime of year.
The road up is rough. We knew that based on reviews, however, based on the reviews I expected a payout of an awesome campground at the top with great views of the Sand Dunes. The campground did have views but it’s of the farming valley below not the Sand Dunes. The sites were not very level and while some what spaced out not in any way private. Most were along the road that comes in.
We ended up going back down disappointed. The National Park was full so we stayed at the Oasis. Not much in the way of level campsites again, but hot showers and a bit more private.