Zapata Falls // Frozen Mermaid Castle


“I am grateful for the waterfall of blessings in my life”- unknown


Remember my trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserves? Well, while I was there I made a stop at Zapata Falls… AKA frozen mermaid castle. Seriously. I know I sound silly but just trust me.

Zapata falls is 13 miles, about a 40-minute drive south of the sand dunes. Totally worth the extra stop. The hike to the falls is a little over 1 mile round trip.

You start your hike from the parking lot that has an AMAZING view of the sand dunes. It’s not a very steep trail and its pretty wide. When you get to the top it kind of looks like there’s nothing.


In the winter the river is frozen over so make sure you have your hiking boots on. I almost wish I had ice spikes for my boots, some areas were very slippery. The first part of the hike is mostly rock and dirt. The last part right before the falls is where you hike over the frozen river into the cave. We could hear the river rushing under the trail, IT WAS SO COOL! In the summer you’ll want water shoes because you literally hike through the river to get to the actual falls.



Follow the river into the cave and BOOM!



The ice is really that color blue! It looks like someone took water straight from the Caribbean and froze it in this cave.


If you’re into ice or rock climbing this would be a great place to add to your bucket list. With the proper equipment, I think this would be an awesome climb + I bet whatever’s above the falls is equally as beautiful.

Look up a little bit… FROZEN JELLY FISH!



And this is what makes Zapata Falls a frozen mermaid castle.

It was absolutely magical.

As much as I love living in Colorado, the ocean will always be home. To see these frozen jellies brought me right back to the beach.

I will be swimming with these jellies this summer.

Want to join?

Positive vibes & mermaid kisses

Kristen Claire


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