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Zapata Falls campground Lake City Colorado


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We're thinking of camping a few days at Zapata Falls in Colorado in July. 9000 feet elevation sounds nice and cool. Everything I've found online says the 3.5 mile road leading to the campground is a VERY rough washboard type road filled with rocks. I'm wondering if the rattling and jarring to the Ollie is worth the trip. Anyone visited this site or familiar with the condition of the road? Thanks in advance!

Ed and Nancy Burgin


2019 Ford F-150 Lariat, 3.5 EB w/max tow package

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Posted (edited)

I just read through some descriptions.  Sounds like fun to me.  

Given some of the rigs that people in the descriptions say they were towing (34' 5th wheel, for example), I'd say just plan extra time to take it as slowly as you need.   Sounds like the road is wide and I didn't see any mention of mud.

How are your repair skills, just in case? 😉

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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Posted (edited)

I've never been there, but it sounds absolutely beautiful. 

Google reviews seem to be mostly from tent campers. I found this from the campground host, written a month ago.

a month ago
I'm Waylon, and have lived and operated this place for almost 2 years. I stay year round up here and I'm completely in love with this place. Being prior service, I was searching for something and didn't know what it was. This place gave me what I was looking for. I came here to camp at site # 18 with my cat for 3 days, and it became much more. I would like to correct a few things I've have seen in reviews on this site and many others.
The road coming up here is 2.8 miles. If your odometer says more than you need to slow down. Your tires are spinning and giving a false reading.
Speed limit after getting to the top is 10 MPH. Don't be angry if I ask/tell you to slow down for others safety.
No potable water, electricity hookups, or any of those other fancy things that the parks have.
This place is open year round, but not ever free. Only $11 per site or $5.50 with the America the beautiful pass.
The place is operated by the B.L.M. This is not part of the forest service or national parks service.
We do not sell firewood up here, or anything else. It's not allowed. Although I'm trying to incorporate a few new programs to get drinking water and firewood for my campers, I'm one man fighting for this and will take a while.
The road is horrible, but can be negotiated, with care, with any vehicle. It will be repaired, starting next year around April 1st. The mountain will be the mountain whether your here or not, please prepare accordingly. Waylon Martin
 
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The road does sound pretty bad, when the camp host himself describes it as horrible.  
Sherry
Edited by SeaDawg
Typos

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Posted (edited)

I have no idea about your CG but it sounds like a very delightful adventure. Deflate your Ollie tires to 25 psi and be sure to have a reliable and fast way to reinflate them afterwards.

Consider a rental Wrangler or side by side ATV if you want to enjoy the 12,000 ft passes, far scenery, precipitous shelf roads, mining relecs and ghost towns of the high country. It is gorgeous, weather and smoke permitting! Your Ford is not an appropriate vehicle for this. A stock Land Cruiser with proper tires or a short modified 4wd pickup would excell on the easy routes, The hard routes are in fact HARD, for (experienced) short wheelbase only. As always, bring survival and self recovery stuff.
 

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
Deleted Lake City info

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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The normal Ouray to Silverton, Million Dollar  highway is at times narrow and very curvy, but paved, and well marked . Local trucks use the highway.

We did that with a delivery motorhome, with Oliver friends towing their Elite. It was very beautiful,  with a lot of pullouts to enjoy the scenery.  Not for the faint of heart, but definitely easier than unpaved mountain roads.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Krunch and I went to Zapata Falls when we visited Great Sand Dunes NP&P in 2009.  We were exploring Colorado by rental car and spent 3 days in the area.  We drove up to the Zapata Falls parking lot and hiked up to the falls.  The trail starts just past the campground road.  I don’t remember the road being a problem, but I was probably driving something like a Chevy Malibu.

Zapata Ranch is very close to the falls as well.  It is a working ranch owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy.

By the way, Lake City is 136 miles west of Zapata Falls, so maybe I’m talking about a different campground.

Mossey

 

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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I have been there a couple of times in a lifted Jeep but never stayed at the campground. The area is very interesting. Lots of 14ers.  I think it would be a fabulous place to go with the Oliver but like someone mentioned it really matters more what you are driving for a pull vehicle.  The Falls are cool to see plus the dunes and if you have time the Huerfano valley is amazing (you can take a shortcut and go through Medano pass if you have a 4x4 straight from the dunes) to gain a beautiful view of the North side of Blanca and Ellingwood if you are into hiking/trekking. The Valley and lots of roads in that area would not be for the Ollie but you could definitely go and have a blast sticking to the main roads. 

IMG_2007.thumb.jpeg.220dc55118d6298a69b3e547fa208deb.jpegIMG_2018.thumb.jpeg.31238e057b49519809c033bbb51711e6.jpegEntrance to the Falls

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Edited by rideadeuce
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- Mike


Nashville, TN


2018 Elite II - Spirit of Adventure Hull #308  - Toyota Tundra 


 

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Beautiful photos and helpful information from everyone. We have so much to learn about the western US and look forward to it. I had not seen the posting from the campground host. Looks like we'll be giving it a try and we do hope to hike a few of the 14ers. Thanks to all for the replies!

Ed and Nancy Burgin


2019 Ford F-150 Lariat, 3.5 EB w/max tow package

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Mike, thanks for the pictures! Are there any large turnouts along the access road where a discouraged Ollie owner could turn around? IMHO this is by FAR the most important consideration when taking a sizable road trailer down a single lane track. A downed tree can often be removed if you have a big enough chainsaw, but a deep bog or washout can’t be crossed. This is my big worry, followed by discovering that there are no remaining camp spots after dragging “Mouse” across a nasty road for miles and miles.  And miles....
 

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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I found this picture from the Zapata Falls Campground in Google Street View.

If the same person graded the campground road I would guess the access road looks as good.72FD0663-A289-4B19-BC1C-D90D28F2F05C.thumb.png.49caeff6140bcd6baea142c2563ba6b7.png

Make your own judgement, but it looks smooth to me.

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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You could drive it with just the tow vehicle ahead of time, without the trailer, to allay concerns.  

I think the camp host said next year was the year for repairs to the approach road. 

I know we'd do it. But we have the shorter Elite I,   a 4x 4 truck, and some experience with crappy upward roads. And, we have patience. 

Sherry 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Last October,  we stayed at the Great Sand Dunes Oasis RV Park which is just outside entrance to the National Park. We drove our F150 to Zapata Falls & it took us (per google maps) 48 minutes to go 8.8 miles. The bulk of that time was the four mile road to the parking lot.  It was brutal. Imagining what a tossed salad the inside of the camper would look like, I wouldn't take our Oliver up there. Plus once you got there, you'd dread making the trek back down that road to go to the National Park. Maybe the road is better in the summer when there is more traffic?

However, the hike to the falls is easy & well worth the painful drive.

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Chris & Duke Chadwell
🐾Maddie & Baxter🐾
Elite II Hull 292
2017 F-150 Lariat 3.5 EB 4x4 Lakeland, FL 

 

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