In the late-spring and early-summer, the melting snow creates incredible waterfalls on the mountains of East Vail. One of the easiest to access is “Racquet Club Falls.” I’m calling it that because the falls are behind the Vail Racquet Club.
The hike starts at the tennis courts (directions below). Look for an open field to the east/left of the tennis courts with a sign that says, ”Private Property, enter at your own risk. Obstacles may exist.”
Follow the faint path up the hill to a small, concrete wall and your first water crossing. Follow the trail on the other side a couple steps and you should come to a trail split with a sign that says trail and points right. I’m not sure where that trail goes, but turn left to go to the falls.
From here, it’s just a few more steps to your first view of the falls. This first cascade is just 0.15 miles from the parking lot and it’s quite nice.
You can stop here and turn around, or start the serious climb. From here, the trail gets steeper. It’s just a short climb to the next section of drops. Here you should see two drops with a cascade below.
Now the trail gets even steeper. In this section, I found myself holding on to roots as I climbed the steep trail of loose dirt. At the top of this section, you should see the top of the falls. While the trail continued up, I felt like I had seen the falls and could turn around. At this point, I was just 0.18 miles from the trailhead and had climbed 180 feet of elevation.
Details: The hike to the top drop of the falls and back is about a third of a mile with 180 feet of elevation gain. However, it appears the trail may go above the top of the falls, if you continue on.
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Directions: From I-70, take exit 180/East Vail. Go east on Bighorn Road for about 1.6 miles. Turn right on Main Gore Drive. Turn right on Jupiter Rd, then right on Meadow Dr. Follow Meadow Dr to the Racquet Club. Park in the tennis court parking lot.