Horseback Rides Are Back – The Midwinter Mountain Experience

The warm weather and the lack of snow around the Vail Valley isn’t getting us down. In fact, we’ve decided to offer some incredible, winter horseback rides!

Normally a summer activity here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we are bringing back our horseback rides for some awesome midwinter mountain adventures. We’ve been getting daily requests for winter horseback rides, so we have decided to do it.

Like our summer horseback rides, these trips will be on our beautiful trail system along streams, lakes, sage flats, through snow-covered aspen groves and stands of old-growth timber.

If you enjoy horseback riding in the summer, you will be enthralled with a winter exploration of the Colorado backcountry on horseback. With snow on the ground, the cottonwood creek bottoms and aspen groves are stunning. The low snow level has allowed wildlife like elk, deer and coyotes to remain on the ranch in abundance where they are highly visible to our guests.

Guests should dress warmly in their ski clothing, just like you would be going skiing for the day. We will offer small, intimate groups of six horses or fewer. The rides are 1.5 hours long and we provide transportation to and from Vail and Beaver creek, included in the cost of the trip.

If you love mountains and you love horses, this trip is for you!

To reserve your midwinter mountain horseback ride please call us at 970-476-3700 or send us a message. See you on the mountain soon!

December Wildlife Adventures in the Vail Valley

If you’re visiting or soon to visit the Vail Valley this holiday season, you may already be aware that the weather here has provided some unusual circumstances. Rather than snowmobiling this time of year, we are still enjoying some awesome side-by-side ATV tours and December wildlife adventures.

We finally received a little snow on the ranch this week. But it’s not enough yet for snowmobiling. But there is one neat benefit to this shallow snow cover through the woods and on our trails…it’s perfect conditions for studying wildlife tracks.

The mild weather this month means that deer and other wildlife have not yet migrated further down the valley floor. Wildlife is still on the ranch in abundance. And the light snowpack has proven to be a fun discovery for our guests.

Wildlife near Beaver Creek“To us, it is an open book of what’s going on, 24 hours a day,” said Sage founder Darryl Bangert. “We’ve been able to clearly see deer, does and their fawns meandering as they feed then bed down for day or night. We’ve followed the tracks of big bull elk traveling through the area. And we’ve even found mountain lion tracks as they stalk, chase, and capture deer.

“We’ve had a great time stopping to study the tracks and to teach our guests what they are, and how to read these stories in the snow,” Darryl continued. “We’ve found tracks from wild turkeys, coyotes, ermine, rabbits and squirrels. We’ve seen big golden eagles almost daily, many times sitting on their prey.”

At first glance, December in a ski town without much snow might seem like a drag. But these last few weeks have provided a rare opportunity to enjoy the mountains in a different way. While we’re looking forward to getting on those snowmobiles, these unusual wildlife adventures have certainly been a pleasure.

And as is typically the case, when one month is more dry than normal, another month will usually make up for it. Last winter also began with little snowfall, but ended with the highest snowpack in several years. The snow will come. In the meantime, we’ll be enjoying the mountains on four wheels!

For more information on side-by-side ATV tours or (upcoming) snowmobile tours with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please contact us or give us a call at 970-478-3700. We look forward to helping you plan your next Colorado backcountry adventure.

The Sage Outdoors Side-by-Side ATV Experience

While rafting trips need no explanation and horseback riding is always a popular mountain activity, we often receive questions about our side-by-side ATV tours. What makes these trips so special? Why explore the Vail area in a side-by-side?

It’s a valid question. While many of our Vail and Beaver Creek vacationers can lay claim to at least one previous horseback ride or rafting adventure, we get a lot of first-timers on our ATV trips. But after their first time, we can almost guarantee – it won’t be the last!

What makes these trips so special? First and probably most obviously, it’s the wind on your face and the fast-paced, driver’s seat view of Colorado’s spectacular mountain country. On our ATV tours, you are the driver of your own adventure.

Next, we are fortunate to operate on a 6,000-acre private ranch, an area larger than Vail ski area. Plus, there’s an adjoining 14,000 acres of public land to explore. In addition to the exclusivity, what’s the biggest benefit of having access to this historic private ranch? We’re riding purpose-built, side-by-side ATV trails. These aren’t your run of the mill forest service roads. On private land, our trails can be manipulated to be extremely entertaining. And that’s exactly what they are!

Finally, the Sage experience is special because we run new, top of the line machines. Our Maverick’s offer outstanding handling and performance that makes the entire experience that much more fun!

Here’s a quick look at our ATV touring experience:

For more information about our ATV tours here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, check out our Side-by-Side ATV Page. For booking and availability contact us or call us now at 970-476-3700.

Featured River Profile: The Eagle River

It’s time to get to know some of the incredible stretches of whitewater here in Colorado! This state has incredible rafting opportunities, and we’d like to introduce you to one of our favorites. In case you’re not already familiar, here’s a look at the Eagle River.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to raft the Eagle River, you need to make time!

“Right now is prime season for the Eagle River and when it flows, it’s some of the best whitewater in the nation, no joke,” said Sage Outdoor Adventures owner and river guide, Cole Bangert. “All the river enthusiasts in the state flock here during peak season. If the prime season on the Eagle ran longer into the summer, it would rival the Arkansas River in use numbers.”

While the Arkansas’ long rafting season makes it the most famous river in the state by a long stretch, the Eagle is perhaps the most underrated. Because during its peak-rafting season, there is nothing else like it. It’s long, steady gradient drops with awesome class 3 and 4 rapids the entire way, including a continuous, mile-long class 4 rapid!

“The Eagle River is unique in the sense that it has a very steady gradient,” Bangert said. “Specifically, the upper section from Minturn to Avon has a very steady drop. As the water rises with snowmelt, the fun increases. It’s pretty much a 10 mile wave train.”

Perhaps the Eagle River’s most famous stretch is Dowd Chute.

“This is a fire hose of a rapid,” Bangert commented. “It’s class 4-plus and it’s fast and steep with big pushy waves. The last wave is named Tyson’s, as it delivers a very heavy hit. Paddlers in the front of the boat generally end up in the laps of the people in the back of the boat on this hit.”

After Dowd chute, the fun isn’t over. In fact, the rest of the upper Eagle River features 10 miles of outstanding class 4 whitewater, culminating in the “Edwards Mile”, a mile-long class 4 rapid with continuous huge waves.

For more information on rafting the Eagle River or any of our other rafting trips throughout the summer, check out the Rafting Page on our website or give us a call at 970-476-3700. Don’t miss your chance to raft one of the best rivers in Colorado this season!

The Spring Melt is Underway

Another late blast of snow across the Rockies last week dumped more than a foot of wet spring snow in some locations. This week, temperatures are back up into the 70s in many places across Colorado. The smaller creeks are filling up and water is starting to rise. The spring melt is underway!

Even this late in the year, the state’s snowpack currently stands at about 105% of normal. Runoff is just beginning and there’s still a ton of snow up high. Depending on how rapidly summer temperatures arrive, runoff this year could last weeks longer than normal. At its peak, this season will bring some epic whitewater rafting conditions!

In fact, much of the Arkansas River and the Colorado River are already at the low end of their runnable levels. It won’t be long before we’re entering prime rafting season! This will be a rafting season not to be missed. Give us a call at 970-476-3700 to reserve your spot. Or check out our rafting trips.

While the rafting community is celebrating an outstanding year of whitewater conditions, fly fishing enthusiasts might be less enthralled with the prospect of an extended high-water season. However, many veteran anglers will tell you that runoff is not the time of year to sit on the sidelines.

Among many in the fly fishing world, runoff gets a bad rap. Water is high, often muddy and many of your favorite holes might be unrecognizable. But that doesn’t mean the fishing isn’t great. I just means you have to fish it differently.

In some ways, runoff provides advantages that help offset the challenges. During high water, fish concentrate in predictable locations. They tend to get pushed out toward the banks and into any slack water where they can find reprieve. You may not be able to wade during runoff, but you probably don’t need to. With fish in these more reachable locations, they can be easily targeted from shore. Check out our fly fishing page for more information.

No matter what you find yourself doing this spring, whether you’ve got a paddle or a fly rod in your hand, have fun and enjoy all that Colorado has to offer! If you have questions about trips with Sage Outdoor Adventures, call us at 970-476-3700 or send us a message.