Featured River: The Arkansas River

The whitewater rafting season has been outstanding here in the Vail valley and across Colorado, and we’d like to introduce you to another one of our favorite rivers.

In case you missed our previous featured river, go back and check out our profile on the Eagle River, which offers some of Colorado’s best seasonal rafting from Vail, down through Avon and Beaver Creek.

This time, let’s talk about the Arkansas River. The ‘Ark’ is well-known in Colorado for it’s incredible whitewater all summer long. But there’s more than just rapids that make the Arkansas special.

“The Arkansas River brings to mind crystal clear, relatively warm water, in a semi-arid desert with warm air temps that create a perfect rafting environment,” Commented Cole Bangert, owner and guide here at Sage.  “It’s totally unique in the west. The flows on the Ark are augmented by reservoirs upstream, so rafting is phenomenal all summer; not just during early snow melt periods, like you see on the Eagle River or Clear Creek.”

According to Cole, the backdrop on the Arkansas River also makes it unique. The entire corridor is lined with towering 14,000-foot peaks, the highest concentration of “14-ers” in the state. With snow-capped peaks above and desert granite boulders below, the banks of the Arkansas River are scattered ponderosa pine, and the vanilla aroma from their bark fills the air.

If all that isn’t enough, the whitewater is top quality. 

“The upper stretches of the Arkansas boast big class V rapids, with the steepest commercially run rapid in the U.S.,” Cole added. “The Pine Creek section drops at a gradient of over 200 feet per mile. This is a mile-long class V rapid with tricky moves, fast water, big waves, and big hydraulics that must be run with precision and power.”

Just below Pine Creek is the popular, “Numbers” stretch, where rafters will find some of the most fun class IV drops anywhere in Colorado.

And finally, below the town of Buena Vista is the most popular stretch on the Arkansas River, Browns Canyon National Monument. This spectacular canyon was designated a National Monument in 2015, and for good reason.

“Here, you have the opportunity to float through a jaw-dropping gorge,” Cole concluded. “It consists of ten miles of class III rapids, where groups and families can enjoy an incredible experience amid these impressive natural surroundings.”

For more information on our rafting trips, or on any of the great outdoor adventures that we offer from Sage headquarters in Vail, explore the rest of our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com or call us at 970-476-3700.

Reserve Your Summer Rafting Dates Today

Spring temperatures are arriving in Colorado and water levels are already beginning to rise! There’s still tons of snow up high and as runoff progresses, we’re looking forward to an awesome season of rafting! This year is going to be one to remember.

It’s no secret that snowpack is well above average and that an epic rafting season is just around the corner. Whitewater enthusiasts are already busy planning summer adventures. Prime dates this season will fill up fast. So if you have a trip in mind, we recommend reserving your summer rafting dates early this year!

We offer a wide range of rafting experiences to suit different ages and ability levels. Here’s an overview of our rafting adventures:

Float Series (Class II)

Our Float Series rafting adventures are perfect for all ages. These trips on the upper Colorado River travel through beautiful canyons where you’ll enjoy splashing through waves and leisurely swimming holes. We even offer a Ducky Trip, giving you the opportunity to captain your own two-person raft! For more information, check out our Float Series.

Adventure Series (Class III)

Our Adventures series whitewater rafting trips provide the excitement of rapids and spectacular Colorado canyon scenery. You won’t be able to wipe the grin off your face. These trips are widely varying depending on the season and interests of your group. They include stretches of the Colorado River, Gore Creek, the lower Eagle River and the world-renown Brown’s Canyon on the Arkansas River. Find more details on our Adventure Series.

Adrenaline Series (Class IV & V)

Our Adrenaline Series trips offer some of the best nonstop action on the most well known stretches of whitewater in Colorado. Experienced rafters will tell you that the Numbers and Pine Creek Sections of the Arkansas River are some of the best. But don’t overlook our local river in the Vail Valley. The Eagle River offers some of the best whitewater in the state. Check out our Adrenaline Series.

To reserve your dates for an incredible rafting trip, call us now at 970-476-3700 or contact us online. Let’s plan your adventure!

In Case We Didn’t Have Enough Snowmelt Yet…

All winter long we’ve been anticipating a great summer season of whitewater rafting here in Colorado. With snowpack reaching as high as 150% of normal earlier in the winter, we knew all along it was going to be a killer year for rafting. But even as the spring melt is underway, we’ve received a series of new storms over the past couple of weeks that have dumped even more snow in the high country.

Just in case you thought there wasn’t enough snowmelt yet, we’ve got more! The serious melting began with a stretch of warm weather in March. But even after the melting trend began, spring storms have continued to add on. In fact, now that we’re into April, snowpack in the Colorado River basin is still about 110% of normal. In the Arkansas basin, it’s closer to 120% of normal.

Over the next few months, we’re going to see a serious runoff! This could be one of our best rafting seasons in several years. From exciting class IV to V whitewater trips, to more leisurely class II adventures, it’s going to be a long summer of fun here in Colorado. Our rafting trips include the Colorado River, Eagle River, Gore Creek and the Arkansas River.

The rafting season here gets underway in May and on some rivers will last into October. If you’re planning a summer trip to Colorado, be sure to give us a call to plan your epic whitewater rafting trip. Call us at 970-476-3700.

If you’d like to learn more about our rafting trips, please check out our Rafting Page. You can also contact us online for more information. See you this summer!