Update On Summer Rafting Conditions

The whitewater-rafting season in Colorado is in full swing and we’ve enjoyed an awesome summer so far. With heavy spring snowpack across the state, we’ve experienced fun high water conditions throughout June and now well into July. Even as the summer moves along, most rivers are still running at normal or above normal levels.

Whitewater Rafting

Right here in the Vail valley we experienced outstanding rafting conditions on Gore Creek and the Eagle River. Now the Arkansas River and the Colorado River are also running at perfect levels. And with the warm summer weather that we’ve had, conditions have been ideal to be out playing in the water.

While our headquarters are here in Vail and most of our business comes from the Vail and Beaver Creek area, we offer a wide range of rafting options. From class II family floats to class IV and V adventures, it’s all available. In addition to our ‘home waters’ on Gore Creek, the Eagle River and the Colorado River, we also offer trips along the Arkansas, including the famed, “Numbers” section and Browns Canyon National Monument.

In case you didn’t see it, be sure and check out our blog post from last week, highlighting the Arkansas River and some of its highlights.

Rafting TripWith warm weather and great water levels, we expect rafting conditions this year to be excellent well into the fall. If you’re planning a summer trip to the Vail or Beaver Creek area, be sure and give us a call. While the summertime rafting is awesome, there’s also something very special about those early fall trips. After all, there’s nothing quite like September in Colorado!

If you have questions or would like more information on our trips, please call us at 970-476-3700 or send us a message. You can also find information on our other activities by exploring the rest of our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com.

See you on the river!

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.

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!

Runoff is Coming, Prepare for Your Rafting Adventure

This year’s massive runoff is about to begin! There’s still a ton of snow up in the high country that is now starting to melt. Statewide throughout Colorado, snowpack is sits at about 130% of normal. It’s going to be a big, long runoff season on our rivers!

As you prepare for your summer rafting adventure, there are a few things to think about. First, is what to bring. The list is pretty simple but you’ll want to make sure you have a few key items. Here’s the rundown.

What we provide on your rafting trip:

  • Helmet
  • Wetsuit
  • Splash jacket
  • Splash pants
  • PFD
  • Wetsuit booties
  • Neoprene gloves for chilly days

What you should bring:

  • Wear a swimsuit
  • Think about a cover shirt on sunny days
  • Wear and bring sunscreen
  • Chapstick with sunscreen
  • Sunglasses with Croakies or Chums
  • Cash to tip your guide, 18% is normal
  • Bring a change of clothes for after the trip
  • You may bring a camera, but only if it’s waterproof!

With your bags packed, you are all set for your whitewater rafting adventure. We hope to see many of you on the water with us this season. And finally, here is a list of questions that you might want to ask your rafting guide!

Questions to ask your rafting guide:

  • How does this water compare to other times of the year?
  • What animals may we see on the water today?
  • What’s your favorite part of being a rafting guide?
  • What do you do during the off-season?
  • What other stretches of river do you run?
  • Where is the best swimming hole?
  • Ask about the history of the area.
  • Ask for any crazy river guiding stories they have!

If you’d like more information on rafting with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please be sure to check out our Rafting Page. And explore the rest of our website to see all the other fun activities we offer, including horseback riding, ATV tours, fly fishing and sporting clays!

For details, availability and booking call us at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.