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.

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.