Featured River Profile: The Eagle River

Rafting in the Vail Valley

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.

Why Eagle River’s Rapids are a Must-Try

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.”

Arkansas River vs Eagle River

While the Arkansas River’s 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!

Enjoy the Eagle River rapids

“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.”

Brave Eagle River’s Dowd Chute

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.

Eagle River has plenty of rapids to raft through

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!

Sage’s Raft Race Team Takes 2nd in National Rafting Championships

We are very proud to announce that in only their second year of competition, the Sage Raft Race team took 2nd place overall at the USRA National Championships last weekend in Oklahoma City.

2016 marked the first year for the Sage team, who finished 3rd overall in the six-person raft National Championships. In just their second year, the team has moved up the podium one spot, finishing 2nd place this year in the 4-person raft competition.

National Rafting Championship Events

Sage team members at this year’s National Championship races included Wes Zittel, Danny Zittel, Kyle Nix, and team captain, Cole Bangert. The competition included four separate events, including a time trial, slalom, and a head-to-head race. Sage was the only team to cleanly navigate all gates on the first slalom run. But each team is allowed two slalom runs, keeping their best time. And on the second run, the Ark Sharks team from Summit County took the fastest time by only six seconds.

Upcoming Rafting Competitions

With such exciting early success, the Sage team certainly plans to be back as a serious contender next year. But in the meantime, there is more rafting competition to look forward to. Today, the Sage Raft Race Team begins the competition at the CKS Paddlefest in Buena Vista. Then, they’ll make appearances at the Vista GoPro Mountain Games and FIBArk festivals later next month.

If you’re interested in a Colorado rafting adventure with Sage Outdoor Adventures and our world-class guides, give us a call at 970-476-3700 or contact us online. We’ve got a great rafting season to look forward to and we’d love to see you on the water!

Spring Photo Journal From the Yampa River

Members of the Sage Raft Race Team recently had the opportunity to raft Colorado’s Yampa River canyon in preparation for the U.S. Rafting Association National Championships this weekend in Oklahoma City.

The Yampa River, before its confluence with the Green, is one of Colorado’s iconic rivers with sweeping desert landscapes and sheer rock walls. Here are a few shots from the recent raft trip.

Now, the Sage team heads to the National Championships! Stay tuned for updates. When they return, it will be time to kick off the rafting season here in Colorado! The water is getting high, and this season is going to be epic! If you have any questions about rafting trips, call us at 970-476-3700 or send us a message.

Enjoy Western Style Horseback Riding With Sage

Get western

Have mediocre memories of a nose-to-tail horseback ride? You can forget those. Here at Sage, we ride a beautiful mountain ranch the size of Vail ski area. Not bound by Forest Service trails, we encourage you to make your own. Experience the wide-open feel of Colorado’s backcountry on a western horseback ride through aspen groves, wildflowers, and along mountain lakes.

A Different Style of Horseback Riding

That’s another thing that makes a horseback ride with Sage Stables different: our 6,000-acre historic ranch near Vail and Beaver Creek. Not bound by Forest Service permits or trail restrictions, our rides allow you to freely explore and enjoy a western horseback riding experience. Our horses are trained to ride side-by-side rather than following the leader, giving you more freedom to explore the land. Meander through meadows and through stands of old-growth forest, taking in the stunning views as you do.

About Sage Stables

You won’t find us at a temporary corral on the side of a Forest Service Road. Here on the ranch, Sage Stables is an idyllic summer home for our horses. Our experienced staff and wranglers will make sure you feel comfortable and safe, ready to explore a beautiful new country on horseback.

Check out this video of our horseback riding experience:

For more information on horseback rides with Sage, please visit our Horseback Riding Page. To make a reservation for your Colorado adventure, please give us a call at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

The Spring Melt: Impact on Rafting and Fishing

Another late blast of snow across the Rockies can dump feet of wet spring snow in some locations. But that doesn’t stop the sun from shining, and temperatures will continue to climb back up into the 70s in many places across Colorado. The smaller creeks will fill up and the water will start to rise. In summary: the spring melt is underway!

Spring Weather and Rafting

Even as late as May, Colorado’s snowpack can stand at over 100%, leading to higher than average surges of water. This means when the runoff begins, there will still be a ton of snow up high. Depending on how rapidly summer temperatures arrive, runoff could last weeks longer than normal. At its peak, that means these weather conditions will bring some epic whitewater rafting conditions!

Pro tip: the Arkansas River and the Colorado River often give great insight into when to expect peak rafting conditions. If you don’t want to miss the excitement, give us a call at 970-476-3700 to reserve your spot. Or check out our rafting trips.

Early Spring Weather Impact on Fishing

While the rafting community will be celebrating outstanding whitewater conditions, fly fishing enthusiasts might be less enthralled with the prospect of an extended high-water spring 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. It just means you have to fish 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.