The Upper Eagle River: Colorado’s Ultimate Whitewater Trip

Whitewater Rafting the Upper Eagle

When it comes to whitewater rafting in Colorado, many folks immediately think of the Arkansas River – and for good reasons. The Ark is Colorado’s most well-known rafting destination because it offers consistent conditions all summer long.

But what if we told you that some of the best whitewater rafting in Colorado was on the upper Eagle River? Would you be surprised? It’s true. When it’s in season, the upper Eagle is not only some of the best whitewater in the state – it’s among the best in the world.

Eagle River vs. Arkansas River

The only reason the Eagle River can’t compete with the Arkansas in terms of popularity is because the season is short. But in part, that’s what makes it special. If you can catch the upper Eagle River during its prime time in May and June, you’re in for an unforgettable rafting adventure.

The upper Eagle River takes rafters down a 10-mile roller coaster of nearly continuous rapids. The steep gradient and steady drop makes this river a fire hose experience. The minimum age on this trip is 16 years old and we recommend it for those who are strong swimmers and ready for adventure.

Whitewater Rafting in Colorado on the Eagle River

This world-class stretch of whitewater is located right here locally, between Vail and Beaver Creek. This makes it an easy half-day trip for those staying here in the Vail Valley. You certainly can’t beat having rafting like this, just minutes from Vail’s hotels and restaurants.

Again, the season is short. But if you find yourself in the Vail Valley in May or June, then put a rafting trip on the Upper Eagle River at the top of your to-do list. It’ll be one of the most memorable whitewater trips you ever experience.

To learn more about our rafting trips and pricing, please visit the Rafting Page. You can also call us with any questions at 970-476-3700.

Whitewater Rafting Colorado's Upper Eagle

Enjoying Our New Snowmobile Area Improvements

Snowmobile Area

Over the past two years, we’ve made major changes to our snowmobiling program here at Sage. As we enjoy the great snow conditions in Colorado’s winter season, we continue to revel in these big improvements!

We are extremely proud of our snowmobile program, which was already one of the most highly rated in the state. In fact, Sage Outdoor Adventures boasts Trip Advisor’s highest rating for outdoor activities in the Vail area.

Some of the new snowmobile improvements include a totally redesigned trail system and a new state-of-the-art snowcat for improved trail grooming and maintenance.

Snowmobiling on Colorado's best custom-built trails

How We Design our Snowmobile Trails

The guides and designers of Sage’s snowmobile trail system spent a great deal of time and work on the new design. The team built a custom network of trails that are specifically designed with our snowmobile guests in mind.

“We considered the area’s geology, vegetation, wind patterns, and snow deposition zones,” commented Sage co-owner and head trail designer, Darryl Bangert. “Other major factors that went into this trail redesign included trail flow, view corridors, and some of our guides’ favorite places to discover with guests.”

Sage’s Private Mountain is Ideal Snowmobiling Terrain

We are thrilled to run our snowmobile operations on a private mountain near Vail, a property that covers more than 6,000 acres. The area has proven to be an ideal base of operations for snowmobile tours, with 2,500 feet of vertical relief on a north-facing mountain. Sage’s base area sits at 8,100 feet above sea level, the same as Vail and Beaver Creek.

The terrain here lends itself to incredible riding trails, and the area is actually larger than the Vail ski area.

“Imagine being able to design the ski runs on Vail Mountain, and then consider that we get to design snowmobile trails on an even bigger area,” Bangert added. “We are all passionate about riding and discovering the most fun routes. Our extensive background in hiking and cross country skiing gives us great insight into the intimate feel of the land.”

Sage Outdoor Adventures has over 100 miles of marked trails and 25 different loop routes. Sage also has more open meadow riding than the combined bowl area of Vail Mountain.

Maintaining our Trails During Colorado’s Winter

In addition to the re-designed trail system, Sage runs a new, Prinoth Husky Snowcat. This state-of-the-art cat is now a part of Sage’s grooming fleet and will allow the team at Sage to maintain the best possible trail quality.

Guests in Colorado expect a high-level product, and Sage’s grooming efforts are second-to-none. “We want our guests to learn the machines and to enjoy the views, not fight with poorly groomed terrain,” Bangert concluded.

To learn more about our snowmobile rides in the Vail Valley, please visit our Snowmobiling Page. To reserve dates or to ask questions, give us a call at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

Tag #SageOutdoors in Your Summer Adventure Photos

We’re having a blast this summer, meeting visitors to the Vail Valley from all over the U.S. and the world! Most of our guides will tell you that the best part of their job is having the opportunity to meet so many awesome folks and to show them this beautiful Colorado mountain country.

We love seeing and sharing all the great photos that our guests share on social media. We count ourselves very fortunate to be a part of your vacation memories. Being able to look back and see some of those photos makes it that much more special.

If you’re visiting the Vail or Beaver Creek area this summer and enjoy an adventure with us, we would encourage you to use the hashtag, #sageoutdoors on Instagram. Whether you are getting ready to hit the river, on a side-by-side ATV tour, a horseback ride, fly fishing or shooting sporting clays, we would love to see it and share it with the rest of the Sage Outdoor Adventures family!

Be sure and follow the #sageoutdoors hashtag to see all of the other fun shenanigans going on around here!

Our summer rafting season is going full-force, and side-by-side ATV riders are enjoying some serious mud-on-the-face fun. And with all that spring snowmelt, horseback riding guests have enjoyed a wonderful year for wildflowers. No matter what you snap a picture of, be sure and hashtag it with #sageoutdoors to share the adventure with the rest of the family here at Sage Outdoor Adventures!

instagram (@deviesurb)

instagram (@timviv)

 

If you have questions about our trips, or if you’d like to learn more about any of the adventures we offer, you can contact us online or call us at 970-476-3700. Please also explore the rest of our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com.

What’s the Difference on a Private Mountain Horseback Ride?

Horseback riding in the Vail Valley is a popular activity. But not all horseback rides are the same. The average experience might be a nose-to-tail ride on a busy trail that’s choked with other users and where you’re not allowed to stray from the path. But we don’t believe in average.

Instead, imagine an authentic, western horseback experience on a historic private mountain just outside of Vail and Beaver Creek. Here, you can avoid the crowded trailhead. You can explore forests, aspen groves, meadows, and rolling sage flats. And you’re not stuck in a single file.

Horseback Riding in Vail Valley

Unique Horseback Riding near Beaver Creek

Most horseback riding operations are limited to US Forest Service trails and regulations. Forest Service permits limit exactly where horses can ride and stop. Taking groups of horseback riders off-trail and cross-country is not allowed in many of the high-use areas like the trails around Vail and Beaver Creek.

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we do things differently. Our base of operations is a 6,000-acre private mountain. That’s larger than the Vail ski area! This extraordinary location is home to expansive meadows filled with wildflowers, creeks and ponds, old-growth stands of aspen trees, and historic cabins. The mountain here is teeming with wildlife like elk and deer.

Off-Trail Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding on a Private Mountain with Sage

Horseback rides on our private mountain are not limited by Forest Service permit regulations. Our riders are free to explore the entire area, follow game trails through the woods and trot through the sunny meadows. On a horseback ride with us, you won’t be riding single-file down a narrow dirt track. You’ll be able to explore the beautiful country that Colorado has to offer.

So next time you think of going on a horseback ride when you’re visiting the Vail area, break away from the pack and the standard nose-to-tail rides. Join us as we set off across a vast and historic private mountain. Experience what a horseback riding experience should be!

To learn more, please visit our Horseback Riding Page. You can book or chat with us online. Or give us a call at 970-476-3700 to begin planning your adventure. We hope to see you on the mountain this summer!
Sage's Horses

Different Types of Rafts and Why We use Them

Whitewater Raft

If you’ve been on a guided rafting trip, you may have noticed that rafts come in a variety of different setups. Some rafts have the guide using oars in the center. Others place the guide and oars in the back. And some rafts are paddle boats with no oars at all. Each type of boat has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Here’s a quick overview of the different types of raft configurations, and why we use them.

Center-Mount Frame Raft

First, consider the raft with a center-mount frame. According to Sage owner and guide, Cole Bangert, these types of rafts are extremely agile, since the pivot point of the raft is in the center. You’ll most often see this type of setup on overnight camp floats for their ability to navigate big or technical rapids with large loads of gear.

Rafters can choose from a variety of boats

Back-Mounted Frame Raft

Next is the raft with its frame and oars mounted at the back. This makes a great paddle-assisted setup, where the guide rows and calls commands to the crew equipped with paddles.

“The paddle crew and guide work together to move the boat,” Cole said. “This is ideal for commercial outfitters. The guide can do most of the work but guests are still heavily involved. It’s a great setup for family trips with younger kids, as the guide has the ability to move the boat without much power from guests.”

Rafts without an Oar Mount

You have probably seen a paddle boat with no oars. This is the way you see most commercial trips structured. This heavily involves the customers, as they must come together as a team to move the raft efficiently.

Certain Rafts encourage teamwork more than others

“The guide and guest have to create a trust factor,” Cole told us. “The guide usually could not navigate certain whitewater without the performance of his paddle crew, and the paddle crew must trust that the guide knows how to command the boat. This is fun for the guide and guests alike. There is a lot of teaching and learning.”

Sage’s Custom Rafts

Sage uses a mixture of boats, but primarily SOTAR rafts. SOTAR and Sage have actually teamed up to produce an innovative raft design that’s ideal for our whitewater situations. We worked with SOTAR to build these rafts specifically for maximizing performance and fun.

“These custom rafts are 13.5 feet long and they track well, meaning they move in the direction you point the boat amid heavy waves and currents,” Cole commented. “They are balanced and stable with the 19-inch tube diameter, which is slightly larger than a standard 13-foot raft. The tubes diminish from 19 inches to 15 inches on the tip of the bow and stern to enable the raft to “punch” through big waves without getting stalled out.”

SOTAR also used a high-end material on our custom rafts that, when inflated, turns very stiff. This is crucial to have in hard whitewater. It makes the boat more predictable, faster, and stable for the paddlers. Sage's custom rafts are made in partnership with SOTAR“The height of the bow is also custom,” Cole concluded. “We set it to have a good mixture of speed, anti-deflection, and wetness…because cause let’s face it, when waves cover the raft, it’s the best feeling ever!”

For more information on rafting trips near Vail and Beaver Creek with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please visit our Rafting Page. To book your trip, call us now at 970-476-3700.