Colorado Snow Update & White Water Rafting Forecast

Summer Season Rafting

Well, it has been an awesome winter season here in the Vail Valley and it seems nothing can stop all these smiles! Sage owner Darryl Bangert said it best, “Through our second year amid the pandemic, we’ve witnessed a big demand to get outside and reconnect with nature,” he said. “Seeing our guests come alive during these trips is very rewarding for our staff.”

An outdoor snowmobile adventure is the ultimate socially distanced activity and we have continued to keep excellent safety protocols in place. Snowmobiling throughout this season has been a ton of fun. Recent storms have led to great snow conditions. And now, we’re excited that spring is around the corner. Before we know it, we will be making the transition from snowmobiling to rafting season!

Snowmobile Tour in Vail, Colorado

Colorado’s White Water Rafting Season

As we look forward to spring and the summer rafting season, we can’t help but get excited. This winter was unique, as every year is. Winter seemed to arrive late, with a relatively dry start to the winter sports season. But as is so often the case, when the snow did arrive, it came with a vengeance. Since the holidays, snowpack across the state has hovered at or above median levels for much of the winter. Lots of snow on the mountains means great rafting conditions ahead! Take a look at the expected conditions for our awesome Colorado river rafting 1-day and half-day trips.

Gore Creek and Eagle River Rafting Conditions

Right here in the Colorado River basin, the current snowpack sits at about 95% of average levels with more spring storms in the forecast. With a high snowpack in the high country, we can expect good early season rafting on Gore Creek and the Eagle River, which are some of Colorado’s best early summer trips.

In fact, when the Eagle River is at its peak, it’s some of the best whitewater in the country. But what makes the Eagle River is unique, is the steady downward gradient. The upper section from Minturn to Avon features a consistent elevation drop, essentially creating a 10-mile long wave train.

If you’ve never experienced Gore Creek or the Eagle River, don’t wait – come experience it this year!

Colorado White Water Rafting Trip in March

Arkansas River Rafting Conditions

Meanwhile, over in the Arkansas River basin, we have a solid snowpack, which currently sits at about 94% of median. This is the most famous stretch of whitewater in Colorado for good reason. Once the spring thaw begins, we’re in for a memorable summer of whitewater rafting on the Ark.

The world-famous Pine Creek and Numbers sections of the Arkansas River boast some of the best class IV and V whitewater rafting in the country. Further downstream, Browns Canyon National Monument offers a trip through an incredibly scenic gorge with 10 miles of class III rapids. Add to this a backdrop of 14,000-foot peaks and rocky desert landscapes, and it’s easy to see why the Ark is a popular rafting destination.

The 2020 rafting season in Colorado is shaping up to be a great one. If you’re planning a trip to Colorado this year, be sure and reserve dates early for your whitewater adventure.

To learn more, visit our Rafting Page. If you have questions or to book a trip, please call us at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

Featured River: The Arkansas River

Rafting on the Arkansas River in Colorado

Whitewater rafting has always 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 rivers, go back and check out our profile on the Shoshone rapids through Glenwood Canyon. Also check out the upper Eagle River and Gore Creek, which offer some of Colorado’s best early-season rafting from Vail, down through Avon and Beaver Creek.

Arkansas River: Colorado’s Ultimate Rafting River

This time, let’s talk about the Arkansas River. The ‘Ark’ is well-known in Colorado for its 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 snowmelt periods, like you see on the Eagle River or Clear Creek.”

Colorado's Arkansas River is perfect for rafting

Enjoy Stunning Views While Rafting Through Browns Canyon Rapids

According to Cole, the backdrop on the Arkansas, river rafting Browns Canyon rapids, or Numbers, 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. Raft the Arkansas River as a group!Brave Arkansas River's whitewater rapids

Tackle Arkansas River’s Powerful Rapids

“The upper stretches of the Arkansas River 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.

Float through a National Monument

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.”

Even if you’re looking for fun things to do in Avon, CO, which is closest to the Eagle River, don’t discount the Arkansas River close by.

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.

Stay Cool, It’s The Perfect Time for A Rafting Adventure

Colorado River Outpost

We are enjoying warm summer temperatures in Colorado and it’s a perfect time to be out on the water. When it’s hot in town and on the mountain, you know it’s time for a rafting adventure! 

Whitewater Rafting Options

Rafting conditions throughout central Colorado continue to provide great opportunities this year. From exciting rapids to leisurely floats, we have rafting trips available for adventurers of all abilities and ages. These hot August days are the perfect time to enjoy a day on the water and one of the best times for whitewater rafting in Colorado.

Each whitewater rapid has a different raft rating

The Upper Colorado River and the Shoshone Rapids in Glenwood Canyon are perfect activities for a hot summer day. We have half-day trips available in the mornings or afternoons, and there’s no better way to cool off.

Join us on the Arkansas River, rafting Browns Canyon rapids and The Numbers sections are “must do” trips here in Colorado. We have 3/4 and full day trips available on these famous stretches of the Arkansas River.

Here at Sage, we’re proud to have a wide range of rafting experiences. We can help you plan the perfect trip for a group of any age or experience level. Here’s a quick overview of our rafting adventures: 

Float Series (Class II Rating) 

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 Rating)

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. Find more details on our Adventure Series.

Adrenaline Series (Class IV & V Rating) 

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. Check out our Adrenaline Series. 

A Variety of Whitewater Rafting Options with Sage

Here at Sage, we operate on a wide variety of rivers. This gives us a ton of options, depending on the time of year, and depending on the needs of each group. For an in-depth look at these options, have a look as Joe and Cole explain:

One of the Best Times for Rafting in Colorado

To reserve your dates this summer, call us now at 970-476-3700 or contact us online. It’s hot outside, so let’s plan your rafting adventure!

Colorado River Rafting 1-Day or Half-Day Trips to Get On Your Radar

Take it from your favorite paddle junkies: we’ve had the opportunity to explore rivers all over our home state. Colorado is home to some incredible rafting adventures. If you haven’t had the opportunity to explore many of them, let us fill you in.

group of people whitewater rafting

Here are the Colorado whitewater river rafting trips that must be on your radar!

Northwest Colorado

Our state’s namesake river, the Colorado River offers a number of great stretches that can be done in a day. From the mouth of Gore Canyon, all the way down into Glenwood canyon, there are a number of day-trip sections suitable for a wide range of abilities.

The Eagle River also offers some outstanding day-trip stretches. Check out the upper Eagle from Minturn to Edwards and the lower Eagle River from Wolcott to the town of Eagle.

Another Norwest Colorado favorite of ours is the Roaring Fork, particularly the Slaughterhouse section.

The Yampa River offers visitors the chance to experience a 5-day wilderness trip. The scenery will leave you dumbfounded, and then you add in the class III and IV whitewater, and this one is a winner.

The Northwest area undoubtedly offers some of the best options for both expert and beginner white water rafting in Colorado.

Southwest Colorado

The Animas River is a great one near Durango that offers excellent day trips. The Animas has everything from family-friendly trips to difficult whitewater.

The San Juan River is unique in that visitors can experience an extended, 7-day wilderness adventure. With no difficult rapids, it’s great for families with young children. You will feel like you are the first person to ever be there.

The Dolores River also offers overnighters, from 3-day to 7-day wilderness trips. The Dolores travels through different micro-climates, starting in the mountains with tall ponderosa pines, and then turning into a classic desert canyon trip near the Utah border.

Southeast Colorado

The Arkansas River is the undisputed Jewel of southeast Colorado and perhaps some of the most famous whitewater in the state. Well-known adventures include Arkansas river rafting Browns Canyon rapids, Numbers, Pine Creek, Bighorn Sheep Canyon, and the Royal Gorge. With great day trips that are easy to reach from the front range, it’s easy to see why rafting trips on the Ark are so popular. Perfect if you’re looking for difficult or beginner white water rafting in Colorado

Northeast Colorado

The Poudre Canyon is a Front Range favorite. This Wild & Scenic River is home to day trips just outside Fort Collins, Colorado on class III sections of the lower Poudre.

The North Platte River is a hidden gem in Colorado. But don’t let its sleepy status fool you.  The Wild & Scenic North Platte offers some awesome multi-day wilderness trips that cross from Colorado up into Wyoming.

Clear Creek is a popular paddling playground that’s close to Denver and the Front Range metro area. Visitors here can enjoy day trips on several different sections of Clear Creek.

Adventure Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

If you’d like to learn more about the awesome Colorado river rafting 1-day or half-day trips that we offer here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, please check out our Rafting Page. You can also contact us online or simply give us a call at 970-476-3700.

Reserve Your Summer White Water Rafting Trip

Spring temperatures are arriving in Colorado and that means water levels will rise! As runoff progresses, we’re looking forward to an awesome season of rafting!

It’s no secret that when the snowpack is well above average, an epic rafting season is just around the corner. Check out this regularly updated national snow survey to see what conditions you can expect! If there are prime weather conditions, you can bet white water enthusiasts are already busy planning summer adventures. Prime dates will fill up fast, so if you have a trip in mind, we recommend reserving your summer rafting dates early!

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 summer white water 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 white water 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 summer white water rafting in the state. Check out our Adrenaline Series.

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