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 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.

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.

An Overview of Our Rafting Trip Options at Sage

Rafting with Sage Outdoor Adventures

Cabin fever yet? Tell us about it. We’re looking forward to getting out and doing some rafting this summer!

The mountains here in central Colorado have a healthy snowpack, and that means we have a great season of rafting to look forward to. From whitewater adventures to scenic family float trips, we can’t wait for warmer weather and to be out on the water with our guests.

As you think about getting out for summer adventures, here’s an overview of the rafting trip options that we have available here at Sage:

Take a look at our rafting trip options and pricing here. From early summer through September, we have a great variety of trips for any family or group.

Class II Trips

Our rafting trips on the upper Colorado River are perfect for families of all ages. You’ll raft through incredible canyon scenery, experience small rapids and have plenty of time to play and slash in the River. Participants as young as 3 years old can get in on the fun.

Learn more here.

Class III Trips

We have a wide variety of Class III trips available on the Colorado River, Gore Creek, the lower Eagle River and the Arkansas River. These whitewater trips are a ton of fun! Some of our class III trips are available to rafters as young as 6-years-old, while others can be more challenging. Depending on the age of participants, how much time you have, and what you’d like to experience, we can help plan the perfect rafting adventure.

Learn more here.

Class IV+ Trips

For the adventure seekers, we have incredible class IV and V trips available on the upper Eagle River and the Arkasnas River. For rafters ages 16 and up, these are some memorable trips on some of the best whitewater in the country!

Learn more here.

If you have questions or if you’d like to begin planning your summer trip, please give us a call at 970-476-3700. We’d love to help you plan the ultimate summer rafting getaway!

2018 Rafting Trips and Summer Adventure on the Horizon

Spring is here and we’re already looking forward with anticipation to some awesome 2018 rafting trips and summer adventures right around the corner!

Playing in the snow is a blast, but it’s usually around this time when we start dreaming of playing in the water. Before we know it, we’ll be pushing off for another awesome whitewater season. This summer, we will also be enjoying beautiful horseback rides, side-by-side ATV rides, fly fishing and sporting clays.

The 2018 rafting season in Colorado kicks off in May and we offer rafting trips to suit any group, from family-friendly outings to adrenaline-packed adventures.

First, our Float Series rafting trips are perfect families and groups of all ages. Explore the upper Colorado River and travel through scenic canyons while you enjoy splashing through waves and lazy swimming holes.

Next, our Adventures Series includes Class III whitewater trips with the excitement of rapids, plus some killer Colorado scenery. There are a wide variety of trips in the Adventure Series and we can easily customize these floats. They include stretches of the Colorado River, Gore Creek, the lower Eagle River and the world-renown Brown’s Canyon on the Arkansas River.

Finally, we offer some incredible Adrenaline Series trips for Colorado’s best nonstop whitewater action. The most famous stretches of river in Colorado are the Numbers and Pine Creek Sections of the Arkansas River. But don’t overlook the Eagle River. The Eagle is home to some awesome whitewater and we believe it’s one of the most underrated in Colorado.

In addition to these many rafting adventures, we’re looking forward to another summer of fun at our base of operations on a historic ranch near Vail. Here at our base, we’ve got 6,000 acres to explore on horseback and ATV. In this private setting, we have the mountain to ourselves where we’re free to explore Colorado’s alpine country. From here we enjoy views of seven different mountain ranges and overlooks of the jaw-dropping Eagle River Canyon.


For more information on our 2018 rafting trips and other summer adventures, please check out the rest of the website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com. You can also contact us online or give us a call at 970-476-3700.