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.

Guided Fly Fishing Expeditions on The Piney River

Piney River Guided Fishing Trip

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we are extremely proud to have exclusive access to the famed Piney River near Vail for guided fly fishing trips!

Sage is the sole fly fishing outfitter on the Piney Valley Ranch, and it’s only available to our guests. We offer fully guided adventures to this pristine alpine stream, tucked away in the spectacular Colorado backcountry.

The Piney River is a classic, Colorado wilderness gem. With its headwaters at Piney Lake at the foot of the rugged Gore Range, this freestone river tumbles through a roadless wilderness canyon for 25 miles until its confluence with the Colorado River. 

Fishing the Piney River in Colorado

As the Piney River approaches its confluence with the Colorado, it flows right through the Piney Valley Ranch, a sprawling, 30,000-acre mountain paradise. Guests of Sage Outdoor Adventures have exclusive access to a stretch of water has never been available to the public.

The team at Sage Outdoor Adventures was able to secure this premier fishing lease thanks to a longstanding relationship with the owners of Piney Valley Ranch, who previously owned Castle Peak Ranch. Castle Peak is where we offer ATV tours, snowmobiling, horseback riding and sporting clays. There were several reputable fly fishing businesses knocking on the door for the Piney River lease. But after seven years of working together at Castle Peak, and knowing first-hand the quality of Sage operations, the owners chose to sign with Sage.

Piney River Fly Fishing Trips

We offer half-day and full-day trips to this remote, private stretch of the Piney River. Trips will include side-by-side ATVs to navigate the ranch and high-end fly fishing gear. Full day trips also include a streamside lunch.

The ranch will be limited to very few fishing guests each day to maintain a high quality experience. As with everything we do, we place a high priority on the quality of the fishing, the undisturbed wilderness experience, and the quality of guest service.

Guided Fly Fishing Trips

The exclusive fishing lease on the Piney Valley Ranch also includes a premier section of private water on the Eagle River. This will allow us to offer premium half-day trips just a few minutes from Vail and Beaver Creek.

In addition to these new private waters, Sage Outdoor Adventures will continue to offer guided float trips on the Eagle and Colorado Rivers.

If you’d like to learn more, please visit our Fly Fishing Page. If you’d like to chat with us in more detail or check availability, you can call us at 970-476-3700 or contact us online. 

Guided Fly Fishing on the Piney River

 

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.

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. 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, 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 the Upper Eagle

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!

Snowpack Update & Summer Rafting Forecast

Summer Season Rafting

Well, it was an awesome winter season here in the Vail Valley…at least until a certain global pandemic put a halt to everyone’s plans. We’re sharing in the disappointment of so many, who’s vacations were cut short or didn’t happen at all. But much more importantly, we are concerned about the safety of those in our community and around the world. As we all work together to confront it, we will remain optimistic that in a few months, we will again be enjoying the great summer outdoor activities here in Colorado.

Snowmobiling throughout the 2019/2020 season has been a ton of fun. We had excellent snow conditions, from very early on in the season. But now, we’re excited that spring is around the corner. The abundance of snow means that we will have an incredible whitewater rafting season!

Snowmobile Tour

As we look forward to spring and the summer rafting season, we can’t help but get excited. After a snowy start to the season and then a particularly stormy February, the Snowpack in the Colorado high country is in great shape. That means great rafting conditions ahead!

Right here in the Colorado River basin, the current snowpack is nearly 110% of normal with more storms on the way. With the above-average snow level in the high country, we can expect a particularly good season for Gore Creek and the Eagle River, which are some of Colorado’s best early summer rafting.

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, this will be a great year to do it!

Colorado Rafting trip

Meanwhile, over in the Arkansas River basin, snowpack is right at normal levels. 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 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.