Guided Fly Fishing Expeditions on Vail’s 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!

About the Piney River

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

Fly Fishing the Piney River in Colorado

As the Piney River approaches its confluence with the Colorado River, 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, which has never been available to the public.

How Sage Received Exclusive Access to Fish the Piney River

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, and horseback riding. 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.

Vail Colorado Fly Fishing Trips

What to Expect on our Guided 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, our guides place a high priority on the quality of the fishing, the undisturbed wilderness experience, and the quality of guest service.

Guided Fly Fishing Trips in Colorado

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

 

Viewing Colorado’s Spectacular Aspen Tree Displays

Changing Aspens in Colorado

Each September, the Colorado high country erupts in color, as mountainsides covered in aspen groves turn a brilliant gold and orange. The change typically begins by mid-September and reaches its peak near the end of the month.

Colorado Aspen Trees

About the Quaking Aspen Trees

Aspens are one of the most widely distributed native trees to North America, but most of the continent’s aspen forests are located in Colorado and Utah. Here along the Vail Valley, we’re fortunate to have some expansive aspen groves. At our private mountain base, our guests enjoy horseback riding and ATV tours through some spectacular stands of old-growth aspen trees.

In addition to bearing seeds, aspens primarily regenerate by sending up shoots and suckers from lateral root systems. That means an entire aspen grove could be comprised of just a few plants, or in some cases, even a single plant. This is what allows aspens to take the title for being the largest plant on earth!

Changing Aspens in Colorado

Viewing Colorado’s Aspen Trees

The colorful displays of aspen trees in September are beautiful when viewed from a distance when entire mountains are streaked with highlights. However, the best way to enjoy aspen trees is to stand in their midst. Its full name is the quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), because, with even the slightest breeze, the entire canopy will tremble in the faint whisper of leaves.

It’s a very special thing, to stand beneath this shimmering roof with the September sunlight filtering through. If you’ve never experienced it, make it a point to spend some time beneath the aspens on your next trip to Colorado.

Aspen Trees near Vail

Forest Adventures With Sage

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we take pride in offering guided trips on a private mountain that contains more acreage than Vail Ski area. We experience the spirit of the old west on horseback rides across this historic ranch and bordering wilderness area. And we grin from ear to ear while cruising through this wild country with the wind in our face on side-by-side ATV rides.

Come enjoy the aspens, enjoy the mountains and capture quality time with your family or friends this September here in Colorado. For information on our trips, you can explore the rest of our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com. Or you can call us with questions at 970-476-3700. We’d love to help you plan a memorable Colorado mountain adventure!

Different Types of Rafts and Why We use Them

aerial view of five people in blue and yellow whitewater rafting

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. Perfect for beginner whitewater rafting in Colorado.

“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.

aerial view of five people in blue and yellow whitewater rafting

“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!”

Expert to Beginner Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

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.

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!

Kick Your Holiday Plans Up A Notch with A Snowmobile Tour

Snowmobile Tour

What better way to celebrate the holidays than with a snowmobile tour on a spectacular 6,000-acre private ranch near Vail, Colorado? Seriously. Kick your Christmas plans up a notch and join us for a memorable experience on the snow!

Holiday Snowmobile tours

Why Spend your Holidays Snowmobiling with Sage

Our private mountain is home to more than 100 miles of trails and stunning views that overlook the Vail Valley. Feel the wind in your face as you gain speed through the open flats of sage and mountain mahogany. Soak in the Rocky Mountain backcountry while winding your way through old-growth stands of aspen and spruce. The snowmobiling experience here is unforgettable.

We offer two-hour guided tours with three start times each day. And pickup is free from your hotel. That leaves plenty of time for your other Holiday commitments. It makes a perfect group event and our experienced guides will make sure that everyone has a great time, even if you’ve never driven a snowmobile before. Don’t forget to ask for our 10% group discount when you book 10 or more snowmobiles.

For details and to book your Colorado snowmobile adventure, check out our Snowmobile Trips Page or call us at 970-476-3700. See you on the mountain!