Viewing Colorado’s Spectacular Aspen 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

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

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!

Snowmobiles and the Real Backcountry Experience

Vail Snowmobile Ride

The recent changes in snowmobile technology are even more radical than the change in ski shape over the last 15 years. Emissions are incredibly low and the sport of snowmobiling is exploding. But what does that mean from an environmental perspective? How does snowmobiling compare to other winter sports in terms of its impact?

From young families to serious outdoor enthusiasts, snowmobiling is a fast-growing sport. Many skiers enjoy a quiet day away from the busy slopes and a chance to do something different with their families. Here at Sage, it’s not uncommon for us to see three-generations of riders together on a tour.

The number-one reason our customers say they go snowmobiling is to “experience the wilderness.” To us, this isn’t surprising at all. It’s true, that backcountry experience is the primary draw for most snowmobile riders.

Snowmobile TourUnfortunately, there’s also a great deal of misperception about snowmobiling. Some folks see them as noisy and polluting. In reality, neither is true. Our modern snowmobiles are incredibly quiet. You are more likely to hear the crunch of the tracks on the snow than you are the engine. And with low emissions and no smell, snowmobiles offer a perfect escape from the bustle of the ski slopes into the tranquility of the mountains.

Our 6,000-acre private mountain near Vail and Beaver creek is home to resident mule deer, elk and other wildlife. Our riders frequently see wildlife here on the mountain, where they stay undisturbed through the winter. In terms of environmental impact, a snowmobile ride is far more “green” than a day of riding ski lifts. All of our guided trips give our guests the opportunity to stop, look, listen and just enjoy being still in these stunning places.

In the end, our guests’ favorite part of these trips is also our favorite part. We’re here because we love the experience. We are skiers too. But a snowmobile ride offers the chance to escape from the crowds and experience the still silence of the backcountry and the mountains in winter.

For more information on our guided snowmobile tours, please take a look at our Snowmobiling Page. Or give us a call at 970-476-3700. We hope to see you here for a snowmobiling adventure soon!

Advanced Snowmobile Tours with Sage

Winter was slow to arrive here in Colorado, but snowmobile season is now well underway. Snowmobile tours have been great so far, and even more snow is on the way.

Most of our snowmobile tours are 2-hour beginner and intermediate tours that really teach our guests how to ride and get the most out of their snowmobile experience. However, we frequently receive questions about our advanced snowmobile tours.

Our advanced tour uses 120-horsepower Ski-Doo mountain snowmobiles. These sleds are designed specifically for off-trail riding.

These are incredible machines and on our advanced tours, we teach our guests how to ride in deep powder, climb steep hills and navigate thru trees. This is guaranteed to be the most exciting snowmobile ride you can do!

Just like our beginner and intermediate snowmobile tours, this is not a “follow the guide and keep up” kind of experience. We operate with very small guide-to-guest ratios. Each tour is personalized, and we take the time to make sure our guests are learning, having fun and really experiencing the thrill of the Colorado backcountry.

In addition to some exciting advanced snowmobiling terrain, we have 10  free-ride meadows scattered throughout the 6000-acre ranch. These wide-open spaces allow everyone to get their throttle therapy. With our high-end grooming equipment, these free-ride areas are groomed on a regular basis.

The snowmobiling experience here is different. On a 6,000-acre ranch that’s bigger than Vail ski area, there are no other tour operators. You’ll have the place to yourself with more than 100 miles of custom-designed trails! Our three snowcats keep trails in prime condition, so that you can enjoy the thrill of the ride. From the ranch, you’ll enjoy views of seven mountain ranges, the continental divide and the 2,400-foot chasm into the Eagle River Canyon.

For more information on snowmobile tours with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please explore the rest of our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com or call us now at 970-476-3700.

Horseback Rides Are Back – The Midwinter Mountain Experience

The warm weather and the lack of snow around the Vail Valley isn’t getting us down. In fact, we’ve decided to offer some incredible, winter horseback rides!

Normally a summer activity here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we are bringing back our horseback rides for some awesome midwinter mountain adventures. We’ve been getting daily requests for winter horseback rides, so we have decided to do it.

Like our summer horseback rides, these trips will be on our beautiful trail system along streams, lakes, sage flats, through snow-covered aspen groves and stands of old-growth timber.

If you enjoy horseback riding in the summer, you will be enthralled with a winter exploration of the Colorado backcountry on horseback. With snow on the ground, the cottonwood creek bottoms and aspen groves are stunning. The low snow level has allowed wildlife like elk, deer and coyotes to remain on the ranch in abundance where they are highly visible to our guests.

Guests should dress warmly in their ski clothing, just like you would be going skiing for the day. We will offer small, intimate groups of six horses or fewer. The rides are 1.5 hours long and we provide transportation to and from Vail and Beaver creek, included in the cost of the trip.

If you love mountains and you love horses, this trip is for you!

To reserve your midwinter mountain horseback ride please call us at 970-476-3700 or send us a message. See you on the mountain soon!

December Wildlife Adventures in the Vail Valley

If you’re visiting or soon to visit the Vail Valley this holiday season, you may already be aware that the weather here has provided some unusual circumstances. Rather than snowmobiling this time of year, we are still enjoying some awesome side-by-side ATV tours and December wildlife adventures.

We finally received a little snow on the ranch this week. But it’s not enough yet for snowmobiling. But there is one neat benefit to this shallow snow cover through the woods and on our trails…it’s perfect conditions for studying wildlife tracks.

The mild weather this month means that deer and other wildlife have not yet migrated further down the valley floor. Wildlife is still on the ranch in abundance. And the light snowpack has proven to be a fun discovery for our guests.

Wildlife near Beaver Creek“To us, it is an open book of what’s going on, 24 hours a day,” said Sage founder Darryl Bangert. “We’ve been able to clearly see deer, does and their fawns meandering as they feed then bed down for day or night. We’ve followed the tracks of big bull elk traveling through the area. And we’ve even found mountain lion tracks as they stalk, chase, and capture deer.

“We’ve had a great time stopping to study the tracks and to teach our guests what they are, and how to read these stories in the snow,” Darryl continued. “We’ve found tracks from wild turkeys, coyotes, ermine, rabbits and squirrels. We’ve seen big golden eagles almost daily, many times sitting on their prey.”

At first glance, December in a ski town without much snow might seem like a drag. But these last few weeks have provided a rare opportunity to enjoy the mountains in a different way. While we’re looking forward to getting on those snowmobiles, these unusual wildlife adventures have certainly been a pleasure.

And as is typically the case, when one month is more dry than normal, another month will usually make up for it. Last winter also began with little snowfall, but ended with the highest snowpack in several years. The snow will come. In the meantime, we’ll be enjoying the mountains on four wheels!

For more information on side-by-side ATV tours or (upcoming) snowmobile tours with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please contact us or give us a call at 970-478-3700. We look forward to helping you plan your next Colorado backcountry adventure.