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!

Experience a September Adventure in Colorado

September in Colorado

It has been a wonderful summer here in the Vail Valley. The rafting conditions have been tremendous. The fishing on the Piney River is excellent. And at our mountain base, we’re having a blast on horseback rides and side-by-side ATV rides with all of our guests.

As we welcome September, we’re thrilled for one of the best months of the year here in Colorado. The temperatures are still warm, and the September weather is idyllic. Cool mornings lead to warm, sunny afternoons. Soon, the aspens will be turning a bright gold. And wildflowers are still growing throughout the mountain meadows. This is where summer meets fall, and it is spectacular!

September Horseback Rides

Horseback riding here at our private mountain base is an awesome experience in September. You’ll ride through old growth aspen stands and witness incredible scenery. And in typical Sage fashion, these are not your average nose-to-tail horseback rides. Being on a 6,000 acre private mountain means that we aren’t restricted to designated Forest Service trails. We can explore the entire place, and ride freely through this historic ranch that’s larger than the Vail ski area!

Side-By-Side ATV Adventures

Side-by-side rides are also a great way to see Colorado in September. These rides also take place on this expansive private mountain, where you’ll have incredible views of the entire Vail valley.  In addition to the adjoining public land, we have more than 20,000 acres of wild country to explore!

Scenic September Rafting in Colorado

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the incredible rafting opportunities here in Colorado in September. River conditions are perfect on many of our favorite stretches of river. There are a number of fun and incredibly scenic river trips to experience in September around Vail and Beaver Creek.

September Fly Fishing on the Piney River

And finally, this is one of the best times of year to experience fly fishing in Colorado. In September, big brown trout begin moving in advance of their fall spawn. And rainbow and cutthroat trout take advantage of grasshoppers and big hatches of late summer insects as they prepare for the lean winter.

Fly Fishing in ColoradoIf you find yourself in Vail or Beaver Creek this September, consider yourself one of the lucky ones! Not only is it one of the most beautiful months of the year in Colorado. But it’s also usually a little bit quieter after the peak summer season. Take advantage of it, and find some adventure!

For information on our trips, please explore our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com. For details and booking you can contact us online or give us a call at 970-476-3700.

5 Tips For Fly Fishing Colorado’s Wilderness Rivers

Fly Fishing in Colorado

Fishing conditions on our private stretch of the Piney River are at their best. River flows have come down to the perfect level. And summer dry fly fishing continues to be outstanding. When it comes to fly fishing Colorado’s remote and scenic rivers, it doesn’t get any better than this!

Fly Fishing in Colorado

Fly fishing on small wilderness rivers, like the Piney River, comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. Even our guests who are experienced anglers might learn a few new tricks if they are used to fishing on bigger waters.

Here are five tips to remember when fly fishing any of Colorado’s small wilderness rivers:

  1. 1. Pay Attention to Your Profile

The water here can be crystal clear. It’s beautiful, and it’s fun being able to spot the fish. But it’s important to remember that the fish can also see you.

Colorado Fly Fishing Trip

On a guided trip, pay attention to how our guides approach the river. When fishing small wilderness rivers, it’s important to be aware of your profile. If you walk right up to the edge of a cut bank and see the shadows of trout skittering across the river, you’ve gone too far.

Instead, you may need to approach the river cautiously. Don’t let your profile loom over the places where fish are most likely to be holding.

  1. 2. Make Upstream Casts

In many other situations, anglers are used to making quartering-upstream casts, allowing the fly to drift downstream, past the angler’s position.

Here on the Piney River, take note of where your guide positions you for the cast. When fishing these high alpine streams, it’s more common to make upstream casts, and allow the fly to drift back down toward the angler.

Fly Fishing in Colorado

Trout tend to face upstream in the current, opportunistically feeding on insects that come drifting down to them. By making an upstream cast, you’re approaching the trout from behind, where they are less likely to see you.

  1. 3. Start at the Bottom of a Run

When you approach a new run or riffle, it’s often beneficial to begin at the downstream or tailing end, and work your way up. This allows you to target the downstream fish first, without spooking the fish at the head of the run.

Vail, Colorado Fly Fishing

This technique isn’t unique to wilderness fishing. The same principle applies to larger rivers. However, it’s especially important on these small alpine waters. In such clear water, it’s easy to spook fish if you’re not careful. When you target fish at the bottom first, and then work your way upstream, you’ll maximize your opportunities.

  1. 4. Don’t Ignore the Little Pockets

Most anglers have a tendency to fish the biggest, most promising-looking runs and riffles on the river. But when you’re fishing on wilderness creeks, don’t skip over the small pockets. You might be shocked at where you’ll find big trout holding. This is true here on the Piney River and most other high country creeks.

Don’t be surprised when your guide asks you to make a cast into a surprisingly small and innocuous-looking piece of pocket water. These little holes can be full of surprises. You might only get a two-second drift through one of these little pockets. But sometimes, that’s all you need for a fish to attack your fly.

5. Stop and Look Up

When you’re fishing these mountain rivers, the fast-action fishing is exciting. On each cast, you’ll be expecting the water to blow up beneath your dry fly. It’s addicting. And while it’s tempting to keep your head down and tell yourself, “Just one more cast!” don’t forget to lift your eyes and look around you.

The scenery here on the Piney River Ranch is nothing short of stunning. Every once in a while, take a break from casting and enjoy what’s around you. Enjoying the mountain scenery here in Colorado is an important part of the experience.

Colorado Mountain Scenery

Join Us on the Piney River

Our private stretch of the Piney River near Vail is exclusively available to Sage guests, and receives no public fishing pressure. Additionally, our knowledgeable guides help maximize our guests’ experience. Whether you’re a beginner angler, or a crusty old veteran, we work hard to make the most out of your time on the water.

We offer half-day and full-day guided trips on the Piney. To learn more, please explore our Fishing Page. If you have questions about availability or other details, please contact us. We look forward to helping you plan a memorable fly fishing adventure!

Guided Fly Fishing Expeditions on The Piney River

Piney River Guided Fly Fishing

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

What’s the Difference on a Private Mountain Horseback Ride?

Horseback riding in the Vail valley is a popular activity. But not all horseback rides are the same. The average experience might be a nose-to-tail ride on a busy trail that’s choked with other users and where you’re not allowed to stray from the path. But we don’t believe in average.

Instead, imagine an authentic, western horseback experience on a historic private mountain just outside of Vail and Beaver Creek. Here, you can avoid the crowded trailhead. You can explore forests, aspen groves, meadows, and rolling sage flats. And you’re not stuck in single file.

Most horseback riding operations are limited to US Forest Service trails and regulations. Forest Service permits limit exactly where horses can ride and stop. Taking groups of horseback riders off trail and cross-country is not allowed in many of the high-use areas like the trails around Vail and Beaver Creek.

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we do things differently. Our base of operations is a 6,000-acre private mountain. That’s larger than the Vail ski area! This extraordinary location is home to expansive meadows filled with wildflowers, creeks and ponds, old-growth stands of aspen trees and historic cabins. The mountain here is teeming with wildlife like elk and deer.

Horseback rides on our private mountain are not limited by Forest Service permit regulations. Our riders are free to explore the entire area, follow game trails through the woods and trot through the sunny meadows. On a horseback ride with us, you won’t be riding single-file down a narrow dirt track. You’ll be able to explore the beautiful country that Colorado has to offer.

So next time you think of going on a horseback ride when you’re visiting the Vail area, break away from the pack and the standard nose-to-tail rides. Join us as we set off across a vast and historic private mountain. Experience what a horseback riding experience should be!

To learn more, please visit our Horseback Riding Page. You can book or chat with us online. Or give us a call at 970-476-3700 to begin planning your adventure. We hope to see you on the mountain this summer!