Colorado Snow Update & Whitewater Rafting Forecast

Summer Season Rafting

Well, it has been an awesome winter season here in the Vail Valley and it seems nothing can stop all these smiles! Sage owner Darryl Bangert said it best, “Through our second year amid the pandemic, we’ve witnessed a big demand to get outside and reconnect with nature,” he said. “Seeing our guests come alive during these trips is very rewarding for our staff.”

An outdoor snowmobile adventure is the ultimate socially distanced activity and we have continued to keep excellent safety protocols in place. Snowmobiling throughout this season has been a ton of fun. Recent storms have led to great snow conditions. And now, we’re excited that spring is around the corner. Before we know it, we will be making the transition from snowmobiling to rafting season! Who’s ready for a Colorado whitewater rafting trip?

Snowmobile Tour in Vail, Colorado

Colorado’s Whitewater Rafting Season

As we look forward to spring and the summer Colorado river rafting season, we can’t help but get excited. This winter was unique, as every year is. Winter seemed to arrive late, with a relatively dry start to the winter sports season. But as is so often the case, when the snow did arrive, it came with a vengeance.

When is Whitewater Rafting Season in Colorado? When the Snowmelt Comes!

Since the holidays, snowpack across the state has hovered at or above median levels for much of the winter. Lots of snow on the mountains means great conditions ahead for Colorado river raft trips! Take a look at the expected conditions for our awesome Colorado river rafting 1-day and half-day trips, and prepare for an awesome Colorado white water rafting season.

Gore Creek and Eagle River Rafting Conditions

Right here in the Colorado River basin, the current snowpack sits at about 95% of average levels with more spring storms in the forecast. With a high snowpack in the high country, we can expect good early season rafting on Gore Creek and the Eagle River, which are some of Colorado’s best early summer trips.

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, don’t wait – come experience it this year! They’re some of the best places to consider when looking at where to whitewater raft in Colorado.

Colorado White Water Rafting Trip in March

Arkansas River Rafting Conditions

Meanwhile, over in the Arkansas River basin, we have a solid snowpack, which currently sits at about 94% of median. 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 River 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, particularly with Browns Canyon rafting trips.

It’s shaping up to be a great season for whitewater rafting in Colorado! 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.

Update on Snow Conditions in the Vail Valley

Snow Conditions in the Vail Valley

A warm, dry start to the winter here in Colorado meant that we were offering ATV tours into early December. But the snow has begun falling hard and we are now seeing outstanding snow conditions in the Vail Valley!

We’ve received more than two feet of snow over the past several days and more snow is on the way. After a balmy start to the season, the La Niña effect is finally in full force. The forecast looks like it will bring continuing snowfall for at least the next week.

Just two weeks ago, snowpack here in the Colorado River basin was well below average. Now as of December 27, the snowpack has quickly caught up and we’re currently at 101% of normal.

Vail Valley Snow Conditions

With snow falling and more on the way, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a backcountry snowmobiling experience in the Colorado high country! We operate on a 6,000-acre private mountain (that’s larger than Vail ski area!) where our guests are the only people on the mountain. You’ll enjoy more than 100 miles of private Colorado snowmobile trails, and our fleet of grooming equipment keeps them in prime condition. And there are plenty of un-groomed meadows for that powder-in-your-face experience!

Our guided snowmobile trips are perfect for groups and families. We have the best guides in the business. No matter your group’s age or experience, they will make sure you have a safe and wonderful adventure, exploring this winter wonderland.

Want to know more about what you’ll experience when backcountry snowmobiling in Colorado with Sage? Check out our recent blog post for an overview of these trips. Not sure what to bring or what to wear when snowmobiling? No problem – see our previous blog post on that subject. And of course, please feel free to contact us or call with any questions.

A Look at Our Early Season Rafting Favorite: Gore Creek

Rafting Gore Creek in Vail

As we look forward to summer rafting, we’d like to introduce you to one of our favorite early season trips: Gore Creek, our local favorite here in the Vail Valley. If you’ve never had the opportunity to raft Gore Creek, you need to make time – this is some of the best whitewater rafting in Colorado!

Why Gore Creek Is Our Favorite

Gore Creek is special for a couple of reasons when it comes to whitewater rafting in Colorado. First, it flows right through the heart of Vail Village, and the scenery is spectacular. Second, the rafting season on Gore Creek is relatively short. You have to catch it during its brief window each year.

Gore Creek is fed only on snowmelt, for classic whitewater rapids Colorado is known for. The season gets underway as soon as the snowmelt and runoff begin. May and June are the ideal times to experience those incredible Colorado whitewater rapids on Gore Creek.

Gore Creek features awesome Class III rafting from East Vail to Lionshead Village. Class III is fast and fun but still perfect for beginner white water rafting in Colorado. This river epitomizes what we refer to as, “playboating”. In addition to the fun rapids, this stretch features holes and waves along the way, including the well-known International Wave in Vail Village. These areas provide opportunities to “surf” the raft and swing in and out of rapids. It would be difficult to have more fun in a raft than you’ll have right here in the heart of Vail.

The scenery all the way through the upper Vail Valley along Gore Creek is what really makes this trip memorable. The towering cliffs, waterfalls, aspens, and wildlife along this stretch are incredible.

Getting To & From Gore Creek

Finally, one of the nice things about rafting Gore Creek is the quick transfer times. If you’re staying in Vail, you’re already on the river and just minutes from the put-in. At the takeout in Lionshead, you can easily walk right back into town. If you’re staying in Beaver Creek, you can expect a quick, 15-minute drive to and from the river.

With such easy access and world-class rafting right here in Vail, it’s no wonder we love this short but sweet season on Gore Creek!

Expert to Beginner Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

We specialize in Colorado river rafting and know where to whitewater raft in Colorado – and how to get you on the water, regardless of your skill level or experience. Whitewater rafting starts as early as April or May (right now!) and runs through the warmer months into early fall. If you’re in Colorado and Vail is your summer destination, make sure to get in on a rafting trip with us during your visit.

To learn more about our whitewater rafting adventures, please check out the Rafting Page .

Start planning your trip now! You can call us at 970-476-3700 or you can contact us online.

How to Prepare for Your Whitewater Rafting Adventure

The best time to raft in Colorado is after the snow has melted, and this year’s runoff is shaping up to be a memorable one! There’s a ton of snow in the high country and recent storms have continued adding to our snowpack. Statewide throughout Colorado, the snowpack is currently over 140% of normal. Here in the Colorado River basin, the snowpack is currently 138% of normal. And over in the Arkansas River basin, it’s 148% of normal! It’s going to be a long, high water season on our rivers.

What to Bring on a Whitewater Rafting Trip

As you prepare for your summer rafting adventure, there are a few things to think about. The first is what to bring. The list is pretty simple but you’ll want to make sure you have a few key items. Here’s the rundown.

On every rafting trip, we provide a helmet, a wetsuit on cool days, a splash jacket, a PFD, and wetsuit booties.

We also recommend that you wear and bring sunscreen and chapstick. If you plan to wear your sunglasses on the raft, don’t forget Croakies or Chums to keep them in place! Finally, bring cash to tip your guide (18% is normal).

What to Wear Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

You should wear your swimsuit underneath your street clothes for the ride to the river. On hot, sunny days when we’re not wearing wet suits and splash jackets, you might want to wear a cover shirt for sun protection.

Check out this quick video, as Cole and Kyle explain what to bring and why:

Questions to Ask your Rafting Guide

With your bags packed, you are all set for your adventure whitewater rafting in Colorado. It’s going to be an epic season here in Colorado, and we hope to see many of you on the river. As you prepare for the trip, how about some questions you might want to ask your guide? Here are a few things you might want to ask while you’re on the river:

  • How does this water compare to other times of the year?
  • What animals may we see on the water today?
  • What’s your favorite part of being a rafting guide?
  • What do you do during the off-season?
  • What other stretches of the river do you run?
  • Where is the best swimming hole?
  • Ask about the history of the area.
  • Ask for any crazy river guiding stories they have!

If you’re wondering when is white water rafting season in Colorado, it’s when the snow melts. More specifically, it’s generally from May through September, but can stretch from April to October.

Expert to Beginner Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

If you’d like more information on rafting with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please be sure to check out our Rafting Page. And explore the rest of our website to see all the other fun activities we offer, including horseback riding, ATV tours, and fly fishing!

For details, availability and booking call us at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

Colorado Snowpack Update from the Vail Valley

Snowpack here in the Vail Valley and along the Colorado River watershed has been excellent so far this season! After a dry winter last year, we are happy to experience great early season conditions into the New Year.

Current Snowmobiling Conditions

Snowmobile guests are having a blast here at our Mountain Base. Snowpack in the Colorado River basin is currently over 100% of normal, and better than 150% compared to last year. We’ve enjoyed great snowmobile conditions so far this season, and storms keep bringing new snow.

Vail Snowpack Update

Our Custom-Designed Snow Trails

Our mountain base of operations is home to 2,500 feet of vertical. We have more than 100 miles of trails on a mountain larger than Vail ski area. These trails were custom-designed by the team at Sage, specifically for our guests. And with the best grooming equipment in the business, trails are always in prime condition.

Our snowmobile trails wind through a variety of expansive Colorado backcountry habitats. Our guests enjoy sweeping views of the Vail Valley and the Eagle River Canyon. It’s the perfect place to escape from the crowded ski slopes on a real mountain adventure – especially with snowpack like this!

Snow-packed trails in Vail, Colorado

Sage’s Modern Snowmobiles

With great snow conditions and a fleet of new Ski-Doo snowmobiles, we’re ready for you! By the way, in case you haven’t been on a snowmobile recently, these are not your grandfather’s smelly, noisy machines. New 4-stroke snowmobiles are extremely quiet and fuel-efficient. It is a great way to experience the Colorado backcountry. See our recent blog post about modern snowmobile technology to learn more.

Snowmobiling in Vail has never been better! To join us on a snowmobile adventure this winter, please give us a call at 970-476-3700. Or, explore the rest of our website to learn more about what we offer.