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 river, go back and check out our profile on the Eagle River, which offers some of Colorado’s best seasonal 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.

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!

Rafting Season Update and the Latest River Conditions

Summer Season Rafting

Rafting season has arrived in Colorado, and we’re looking forward to a great summer of fun on the water. Snowpack statewide topped out at over 130% of normal this year! That’s a ton of snow that’s now creating ideal rafting conditions.

Here in the Vail Valley and the rest of the Colorado River basin, runoff has begun and water levels are on the rise. We’re seeing great conditions on some of our favorite local waters, including Gore Creek and the Eagle River.

Colorado Rafting trip

Over in the Arkansas River basin, high water season is definitely here! Flows on the Ark are big, and getting bigger by the day. With all the snowpack coming down off the mountains, this is going to be a memorable peak season.

While summer temperatures are warming up, and runoff is brining higher water levels, there is still a ton of snow yet to melt up in the high country. Not only did we have a bigger than average snowpack in Colorado this year – but it’s also hanging on longer than normal.

Current snowpack in the Arkansas basin is more than double the average for this time of year. And in the Vail Valley, the Colorado River basin is holding on to more than three times the average amount of snowpack for mid-June.

All that to say, it’s going to be a long, fun season of rafting around here! If you’re planning a trip to Colorado this summer, rafting should be on your itinerary. Rafting conditions don’t get much better than this.

We offer a variety of different trips to suit families or groups of all ages. From big rapids and whitewater trips, to float trips that are appropriate for the entire family, we can help you plan the perfect Colorado mountain adventure.

To learn more about rafting with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please explore our Rafting Page. You can book or chat with us online. Or give us a call at 970-476-3700 to begin planning your trip. We hope to see you on the river this summer!

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Elevate Your Holiday with A Mountain Snowmobile Adventure

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Holidays than with a big mountain snowmobile adventure! Seriously. Elevate your Christmas plans, and join us for a memorable experience on the snow!

Our private mountain is larger than Vail ski area and home to more than 100 miles of trails. From here, you’ll enjoy towering views that overlook the Eagle River canyon. Feel the wind as you gain speed through open meadows, winding through sage and mountain mahogany. Get a real taste of the Colorado backcountry, riding beneath impressive stands of aspen and spruce. The snowmobiling experience here is unforgettable.

We offer two-hour guided tours with three start times each day, plus other trip options to fit your needs. Hotel pickup is free. That leaves plenty of time for your other holiday plans. It makes a perfect group event. Our outstanding guides will make sure that beginners and advanced riders alike will have a great time.

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

Holiday Snowmobile Adventure