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 rivers, go back and check out our profile on the Shoshone rapids through Glenwood canyon. Also check out the upper Eagle River and Gore Creek, which offer some of Colorado’s best early season 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.

Rafting the Shoshone Rapids Through Glenwood Canyon

Glenwood Canyon Rafting

Every year, we look forward to rafting the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon. Known as the Shoshone Rapids or simply Shoshone, this stretch of river provides a double punch with outstanding whitewater and a jaw-dropping setting.

Shoshone is an easy, 45 minute drive from the Vail and Beaver Creek area. And it’s right next door to our Colorado River Outpost at Dotsero.

We offer both a morning and an afternoon option and this is a great trip for families. The minimum age on this trip is 7 years old, depending on the water levels. However, we can easily accommodate families with kids under 7. We will provide a shuttle for those kids ages 5 and 6 around the first set of rapids. From there, they can join the group for the rest of the adventure.

Rafting Shoshone Rapids

The Shoshone stretch of the Colorado River flows through Glenwood Canyon. The towering red rock cliffs are studded with pine trees, soaring up to 2,000 vertical feet above the river. What’s better, the rapids or the scenery? We’ll leave that up to you.

Glenwood Canyon Rafting

Rafting here begins as early as May, but most of our trips down the Shoshone Rapids take place from July all the way through September. If you have questions about specifics or our upcoming availability, please feel free to contact us. You can also visit our rafting page to learn more.

Rafting the Shoshone Section of the Colorado River

The Upper Eagle River: Colorado’s Ultimate Whitewater Trip

Whitewater Rafting the Upper Eagle

When it comes to whitewater rafting in Colorado, many folks immediately think of the Arkansas River – and for good reasons. The Ark is Colorado’s most well known rafting destination because it offers consistent conditions all summer long.

But what if we told you that some of the best whitewater rafting in Colorado was on the upper Eagle River? Would you be surprised? It’s true. When it’s in season, the upper Eagle is not only some of the best whitewater in the state – it’s among the best in the world.

The only reason the Eagle River can’t compete with the Arkansas in terms of popularity, is because the season is short. But in part, that’s what makes it special. If you can catch the upper Eagle River during its prime time in May and June, you’re in for an unforgettable rafting adventure.

The upper Eagle River takes rafters down a 10-mile roller coaster of nearly continuous rapids. The steep gradient and steady drop makes this river a fire hose experience. Minimum age on this trip is 16 years old and we recommend it for those who are strong swimmers and ready for adventure.

Whitewater Rafting in Colorado on the Eagle River

This world-class stretch of whitewater is located right here locally, between Vail and Beaver Creek. This makes it an easy half-day trip for those staying here in the Vail Valley. You certainly can’t beat having rafting like this, just minutes from Vail’s hotels and restaurants.

Again, the season is short. But if you find yourself in the Vail Valley in May or June, put a rafting trip on the Upper Eagle River at the top of your to-do list. It’ll be one of the most memorable whitewater trips you ever experience.

To learn more about our rafting trips and pricing, please visit the Rafting Page. You can also call us with any questions at 970-476-3700.

Whitewater Rafting the Upper Eagle

A Look at Our Early Season 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. Gore Creek is our local favorite here in the Vail Valley. If you’ve never had the opportunity to raft Gore Creek, you need to make time!

Gore Creek is special for a couple of reasons. 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. The season gets underway as soon as the snowmelt and runoff begins. May and June are the ideal times to experience the incredible whitewater on Gore Creek.

Gore Creek features awesome Class III rafting from East Vail to Lionshead Village. This river epitomizes what we refer to as, “play boating”. 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.

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!

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.

An Overview of Our Rafting Trip Options at Sage

Rafting with Sage Outdoor Adventures

Cabin fever yet? Tell us about it. We’re looking forward to getting out and doing some rafting this summer!

The mountains here in central Colorado have a healthy snowpack, and that means we have a great season of rafting to look forward to. From whitewater adventures to scenic family float trips, we can’t wait for warmer weather and to be out on the water with our guests.

As you think about getting out for summer adventures, here’s an overview of the rafting trip options that we have available here at Sage:

Take a look at our rafting trip options and pricing here. From early summer through September, we have a great variety of trips for any family or group.

Class II Trips

Our rafting trips on the upper Colorado River are perfect for families of all ages. You’ll raft through incredible canyon scenery, experience small rapids and have plenty of time to play and slash in the River. Participants as young as 3 years old can get in on the fun.

Learn more here.

Class III Trips

We have a wide variety of Class III trips available on the Colorado River, Gore Creek, the lower Eagle River and the Arkansas River. These whitewater trips are a ton of fun! Some of our class III trips are available to rafters as young as 6-years-old, while others can be more challenging. Depending on the age of participants, how much time you have, and what you’d like to experience, we can help plan the perfect rafting adventure.

Learn more here.

Class IV+ Trips

For the adventure seekers, we have incredible class IV and V trips available on the upper Eagle River and the Arkasnas River. For rafters ages 16 and up, these are some memorable trips on some of the best whitewater in the country!

Learn more here.

If you have questions or if you’d like to begin planning your summer trip, please give us a call at 970-476-3700. We’d love to help you plan the ultimate summer rafting getaway!