Sage Outdoor Adventures opens Canyons restaurant in Dotsero, open to both rental customers and local river runners
Sage Outdoor Adventures, a company offering commercial rafting, side-by-side tours, horseback riding and a variety of fly-fishing options, is expanding its Colorado River headquarters in Dotsero by adding a new restaurant, Canyons.
“We really want to connect with the locals on a big level,” said co-owner Cole Bangert. “That’s one of the reasons we built out this facility. We love rafting, and we know there’s a huge community here in the valley that’s the same way, and we want to hang out with those people.”
Conveniently located with access to the Colorado River and stretches of Shoshone in Glenwood Canyon, Sage’s Dotsero operation offers rentals on rafts, duckees, stand-up paddleboards and tubes. A typical day’s adventure will include a shuttle up the river with a rental followed by a leisurely float back to the Canyons restaurant and Sage headquarters.
The Canyons menu features pizza, salads, sandwiches and more pub-style food. Menu items are named after the restaurants namesake, canyons.
“We’re canyon fanatics,” Bangert said, “usually when there’s water in the bottom of it and we’re floating down it, or if we’re repelling down a slot canyon in the desert.”
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The kids menu is called the Little Wild Horse Canyon, a tribute to time spent exploring Utah.
“Everybody’s welcome,” Bangert said of the new Canyons restaurant, welcoming both customers of Sage and locals taking to the river near Dotsero.
Sage Outdoor Adventures also offers excursions out of a ranch near Castle Peak in Wolcott, north of Interstate 70. Bangert said the company already operates with sanitation in mind as a rental company but will be taking additional steps to ensure safety. The only operation that will be on hold due to coronavirus is its shotgun shooting out of Castle Peak, due to the unavoidable close contact between the instructors and students.
“We want to make sure if a family with kids shows up at any one of our facilities and went on a trip with us that they would leave saying, ‘They took such good care of us. They were really concerned with our health and our safety,” Bangert said. “In all reality, if you can’t do that as a business all of the time, especially during the coronavirus landscape, you’re just not going to have repeat customers.”
Sage Outdoor Adventures will be complying with the county’s health department codes, however going above and beyond.
“We want to be responsible business owners, as should everybody,” Bangert said.
A place to ‘re-create’
Thanks to a recent permit approval from the Bureau of Land Management, Sage Outdoor Adventures will be offering complimentary shuttles out of Dotsero for people who rent equipment — whether it’s 4, 6, 10 or 14 miles upriver.
“With river running, you always have to take two cars or pay someone to shuttle your car down,” co-owner Darryl Bangert said. “We’ve eliminated that.”
Darryl, one of the first river guides in Vail, has been in the valley for 44 years.
“It’s been a while,” he said.
He remembers driving along the Colorado River Road with former County Commissioner Jon Stavney years ago, along with the owner of Rancho Del Rio, on a mission to identify the best parcels for river access for the county to pursue with open space funds. Darryl credits Stavney for leading the charge and securing most of the parcels to be managed by BLM, adding that “there still needs to be a new spot in EagleVail.”
Both Darryl and Cole have been serving on a task force made up of members of the local outdoor recreation industry, working on where outdoor recreation fits into the COVID-19 landscape.
“We feel like recreation in the mountains in a community like Vail is the avenue where people in a country like this can go to re-create — not recreate, re-create — their world view so that they have a better chance at their own peacefulness, self-actualization,” Darryl said, citing Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. “I think a community like Vail and Eagle County, we have to realize that’s what our purpose and goal is in the overall system of America.”
The local business owners respect people’s decisions to stay home, but they want to help people get back out safely and connect with nature, especially as health officials are shifting toward an increase in behavioral health complications from the coronavirus.
“Nature is just nature. You are only going to be catching a glimpse of the conditions that day,” Darryl said, hinting at the fact there are no bad days on the river, or the mountain. “It’s all just nature, and it’s all unbelievably awesome.”
For more information about Canyons or to book an excursion with Sage Outdoor Adventures, visit 970-476-3700 or visit http://www.sageoutdooradventures.com.