"Rad" doesn't even come close

Become a raft guide

Spend your summer

On the river

There’s nothing quite like summer days on the river. We may be a little biased—but it’s kind of the dream. And while you’ll have the chance to raft the Arkansas 100 times just in training, you’ll be guiding visitors who may be experiencing Colorado’s white water for the first time. It’s a total rush! Not to mention:

Friendships that last a lifetime

Our staff becomes a tight-knit group of friends, not just co-workers

Just a summer gig

So you don't have to commit to a career, just a few months of fun and sun

Perks only Colorado can offer

Go rafting on your day off and get discounts for friends and family

Be the reason for someone's permagrin

There's nothing better than being part of the highlight of a family's vacation

Walk a mile in our watershoes

We recruit outstanding individuals and train them to become outstanding raft guides. Here at Echo Canyon, we have developed the most intensive training program for white water rafting in the state of Colorado. Our training program is not for the faint of heart—to put it mildly. But if you’re up for the challenge, it may just be the most rewarding summer job you’ll ever have!

Do you have what it takes?

Whitewater rafting guides are: adventurous fun-loving team players friendly hard-working approachable light-hearted

Back to school

Rafting guide pre-req's

You cannot pass go or collect $200 until you get your in-person Basic First Aid and Adult & Child CPR Certifications. Online courses are not accepted. We expect you to arrive at your first day of training with these certifications already under your belt. Can’t find a course in your area? Ask about course offerings Echo may be hosting.

Basic First Aid Certification

Adult & Child CPR Certification

Wilderness First Responder Course

Can you really be too prepared? We typically host a Wilderness First Responder Course at Echo Canyon in the days leading up to training. Let us know if you’re interested during the phone interview.

Guide training

Do or do not. There is no try. –Yoda

100 river hours for certification

4-5 weeks of hands-on training

Written and practical tests

Raft guide training is comprehensive—to say the least. The state of Colorado requires a minimum of 50 on-river training hours to guide. At Echo Canyon, you’ll spend about 100 hours on the river before we’ll certify you. Our training program lasts 4-5 weeks, and includes camping during training, all transportation from Echo to and from the river, use of the very best rafts and boating equipment, and trainers who are dedicated, long-term Echo Canyon staff members.

 Our team is committed to long days and miles of river time to provide you with a unique learning environment. 

Classroom clinics will cover topics like:

Don't mind your P's and Q's

Training FAQs

We don’t take much seriously—except for safety. That’s why our training program is the most intensive raft guide training program in the state of Colorado. Our guides should feel prepared and confident, so drop us a question if we didn’t cover something here.

Our training is very physically and mentally demanding. You should plan on investing much of your time and most of your energy into this whitewater jobs training program. Please be aware that your level of physical fitness may affect your success in training, so the more prepared you are the better off you will be. If you have any question about your level of fitness, please have an honest conversation with us prior to accepting a position. The goal is to maintain safety for you and our guests.

The initial 10 days of training will include a multi-day trip of at least 3 days in length, as well as swiftwater rescue training and plenty of on-river time.

Our goal is to foster a positive work and living environment with a team of conscientious and hard-working individuals. To achieve this, understand that not everyone invited to training will be the right fit and will not move on to become a raft guide.

If necessary, we will cut those trainees with negative attitudes, poor work ethic, or who are seriously struggling with the physical demands of guide training. 

Therefore, we strongly suggest you have your own health insurance so you are covered for the duration of training. Since you will not be paid to train with us, all funds necessary for living expenses should also be secured in advance of training.

If you receive an invitation we will need your non-refundable $300 training payment within 14 days to secure your spot. On or around day 10 we will cut those trainees with negative attitudes, poor work ethic, or who are struggling severely with the physical demands of guide training. Following the cut of trainees, an additional $200 will be due to continue the remainder of training.

You should also be prepared to purchase some personal rafting gear. The cost of these materials can range from $400 to $450, depending on what you choose to buy. More information regarding costs and detailed equipment lists will be made available to you should you be invited to training.

While you are training for our white water rafting jobs, you are not considered an employee and are not eligible for workers compensation. Therefore, we strongly suggest you have your own health insurance so you are covered for the duration of training.

Rafting guide trainees are selected by online applications, resumes, references and phone or personal interviews. After interviews and reference checks, you may be offered a spot in our program.

All prospective guides need to remember that an invitation to join the whitewater raft guide job training program does not necessarily guarantee employment. The hiring of trainees from the training class will be based on training performance and growth, ability to perform essential job skills, work ethic, and ability to work in a team setting.

Due to the time and monetary investment we are both putting into training we will require you to work at Echo Canyon for at least two seasons if you are hired. Please do not apply if you only plan to be a rafting guide for one season.

The 2021 white water rafting jobs guide training program begins at our Echo Canyon office. We expect you to arrive with Basic First Aid and Adult and Child CPR certifications.

Most years we host a more intensive advanced wilderness first aid class at our office in the days preceding the first day of training. Ask us about this during your phone interview if you are interested.

You will be provided with a life jacket for the duration of training, as well as a used wetsuit for use during the program. You will be responsible for bringing your own helmet and any additional clothing/ gear necessary to keep you comfortable on the river, as well as camping gear if you choose to camp at our training sites. Those applicants accepted into the program will have several pro-purchase programs available to them for river gear and apparel.

We provide all necessary boating equipment including rafts, paddles, oars, frames as well as all transportation to and from the current training locations.

Free camping at our staff camping area, which in gives you access to our staff bathrooms with flush toilets and showers.

Once training is complete guides are able to remain camping with us for a flat rate of $400 for the summer.

A generous amount of river time, 35 hours or more a week of actual time on the river, including both oar and paddle boat training.

When you have completed your white water rafting jobs training you will have an abundance of documented on-water time before your certification run.

Upon completing your certification run a conference will take place between you and your trainers.

At this time we will discuss the strength of your guiding skills, growth and overall performance, as well as possibly offering you a position as a full time raft guide.

We love dogs, too, but you have to leave your pet at home for the summer. Dogs and other pets are not allowed in the staff camping area. We live in a hot desert environment and keeping a pet in a tent, vehicle, or camper is not kind to your animal friend.

Can "river life" pay the bills?

Expenses and pay

Expenses

$300

to secure your spot

$20

training manual and course materials

$200

to complete your training

$450

purchase of personal rafting gear

Pay

$45

Per half-day trip during your first season.

$90

Per full-day trip during your first season. Lunch is provided.

$12.56 per hour

Additional hourly pay opportunities available in addition to trip pay.

$4,000

First-year white water guides can make well over $4000 or more in wages. This amount is based on an average student commitment. Guides working through Labor Day weekend can make over $5000.

$1,500+

Expect an additional $1500 or more in gratuities for first-year guides who work the full season.

Age before beauty

Senior guides can make $15,000 or more per season in wages alone, not to mention gratuities. Stick with it—with more experience comes more cash.

The application process

Are you interested in applying for white water rafting guide jobs? It’s pretty painless – here are the steps:

Email us a current photo of yourself

Send your best “Blue Steel” look to Jessica at [email protected]

We’ll reach out to schedule a short telephone interview

We’ll let you know if you’ve got a spot in our whitewater jobs training program

Submit your first payment for training

This is a non-refundable $300 payment due within 14 days to secure your spot.

Arrive at training in May, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed

We’ll see you on the river!

Application FAQs

It takes a special kind of person to be a whitewater rafting guide. Not the eat paste kind of special—but a person who takes working hard just as seriously as they take playing hard. 

College students, Grad students, individuals in-between college and a real job, average ordinary individuals who started out as a guest and fell in love with white water rafting – the lifestyle of being a raft guide. Read all of their stories on our staff bio page.

Aside from submitting your online application we do request you email us a recent photo of yourself participating in a hobby, sport or outdoor activity you love. Why do we ask this? We like to establish a personal connection with our staff members, and there’s no better time to start getting to know you than when we initially ‘meet’ you with your application submission. We can put a face to a name. This is the same reason we encourage the short interview to take place so we can meet each other prior to training. We can’t require you to submit a photo, but we appreciate it when we receive them. Feel free to send us a current resume as well – it can only help you. Photos and resumes should be directed to [email protected]

Staff is able to live on the company’s designated property for a flat $350 a season; payment is due the third week of July. Pets are not allowed on company property or in the staff camping area.

While you are training for our white water rafting jobs, you are not considered an employee and are not eligible for workers compensation. Therefore, we strongly suggest you have your own health insurance so you are covered for the duration of training. Since you will not be paid to train with us, all funds necessary for living expenses should also be secured in advance of training.

If you receive an invitation we will need your non-refundable $300 training payment within 14 days to secure your spot. On or around day 10 we will cut those trainees with negative attitudes, poor work ethic, or who are struggling severely with the physical demands of guide training. Following the cut of trainees, an additional $200 will be due to continue the remainder of training.

You should also be prepared to purchase some personal rafting gear. The cost of these materials can range from $400 to $450, depending on what you choose to buy. More information regarding costs and detailed equipment lists will be made available to you should you be invited to training.

The state of Colorado requires river guides must be at least 18 years of age and be certified in Basic First Aid and CPR for white water rafting guide jobs applicants.

We are currently accepting applications for white water rafting guide jobs – rafting guide trainees (no experience necessary) and experienced guides.

Due to the conservative nature of our clientele, as well as the fact that we are a family-oriented business, we require that you observe the following rules: Drugs and underage drinking will not be tolerated. Alcohol is not to be consumed on company time or prior to your performing duties for the company. There is no smoking or chewing allowed on company property or while working an Echo Canyon trip.

All new guides are required to pass a drug screen prior to employment.

Body piercing needs to be confined to the ears on both men and women and gauges must be no larger than that necessary for a standard earring. Long hair should be kept in a ponytail while at work. No dreadlocks, please.

Work with us

Training for summer 2022 begins on May 18th.

We are currently accepting applications for white water rafting guides – both rafting guide trainees (no experience necessary) and experienced guides.