Why You Should Consider Becoming a Raft Guide

Written by Ben Sack, 12.09.2019

You wake up in the morning and head out excited for what your day has in store. Rather than head into an office, you get to spend your day underneath the shimmering Colorado sun as you pour your heart and soul into a job that feels more like play than work. 

This is how thousands of raft guides worldwide get by. While many spend only part of the year as a raft guide between school or seasonal work, others dedicate their lives to living in the moment. Rafting jobs are seasonal in Colorado, but this doesn’t stop our guides from teaching snowboarding or leading whitewater rafting trips in Costa Rica during the off-season.

The Benefits of Being a Colorado Rafting Guide

1. You Get to Spend Your Days in Nature

Our raft guides spend their days paddling through canyons as they admire the majesty of the Arkansas River. For an outdoor lover, nothing beats spending as much time outdoors as possible. Guides get to lead not only day trips but multi-day camping trips along gorgeous stretches of Colorado nature.

2. You Enrich the Lives of Others

Rafting with kids in Colorado with Echo CanyonThe best raft guides love taking groups of people onto the river for a day that they may never forget. Spending each and every day taking people on adventures and sharing laughs with new friends is a wonderful way to live.

3. You Become Part of a Family

Overnight ExperienceAfter five weeks of intense guide training, you’ll have a second family. And if you become a certified raft guide, you then get to spend every day working with other loving, caring, adventurous outdoor enthusiasts. The sense of community that employees of rafting outfitters experience is priceless.

4. Every Day is an Adventure

Adventure Rafting in the Royal GorgePeople who love rafting are those who live for excitement and adventure. No two days on the river are the same. Varying water levels and unpredictable weather makes each day unique and thrilling.

5. You Stay In Great Shape

guides loading raftsNo longer will you feel the need to hit the gym before or after work. As a raft guide, work is your gym. You get to push your body daily, releasing those feel-good endorphins and becoming proud of the physical feats that your body is capable of.

6. You Look Forward to Work

guides joking around at river put-inThanks to all of the reasons outlined above, raft guides are some of the happiest employees out there. You aren’t going to make a fortune, but you get to spend your time doing something that is fun and rewarding. For the rest of your life, you’ll carry rafting memories close to your heart.

How to Become a Raft Guide in Colorado

If the guide life sounds like your dream and you’re 18 or older, you may have what it takes to change your career. Before you apply, you’ll need to be certified in CPR and First Aid. 

From there, be sure to apply well ahead of the rafting season. Rafting in Colorado starts in May and lasts through September. At Raft Echo, we begin to review applications in January and continue to do so through April. 

Every applicant should know that our raft guide training program is physically and mentally demanding. On top of that, you will not be paid for training, and there is a cost to go through our guide certification program. But if you are enthusiastic, personable, physically capable, and committed, the effort is worth the reward. 

Click here to learn more about what it takes to become a whitewater rafting guide in Colorado with Raft Echo.

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About the Author

Ben Sack is the General Manager of Echo Canyon River Expeditions, Colorado's largest white water rafting outfitter. He's also a raft guide, a photographer, and he loves exploring Colorado and beyond with his wife and two boys.
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