River rafting guide

River rafting guide

We are currently accepting guide applications for our 2022 river season. Applications for 2022 will be accepted through mid-February 2022. Your chances of being accepted onto an interview trip are greater if you apply before mid-January.

Thank you for considering Wilderness Aware as your company of choice in your pursuit of becoming a white water rafting guide! Please study our website to see if the types of trips we offer match your interests and physical abilities.

What we look for in guides: We hire quick learning, detail oriented, creative, friendly, and hardworking individuals. Our clientele expects the best raft trip in Colorado and you need to deliver. You should be prepared to be a team player, work to exceed our guests’ expectations, and to help maintain the highest quality rafting equipment made. Also, you must be willing to learn to pack and prepare fresh, multiple course meals. Having twice been named Colorado’s ‘Company of the Year’, as well as being a winner of the BBB’s ‘Excellence in Customer Service’ award, we believe we are running the best river trips in the country. A quality professional guide staff is the key ingredient in providing quality whitewater adventures.

1. Application

The first step in the process of becoming a river guide is your application. Please remember that you are applying for a professional position and complete your application accordingly.

Please note that we require a two season commitment. Please do not fill out an application if you are unwilling to commit for at least two seasons. In addition, before you apply please consider the physical demands of guiding. Do not apply if you are not physically fit or are uncomfortable in turbulent water.

Be aware that guides are required to participate in pre-employment drug testing, and may be selected for random drug-testing throughout the season.

Applicants that have worked as a whitewater guide on class III or higher should read our Information for Experienced Guides page as well as this page.

When to apply: Applications will be accepted between August and February, however we often have filled our interview trips by early February. We begin processing applications in early November.

2. Phone Interview

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Ready to guide exciting white water?

The second step in the process of becoming a river guide is a phone interview. After evaluating your application, we will contact prime candidates and ask that you call to conduct a phone interview. This can take between 5 to 20 minutes. During this phone interview, we will ask you a series of questions based on the answers you gave on your application. The phone interview step is important to our process as we will offer our top candidates limited positions for the next step, the interview river trip.

When phone interviews take place: Between December and February, phone interviews will be scheduled for specific dates and times. You will be responsible for calling us and allocating adequate time for your interview.

3. Interview River Trip:

The third step in the process of becoming a river guide with Wilderness Aware is to commit to joining us on one of our pre-scheduled 5-day interview river trips on the Salt River in Arizona. This is a self-contained, continuous river trip, covering 53 river miles with five nights of primitive camping. The Salt River Canyon is a class III-IV wilderness trip traveling through Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. During the interview trip, experienced guides will demonstrate the camping and rafting techniques we use on our trips. You will then take your turn at camp chores and guiding the boats. This five-day interview gives us a chance to see you in the environment that you will be working and gives you a chance to see if Wilderness Aware is the right company for you

Within this step of our guide hiring process, there are some action steps you must take:

5 Day Interview Trip on Arizonas Salt River

DECIDE ON A TRIP: On the application, you will be asked to select a date for a five-day interview trip. You can select one date for which you are available, or you can select first, second or third (if available) choices if you are available for more than one date. You must be willing to commit to one of our pre-scheduled interview trip dates. We run the interview trips on the Salt River in central Arizona.

Dates for 2021 are as follows:

  • Trip A: Saturday, March 5th – Thursday, March 10th
  • Trip B: Saturday, March 12th – Thursday, March 17th
  • Trip C: Saturday, March 19th – Thursday, March 24th

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SECURE YOUR SPOT: Once you are invited to attend an interview trip and feel you can commit to one of the above trips, you must secure your spot with payment. The cost of the trip is $400 – you can mail a check or money order or call with a credit or debit card. Your spot is not confirmed until we receive payment. Once you are invited and have paid for the trip, there will be a $20 fee for any cancellations if we are able to find a replacement for the spot you are vacating on the interview trip. If we are not able to find a replacement, there will be no refund issued.

GET TO ARIZONA: Transportation to Arizona is your responsibility. Interviewees must fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport or drive to Globe, AZ. Prior to departure we will provide you with a list of the participants for your trip. We encourage you to contact each other and arrange ride sharing if you are considering driving to Arizona.

WHAT WE PROVIDE: We provide all rafting equipment including Coast Guard approved PFDs and helmets. Included are fresh meals from breakfast on the first rafting day (Sunday) through lunch on the last day (Thursday). Lemonade and water are included with every meal.

WHAT TO BRING: For a complete and detailed packing list specific to the guide interview trip, please click here.

GET HOME FROM ARIZONA: We will return you to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport area no later than 6:00 PM on the following Thursday night. We recommend that you plan to fly out of Phoenix no earlier than 7:00 PM on Thursday. You are responsible for you own accommodations Thursday night if you decide to fly out on Friday.

Learn to read the river from our senior guide staff

4. Guide Training Course

The fourth step in the process of becoming a river guide with Wilderness Aware is our guide training course.

After completing your interview trip, we will evaluate your performance and decide if we would like to extend you an invitation to join us in Colorado for our guide training course. You will be notified no later than the first week of April. All candidates that complete this course are GUARANTEED A JOB.

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Our three week guide training course will be held at our office in Buena Vista, CO starting Sunday, May 22rd, 2022.

Our guide training course is free to those who are invited. We will provide you with all the rafts and rafting gear and most meals throughout the course. The value of this training course is approximately $2000.

Receive the high quality river guide training

You are responsible for your personal gear. Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding any of the following items. Also note that you can wait until your arrival in Buena Vista to purchase any of these items, in order to get helpful feedback from managers and guides.

  • Type III or V PFD that fits you properly
  • River knife
  • Whistle
  • Helmet
  • Waterproof overnight bag
  • Flip line (two locking carabineers and 10-12 ft of webbing)
  • Adequate cold water rafting apparel, including but not limited to: wetsuit, splash or dry top, fleece layers and shoe/sandals appropriate for rafting

CPR AND FIRST AID: The State of Colorado requires you to obtain Standard First Aid and CPR Certification before you can begin working at the conclusion of the guide training course. If you want to be a river guide in Colorado we suggest that you enroll in a First Aid and CPR class not if you are not currently certified.

INSURANCE: It is important to note that you are not an employee of Wilderness Aware until you have completed the guide training course. You will not be covered under Wilderness Aware’s workman’s compensation insurance until you are an employee. We encourage you to provide your own health insurance for the duration of the training course and throughout the summer season.

5. Hiring

The final step in the process of becoming a river guide with Wilderness Aware is hiring. Upon completion of our guide training course, you will be a full time employee of Wilderness Aware.

As a guide, you will have many responsibilities that come with position. Please read our job description, pay/benefits, schedule, housing and drug policy tabs located along the top of this page.

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