Guide Training

River Guide Training in Wenatchee, Leavenworth & Cashmere, WA
Thank you for your interest in our class for whitewater river guide training in Leavenworth and Cashmere, WA .  Our annual river guide school is geared toward totally immersing our students in the world of whitewater rivers, river safety, and commercially river rafting, with an emphasis on producing commercial river guides. We know you may have many questions, so we hope to answer many of these questions here on our river guide training in Wenatchee, WA page. Should you have questions not covered below, feel free to contact our office at or give us a call at 206.276.8774.
Our guide training class takes part in April and May each season.  You can expect to spend 6 weekends with us on 3, possibly 4 rivers.  Our goal is to have our students experience, and learn from a multitude of different river situations and conditions, and we achieve this by running and training on many rivers in our class.  Each day we ask that you meet us at the river we will be training on that day.
Our instructors in our river guide training class are hand picked professionals that are leaders in the industry of whitewater.  Many have been whitewater rafting for over 20 years, some are certified rescue instructors, some trauma doctors, EMT’s, some teachers.  In addition, our river guide school teachers have a wide range of experience rafting all over the world.
As with any type of education that will help develop job skills, there is a cost associated with becoming a whitewater raft guide through a certified guide training program.  The base price of our 6 weekend training class is $495.00.  We do offer discounts and scholarships, please inquire with us if interested.  Included in this price is  In addition, each student is issued a wetsuit, booties and a PFD for the duration of class.

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Our class is structured is to maximize your ability to learn in an on-the-river environment.  The class syllabus that we use for class is based on the American Canoe Association’s river guide training outline, and is adapted for the Northwest.  Each day we have an established skill set we teach onto, while building on what has been taught prior in class.  Each day is spent on the river: Saturdays are our long days, while Sundays are a bit shorter.  You should expect cold-water conditions, and be ready for a wet environment since much of the time and training is spent swimming in the river.  In addition, please remember that this class can be very physical, and we do ask that you are in good physical shape and ready for a long day on the river.


Most every student that completes our river guide training works for us as a guide at the completions of class.  Some work full-time, some weekends, some once a month.  We take a “creative scheduling” approach to scheduling our guides to work.  We realise that not all can make this a full-time endeavour, and not all can work every weekend, so we strive to schedule our guides to work on the river when their schedules allow.  1st year guides can expect to make $60 to $80 per trip plus tips.  In addition, we offer the ability to work as a river guide all over the world, as being a guide is a very portable skill once learned.  We have had past graduates of our program go on to guide in Chile, New Zealand, Alaska, Idaho, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and Equador, just to name a few.


A few of the many things you can expect to learn in our river guide training class include:

  • River Safety
  • "Reading" rivers
  • River communication
  • Boat rigging
  • Flipping rafts
  • Self rescue
  • Swimming rapids
  • Basic river guiding techniques
  • "Unwrapping" boats

In addition to the many skills we teach in class, you will learn to direct a team of paddlers, public speaking skills, team-building skills, problem-solving skills and rescue/safety skills that can be carried over to various emergency situations.

Washington State law requires that every commercial guide in the state complete a 50 hour on-river training class; our class involves over 100 hours of training.

Our whitewater river guiding class can, and has changed the lives of people and, in addition, has led to lifelong friendships both on and off the river.  


Above and beyond the education, training, and knowledge you gain from our river guide training class, there are several other perks of taking the class.  These include:

  • Access to professionals-only discounts on all kinds of outdoor gear and equipment
  • Ability to take additional river safety, rescue, and outdoor classes
  • Free rafting with us for the whole year, even iif you are not working
  • Access to many different river crafts, more than just rafts, to enhance your river experience
  • Access to guide-only trips on rivers and adventures
  • Great discounts for friends and family on rating adventures

Everyone here at River Recreation knows that learning to guide is a lifelong process– our guides and our staff are committed to helping you in all your whitewater learning endeavors.

We here at River Recreation consider ourselves a family-based organization.  We are hands-on, work hard, play hard, and enjoy all the wonders that Washington state has to offer.  In addition to whitewater many of our family members enjoy hiking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, camping, surfing, fishing, and hunting.

Please feel free to reach out to us anytime with additional questions you may have.