Colorado Raft Guide School | Durango, CO

Guide School, Basic and Advanced

Colorado Guide School – $295.00  

Guide School – Join us May 6th – 12th, 2019 or May 29th – June 4th, 2019 for an adventurous and unforgettable summer working as a professional raft guide. Leave behind the daily grind of working inside and spend your time out on the river! It’s a great way to make quick cash (the tips are awesome), meet new people, and learn valuable leadership skills.


As part of of our team you will enjoy such perks as a flexible schedule, access to pro deals on a vast array of outdoor gear, company raft trips on a few rivers in the area, and use of company gear to help you enjoy your down time.


The course is 50 hours in length and conducted on the Class III Lower Animas River.  Please remember that if you are seeking employment as a raft guide, you need to show up every day with your game face on as guide school is one continuously long interview and assessment.  All potential raft guides are responsible for completing a CPR/First Aid class on their own, preferably prior to guide school, but definitely before working as a guide.


During training you will be provided with a personal flotation device (PFD), helmet, wetsuit, splash gear, and all necessary river gear.  You are responsible for all meals (although we usually have a cook-out for lunch twice during the week).    You will need to bring a hat, sunscreen, your own water bottle, and a bathing suit to go under the wetsuit.  Additional warm layers of clothing are recommended as we will be in cold water.  Our day begins at 8 am and we usually finish between 5-6 pm.


Please call us at 970-259-8313 if you have additional questions or send us an email at

You will learn

  • How to properly use and care for all river equipment
  • Rigging rafts
  • Guiding paddle and oar rafts
  • Maneuvering rafts and kayaks
  • River features and hazards
  • Scouting and running rapids
  • Orientation and safety topics for clients
  • History of the Durango area
  • Trip Organization and Trip leader responsibilities
  • Managing clients in rafts and kayaks
  • River rescue and emergency procedures
  • Leave no trace techniques

"I took my very apprehensive mother in law and my wife and our 3 kids down the river with Zach. His knowledge of the area, including bird calls and river jokes, added immensely to our experience. The river was beautiful, the staff was friendly, and my family had an awesome experience. The owner and the office staff were equally outstanding and hospitable. I would highly recommend this company over the other options in the area!! Thank you Southwest Whitewater."

Craig J. (Trip Advisor)

"The guides are the friendliest on the river. The are conveniently located in town and they include all the gear that you need to have a great time. I would go with them again."

Walter G. (Yelp)

"Our family of 4 decided to try rafting for the first time, so we went on the 2 hour afternoon rafting trip. Rory, the owner, was very patient in explaining everything and our guide, Ti was great. The river was pretty calm for this time of year but we did experience some Class 2 and 3 rapids along the way. They also offer other packages and solo kayaking. We enjoyed this memorable awesome experience, highly recommend!"

Traveler888888888 (Trip Advisor)

"Great company! We rented 5 kayaks for the day. The staff was extremely helpful with advice and maps. It was very affordable and included helmets and PFDs. One of our group decided not to do it and even though we had the Kayak for the day they credited it back and I didn't even ask. I would definitely recommend this company to anyone looking for guided trips or to those who want to rent and do their own thing."

Sean O. (Yelp)

"We did a raft trip on the lower Animas with Emily and had a blast. She made the trip super fun and she had tons of knowledge about the area. She could maneuver the boat to increase or decrease the splash factor, this was great when my wife started to get cold. I would use this company the next time I want to make a rafting trip."

wlguasch (Trip Advisor)