River Guide Training in Colorado Colorado River Guide Training Program
Commercial River Guide Certification

Colorado River Guide Training Program

This 2-week intensive river guide training program is sanctioned by the State of Colorado and will certify you to commercially guide on rivers across the state and beyond. We teach out students how to row and paddle on a variety of craft including raft, inflatable kayak, and stand up paddleboard. Our river trainings spend the majority of time in the field and are ran on the Colorado and Blue Rivers

River Guide Certification Course

Become a Commercial River Guide

Colorado River Guide Training

At Colorado Rafting Company we pride ourselves in offering top notch products to not only our clients, but to our staff and trainees alike. With decades of knowledge and experience river running, our instructors pride themselves on the quality of their teaching skills with  personality and humility. Teamwork is our foundation. This will directly translate to you becoming a confident guide with a strong grasp of the basics and will allow you to progress faster with a solid foundation to build on.

Our 2023 Guide School will be led by Operations Manager Justin Ibarra and Head Boatman Tanner Thompson. Justin has been rafting for nearly 20 years all around the world. He has trained 100’s of river guides throughout the years and also leads Swiftwater Rescue Courses. Tanner is a certified guide instructor with almost 10,000 river miles and together they are here to deliver you the best training possible.

Topics Covered Include

  • River Gear discussions and overviews
    • PFD, Knife, Whistle, Throwbag, Helmet, Thermal Protection, ect..
  • River Hydrology
    • River characteristics/classifications, currents, features, ect
  • River Hazards
    • Strainers, sieves, entrapments, undercuts, cold water, ect..
  • Swiftwater Rescue
    • Shore-based and water based rescue techniques, ect..
  • Rigging for River Rescue
    • Anchors and haul systems
  • Components of a Basic River Trip
    • Safety, pre-trip, putin/takeout, on river, organization, responsibilities, ect..
  • Professionalism and leadership skills
  • Critical Incident Protocol and Incident Command System
  • And much more!

Course Prerequisites

River Guide Training

Our river guide school is only open to applicants looking to become commercial raft guides and gain employment as a river guide after completing our guides school. Applicants to our river guides school have to go through a small interview process so we can see if we are a good fit for each other. We accept only 5-6 applicants for our guides school so we can give personalized attention to each trainee.

Participants must be 18 years or older and should be in good health and overall fitness, possess solid swimming ability, and be comfortable swimming in moving current during river drills. Participants should dress appropriately for weather and temperature and expect to be in the water for extended periods of time day after day. This can be both a physically and mentally demanding course.

Required Gear

River Guide Training

Most of the gear throughout the training will be provided by us. This will include;

  • PFD designed for whitewater use
  • Whitewater helmet
  • Wetsuit, splashjacket, and booties
  • All river gear including boats, paddles, oars, ect..
  • Rescue equipment including throwbags, medical, z-drag, ect..

Throughout the training you will be responsible for providing the following;

  • Cold weather layering. We recommend a few sets so you can swap out each day
  • Food throughout the training
  • Lodging (camping may be available)

If interested in our 2023 River Guide Training Program please contact Justin Ibarra at justin@coloradoadventureguides.com for more details and availability. 


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