Share our passion for adventure & love of rivers

Rafting guide jobs in Oregon and Washington are a great way to live and work in the outdoors while building lifelong friendships.

Our guide training is designed primarily for those who wish to seek employment as a professional river guide with River Drifters, however, we are confident that our training will enable you to positively contribute to the river community at large.  Our guideschool will cover training in guiding a paddle raft, whitewater safety & multi day river trip basics. We then conclude our guideschool with a swiftwater rescue coarse and a wilderness first aid coarse all of which are foundations for becoming a professional river guide.

Our company’s growth over 45+ years has come about because of our team’s hard work and relentless striving to live our core values. We are a work in progress and find the hard work it takes to build an effective and trusted team extremely rewarding. We believe we are better as a team than we are as individuals.

Likewise, we invest extensive time, energy, and ongoing resources into our guides and their training so that we can share our passion for adventure and love of rivers with as many people as possible here in the amazing Pacific Northwest!  Our guide school is lengthy and longer than nearly any other that you will find.  Our goal is to have students ready to guide very quickly out of the program.  We want our guides to have the confidence, skill and experience right out of the gate to take guests down the river in a professional manner.

Please read through all of the information carefully before applying.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions regarding guiding on any of our rivers. Below you will find information for brand new guides looking to begin their guiding career.

River Drifters Outpost in Maupin, Oregon

Deschutes River, Oregon

May 10-18, 2024

$995 per person


  • You meet our minimum age requirement: 18
  • You are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit to handle the responsibilities and duties of participating in professional river guide training.
  • You have a strong work ethic, are service-oriented, and our core values resonate with you.
  • You are hungry to learn from senior guides who enjoy teaching and sharing the river experience with enthusiastic learners.
  • You have a growth mindset and the notion of life-long learning and teaching what you learn is not foreign to you.
  • You work well under pressure and long hours and are not subject to burnout and moodiness.
  • You have a positive, can-do attitude when it comes to navigating interpersonal and river challenges (much like navigating river obstacles) because problem-solving is required.
  • You are detail-oriented, creative, friendly, and most importantly, hungry to contribute to a team so that we deliver experiences that exceed guest expectations.
  • You are a professional, reliable team player who models cooperation and care for all life.
  • You are a solution generator who naturally troubleshoots, thinks preventatively, and runs toward problems when they occur (not away from them).
  • You value quality rafting gear, quality equipment and vehicles, quality facilities, and quality of people and staff you work with.

Our main objective is to teach you the skills, techniques, and practices to safely guide a paddle raft.

You’ll have an immersive experience with a curriculum taught by our professional senior river guides who are trained in swiftwater rescue and also have extensive backgrounds in leading whitewater rafting trips here in the PNW.

  • River terminology, river etiquette, and river communication.
  • Whitewater rescue techniques with emphasis on safety awareness for sound decision making on the river, on land, and in common river guiding scenarios.
  • How to organize/rig a boat and safely secure it at camp with LNT ethics and mindset.
  • Water hydraulics (river reading to include ferrying, catching eddies, and the basics of how to read water).
  • Rope techniques, river safety, and critical thinking for risk management.
  • Equipment and gear care, sanitization, and maintenance required to maintain quality.
  • How to pack, prepare, present, and professionally (4P’s) deliver hearty meals on the river.

You will take away the knowledge, skills, and confidence to guide a river trip in a professional manner that delivers positive and oftentimes transformative experiences for guests.

Keep in mind that your participation, attitude and performance in our guide training school could open up not just summer employment opportunities but also year around leadership opportunities.

  • Experiential learning with live skills demonstration, instruction, and training directed by our diverse senior guides.
  • Shuttles from Maupin outpost to/from the river once you arrive in Maupin, Oregon.
  • Hearty Meals: Lunches during training.
  • River gear (raft, paddle, ropes, etc.), guide school training equipment and materials.
  • Guide gear (farmer john style wetsuit, helmet, booties, splash tops, life jacket).

*If there is sufficient timing for an overnight trip, meals will be served.  An overnight trip allows us to cover kitchen packing, set-up, organization, and meal management (4Ps: packing, preparation, presentation, and professionalism).

Be prepared for shifting Pacific Northwest weather and ready to be in the river rain or shine. Be sure to check the weather forecast.

If you don’t have your own river gear, we can provide farmer john style wetsuit, helmet, booties, splash tops, and PFD.


  • Runs half-day, full-day, multi-day river trips on all River Drifters WA and OR Rivers.
  • Performs occasional safety boat responsibilities.
  • Pack all trip food.
  • Cleans guide area, refrigerators, bathrooms, and kitchen.
  • Packs equipment
  • Unpacks, cleans, and puts away all trip gear after the trip.
  • Stacks and ties down boats.
  • Washes and hangs out trip rental gear and lifejackets.
  • Puts away all dry gear each morning (i.e., wetsuits, booties, splash tops, PFD, etc.).
  • Expects to be given and completes assigned tasks while waiting for guests to arrive for trips.
  • Fits lifejackets, wetsuits, and other rental gear for guests.
  • Informs management of food and equipment resupply needs.
  • Repairs or replaces equipment damaged or lost due to gross negligence that was specific guide’s responsibility.
  • Completes and turns in incident and accident reports when necessary immediately following the incident or accident.
  • Sees that post trip meetings address any issues from the day.
  • Completes all camp chores on multi-day trips.
  • Cooks meals, does dishes, leads hikes, rigs boats, etc.
  • Looks for ways to better serve the guests and the company.
  • Brings new ideas to management if it involves policy change.
  • Maintains a good sense of humor and cooperative attitude in dealing with co-workers and guests.
  • Communicates well with head trainer, owners, managers, and co-workers.
  • Is expected to behave in a professional manner at all times.
  • Learns about the natural environment and human history of the area and shares knowledge with guests.
  • Treats guests in a manner that makes them feel respected, valued, liked and cared for.
  • Performs other responsibilities as assigned.
  • Acts as trainer for new guides – participates in all training activities.
  • Conducts river orientations and distributes guests into boats.
  • Determines exact equipment needed for multi-day trips.
  • Sets meeting time to rig multi-day trips and communicates that to guides at least 24 hrs in advance.
  • Ensures that the trip leader reports are accurate and complete.
  • Coordinates the duties of guides on the trip and initiates post trip meetings.
  • In the event of an accident, take full charge of the scene or delegates that duty if necessary.
  • Makes the final call on minor decisions in the event that a consensus cannot be quickly reached.
  • Brings issues that cannot be quickly resolved to the attention of the manager on duty.

Evaluated on thoroughness in performing duties, attitude, punctuality, dependability, ability to operate as a team player, initiative, mature judgment, relationships with co-workers, management and guests, flexibility, and willingness to learn.

Reports to the manager on duty.

Are you ready to learn how to guide on a whitewater river?