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Whitewater River
Rafting Guide Training

In Washington State

Whitewater River Guide Training in Wenatchee, Leavenworth & Cashmere, WA

Thanks for your interest in our white water river rafting guide training class in Washington State. Our annual whitewater river guide training class and Washington State guide certification training exceed all the requirements set for in Washington State to become a river guide and is geared toward totally immersing our students in the world of whitewater rivers, river safety, and commercial river rafting, with an emphasis on producing commercial river guides and the best-trained private rafters on the river. 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. Have questions not covered below? Feel free to contact our office at or call 206.276.8774.


Our 8-day intensive guide training class takes part in Early June each season. You can expect to spend 8 straight days on the Wenatchee rivers. Our goal is to have our students experience and learn from many different river situations and conditions, and we achieve this by running and training hard in our class.


Our instructors in our river guide training class are hand-picked, industry experts and professionals who are leaders in the industry of whitewater. Many have been whitewater rafting and kayaking for over 20 years, some are certified rescue instructors, some trauma doctors, EMTs, some teachers. In addition, our river guide school teachers have a wide range of experience rafting all over the world.


The base price of our 6-weekend training class is $700. We offer discounts and scholarships, please inquire with us if interested. Each student will be issued a wetsuit, booties, helmet, and a PFD for the duration of the class (included in the course cost).  We are now offering the class with only a deposit of $150.00 to ensure your spot in class.  There may be an option to work off some of the class tuition – email us for more info.

Class Structure:

Our class is structured is to maximize your ability to learn in an on-the-river environment. The class syllabus that we use for the 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 skillset we teach while building on what has been taught prior in class. Each day is spent on the river: Expect full days each day on the river filled with the highest-quality instruction. You should expect cold-water conditions, and be ready for a wet environment for 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.

Working After Training:

Most every student who completes our river guide training works for us as a guide at the completion of the class. Some work full-time, some weekends, some once a month. We take a “creative scheduling” approach to scheduling our guides to work. We realize that not all can make this a full-time endeavor, 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 $70 to $90 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, Peru, Ecuador and Switzerland, just to name a few.

Class Objectives:

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 emergencies.

Washington State law requires that every commercial guide in the state complete a 50-hour on-river training class; our class involves over 70 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.

Additional Perks:

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 if 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.