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2024 Sierra Whitewater

California Whitewater Rafting Guide School

June 10 – June 16,  2024

Riverside Camping Included

Course Benefits

Qualified, friendly instructors, success-oriented team environment

Hand-on experience running California’s most popular whitewater

Full-service training. Everything needed to become a pro river guide


18+ to Work as a Guide


CPR/First Aid Certified


Valid Driver's License

(626) 710-6070 | (916) 952-7816

Guide School Specifics

Throughout this course, trainees will learn how to read the river cues, how rapids are formed and navigated, learn to safely navigate Class I-III+ rapids, prepare and maintain all equipment, work with clients, and enhance guiding skills for professional or private rafting use. All of our trainees will learn how to be a successful whitewater rafting guide on the American River. Each day of training will build upon the days prior. From equipment operations, maintenance, and construction, to boater safety and paddling techniques, our course offers a broad skillset for whitewater rafting guides. This course also includes a two day intensive whitewater rescue training course.

Welcome to the Sierra Whitewater Guide School

We are thrilled you are interested in joining our team to learn more about whitewater safety, operations, and the life changing experience of river guiding! We are a fun-loving, hard-working team of people who have a deep love of the river and the outdoors. We believe in treating people and one another with encouragement and kindness. We have the utmost confidence that we can help you to achieve your dream of river guiding! This experience will undoubtedly lead to a lifetime of new adventures – guiding guests who are also having the best times of their lives, whitewater rafting down the American River!

sierra whitewater rafting guide jamie

6 Questions with a Graduate

Jamie is a 2019 Sierra Whitewater Guide School graduate and has been working for 2 years as a professional Whitewater Rafting River Guide. We are extremely confident that our Guide School will be an amazing experience for you, but don’t take our word for it! Below are 6 common questions with answers straight from Jamie.

What did you expect before starting guide school?

“I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised after one day about how much I didn’t know, and how much work and fun it was.”

Describe your relationships with others in guide school, and with Sierra Whitewater’s staff.

“I made close friends with the other students in guide school, relationships that are strong to this day. I made important lifelong connections with Sierra staff and with the more senior guides as well.”

How did you like working with the clients on and off the water?

“I gained a source of professionalism, especially from the Sierra staff, and I learned how to be a leader even among strangers. It was a great confidence builder.”

How did it work out for you financially?
“Financially it was fantastic. I lived at the camp so that saves a lot of money. There are so many rewards. The money aspect was great but I gained so much more than money.”
What was your greatest accomplishment while working with Sierra Whitewater?
“My greatest accomplishment was commercially running Class IV and V whitewater, at just 19 years old. It was incredible and it felt like such an achievement.”
How does your raft guiding experience affect your future?
“The interpersonal skills I learned, my respect for the power of the river and co-existing with the natural world through rafting, it all helped me to develop a deep reverence for the outdoors and nature that will always be a part of my life.”

Why choose our Guide School?

What makes us different here, at Sierra Whitewater? First, we care about you and are truly committed to your success. We will help to build a foundation for your success, from teaching techniques for guiding the most challenging of rapids, to ensuring a strong and dedicated teamwork dynamic when handling gear and organizing the behind the scenes operations. If you are a team player, with a positive, can-do attitude and a willingness to show up on time and do your best, we are the team for you!

We take our accountability and reliability seriously and ask that each of our Guide School participants do as well. We make it easy to succeed with clear expectations and positive feedback. Throughout Guide School, we foster the opportunity to check-in, ask questions, and make sure that you get the most out of your training with us.

Our 7-day guide school will prepare you to work on Class I to III-plus rapids on the three forks of the American River. You’ll learn to read the water, navigate through the rapids, and work as a team with other guides and guests. In addition to guiding, you will also learn how to prepare and take care of the gear, work with the rafts, PFD’s, paddles, trailers, vans and much, much more.

Preparing you for Anything

Our guide school is highly coveted as it also includes two days of Whitewater Rescue Training Certification. This option is very rarely included in a Guide School program, but we have ensured that our students receive the full experience and tools required for Guide Accreditation and Certification. The safety of our team and guests is our number one priority. As such, we include Whitewater Rescue Training so that you have the tools to succeed, no matter what potential obstacles may be on the river.

For accommodations during Guide School, our students are welcomed and invited to stay at our campground for all or part of the school’s duration! Our camp is nestled alongside the American River, with picturesque waterfront views and access. At camp, you will have use of our full facilities, from restrooms equipped with hot showers and standard toilets to the fire pits. While we provide lunch every day of Guide School, those at our camp will also have access to our cooking facilities for their own use.

Here, at Sierra Whitewater, we are committed to your success. We find that through our rigorous training, commitment to teamwork, and a respectful and fun work atmosphere, our graduate guides are fully set for a summer of guiding on the American River. As such, several of our most seasoned Class IV-V river guides are graduates who originally attended our Guide School. After completion of Guide School, many graduates stay on as employed Guides and work for the season. Whether you’re looking for an amazing job experience, looking for adventure, or have simply just always wanted to try River Guiding, Sierra Whitewater’s Guide School might be just what you’ve been looking for! Call or email us so that we can get started on an adventure that can last a lifetime!

Good to Know

Summer whitewater rafting guide jobs are definitely available to Guide School graduates. Like with almost any other job, successful candidates must show up on time, be clean and sober, work effectively in a team environment, understand the importance of customer service, be able to follow directions and communicate well with others.

The Guide School offers a week-long chance to experience life on the river and around camp. Although the days can be long and the work tiring, most river guides will tell you it’s the best job they ever had.

Rafting Guide School


18+ to Work as a Guide


CPR/First Aid Certified


Valid Driver's License

Questions? (626) 710-6070 | (916) 952-7816
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