River Guide Training


River Guide Training is here!

Peterson Outdoor Rec is offering a Guide Training Program for the 2021 river season, and we want YOU to be our next river guide.

If you are interested, we recommend that you attend the free informational meeting that will be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 5, 2021, at Outdoor Recreation (830 Tinker St. Bldg. 640 Peterson AFB, CO 80914), where we will be going over what River Guide Training is, what you’ll be learning, and what our plans are for the 2021 season.

This is an incredible opportunity for anyone looking to become a river guide or to get their start in the Outdoor Recreation industry. Our river guide training program is intended to train guides to our standards for possible employment at Peterson Outdoor Rec. 

Although we cannot guarantee you will be hired as a NAF employee, the experience gained during this training will allow you to become a better river guide. We hire the best and expect a high degree of professionalism from our staff. Being a river guide can be difficult, but the rewards far outweigh the demands.

Cost is $399 with an additional 3 volunteer days, or $599 if participant only intends to go through training and not become a guide.

The deadline to sign up is by noon Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

For more details or to sign up contact John at 719-556-4867, peterson.outdoor.rec@us.af.mil


Disclosure – The AF is dedicated to the full implementation of federal laws mandating equality of opportunity for NAF employment. Recruitment and hiring of NAF personnel is based solely on the principle of merit and qualifications. Employment at Peterson AFB under Nonappropriated funds (NAF) is subject to satisfactory completion of all pre-employment regulatory requirements.

Who is eligible to go through River Guide Training?

  • Anyone who is 18 years of age or older is eligible. 
  • There are no weight limitations.
  • No prior rafting experience is necessary.


Program Training Schedule

  • FREE informational meeting will be held on from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 5. at Outdoor Recreation.
  • Saturday & Sunday, April 3 & 4: On river training, Arkansas River
  • Saturday & Sunday, April 10 & 11: On river training, Arkansas River
  • Saturday & Sunday, April 17 & 18: On river training, Arkansas River
  • Saturday & Sunday, April 24 & 25: On river training, Arkansas River
  • Saturday & Sunday, May 1 & 2: On river training, Arkansas River
  • Saturday & Sunday, May 8 & 9: On river training, Arkansas River
  • Schedule is subject to change.


Insider Tips on River Guide Training

There are so many things I enjoy about being a river guide that it’s nearly impossible to decide what I like most.  Teaching people about the river and the local geology, telling hilarious jokes (the ones I think are funny anyway), developing relationships with my team, enjoying cool water on a hot summer day, and having the coolest office in the world are just a few reasons why being a raft guide can be one of the most rewarding job.


Someone who loves and is knowledgeable about the outdoors will make an excellent river guide. 

There are also many different personality traits that go into making a top notch guide.  

  • Being a natural and confident leader is important so a guide can take control over their group when needed. 
  • Someone who has an outgoing personality will have an easier time engaging with their boaters because half of the job is being an entertainer.


  • To become a guide in the state of Colorado, one needs to go through 50 hours of on-river training, which includes learning numerous types of specific skills to effectively and safely guide on whitewater.
  • Once the 50 hour requirement has been met, the trainee must go through a check-off run where they have their very own raft of paying customers and they must demonstrate to their Guide Instructor that  they can competently guide the boat of customers down the river. 
  • If their Guide Instructor gives them the all clear, they now have their license to guide in the State of Colorado.


My first day of being a river guide trainee was incredibly exciting.  On my first day of being a guide, one of my customers decided to take a swim and fell out of the boat while going through one of our most technical rapids of the day.  This was definitely a stressful situation, but once they were back in the boat, it was nothing but smooth sailing for the rest of the day.

— John S., Outdoor Recreation river guide

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