2023 Whitewater Raft Guide Training Program

Training begins May 13th 2024

Acquire the skills necessary to successfully navigate a raft full of passengers through exciting class IV whitewater and get paid to do it! No whitewater experience is necessary as we will teach you commercial river guiding from the ground up. We will equip you with experience, knowledge, and the official certification to begin working as a professional whitewater river guide anywhere in the state of Colorado! Although we are happy to train individuals who have no intention of employment, this course is designed for those who will begin employment with Liquid Descent on Clear Creek and the Colorado River once training is complet

What to expect in guide training with Liquid Descent

At Liquid Descent, our guide training program is designed for those who intend to work as guides at Liquid Descent. The state of Colorado requires 50 hours of on-river training to be a certified river guide. However, we require at least 100 hours of on-river training in addition to pool sessions and classroom lessons.

Trainees must demonstrate the necessary skills to be a competent river guide before beginning employment. With that being said, river guiding is a challenging endeavor and we understand that individuals acquire skills at different speeds. Our trainers are very motivated to assist you in achieving your whitewater goals. To support your learning, trainers are available to provide extra coaching, one on one training or after hours sessions. We are here to help you succeed! Although we intend to hire every guide we train, there are situations that arise and participation in guide training does not guarantee employment.

Training begins May 15th and goes through the first week in June. Monday through Friday participation is required. Weekends will also be available for those who wish to fire it up and finish the training more quickly. Typically, trainees complete their course work and river miles during the first week of June and are ready to begin employment.

Training is rigorous and physically challenging. We expect our guides to have the knowledge and experience as well as the physical conditioning and ability to be true professionals. On-river training will take place at a variety of locations including the Colorado River and Clear Creek. We will also spend time in the pool and the classroom learning about the many aspects of running rivers including but not limited to:

Anatomy and characteristics of rivers “River Sense”

We will teach you how to read whitewater and recognize hazards, river characteristics, currents, eddies, rapids etc.

Rope work

You will practice knots, mechanical advantages, rescue systems, benefits and hazards


We will go over proper use, maintenance, and rigging of paddles, boats, and gear

Strokes & Commands

You will learn the techniques, uses and effectiveness of all the strokes and commands that you would utilize as a commercial river guide.


You will practice self rescue, rescues from shore, rescues from other boats in addition you will learn how to use throw bags, technical rope systems, and additional scenarios


Safety is a game of inches, and we will show you how to think critically and mitigate as much risk as possible. Many mistakes in safety are made before the raft ever leaves the shore. We will teach you how to view commercial rafting trips through a very focused lens and learn to identify and mitigate hazards that others may miss.


River guiding is a form of expression just like painting, snowboarding, and playing guitar. Remember, as a guide you are a performer and entertainer to your guests. Getting guest down the river is just one aspect of the river trip, style points matter as guides receive gratuity. We will teach you the non-river aspects of guiding: public speaking, personality, humor, and confidence.


Having the technical ability to navigate rivers is the most important aspect of being a guide. We teach you all the tips and tricks we’ve learned through years of commercial guiding. Angles, commands, customer placement, boat selection, and pod integrity. Importantly, we will teach you how to mold your inexperienced guests into a powerful paddling raft engine!

Why should I train to be a guide with Liquid Descent

The individuals who instruct the course are some of the most experienced guides is the state of Colorado. All instructors have thousands of river miles and have rafted rivers all over the world. They are also hilarious and fun to be around! Yes, the training program is challenging but it is super fun! The camaraderie and bonding you will experience with your fellow trainees and the Liquid Descent crew is unparalleled. Great times and great people.

The majority of trips that Liquid Descent provides are aggressive and adventurous in nature. This training course is designed to prepare you for the unexpected. We run some of the most exciting commercial sections in the country including Gore Canyon. As a trainee and first year guide, you will get to experience all of it.

Cost of the training program is $450.00. This cost includes every aspect of training and all the river gear you will need. Trainees will be allowed to camp during training.  Trainees who become employees will have 1/2 of their training fee returned upon completion of the 1st season of employment and the rest refunded upon completion of their 2nd season. CPR and First Aid certifications are required before employment can begin.  River guiding is one of the most exciting and rewarding occupations available. We are looking for active folks who are motivated and have adventurous spirits. If thats describes you than come and experience the summer of a lifetime!

Again, training begins May 13th, 2024 at 9am at our shop in Idaho Springs, CO.

If interested, fill out our application below:

Liquid Descent Whitewater Guide Training Application