california rafting trips & vacations

Hot Apple Cider on the American

South Fork American 1/2 Day PM Gorge Run

Rogue River Trips

More Guide School Trips

California White Water Raft Guide School - 7 Days

Northern California /

Saturday May 6 – Friday May 12, 2023


We are only accepting 16 people into our guide school

Click on “Book this Trip” to apply for a space at our 2023 Guide School

Best Guide School in the West!

Raft California’s Guide School is a 7 day training course to learn the skills to guide rafts down white water rapids!

In the past we welcomed private boaters seeking the skills for paddling as well as individuals seeking employment as a professional river guide. Due to the popularity of our program, the Raft California Guide School is an application based training program. If you are interested in coming to our Guide School you will need to fill out our application form, there is no deposit required to apply. We will review your application and if accepted we will hold you a space for our Guide School for 1 week (awaiting a 50% deposit). If we do not feel that you are up to par with our Guide School requirements our reservations team will reach out and suggest alternative river trips.

For all new hires who attended our Raft Guide training school & fulfill all hiring duties for the season, we will reimburse half of your Guide School payment. That means you will basically get a $375 bonus at the end of the season!

Where we go rafting

We start at our South Fork American River Campground with both on and off river instruction on the Forks of the American River. We usually travel to others rivers like the North Yuba, Truckee, Upper Klamath, Lower Klamath, Trinity & East Carson. The rivers we travel to depend on flows as several are free flowing and depend on snowmelt. We want to take you to the best places for putting your raft guiding skills to use on river, so often the itinerary is flexible.

Lunch is included daily. Dinner & Breakfast are not included, except for 1 of each when we teach you how to cook for our overnight meals. The group usually shops & cooks for other meals together.

For the duration of the guide school we are camping. We will provide the space for camping and you are to bring your own gear (tent, sleeping bag, camper van etc). There is typically no power at most locations (including our main camp in Lotus), many of our guides carry around solar charges. We also have an office in Lotus just a couple miles from camp that you can use to charge things, connect to WiFi, as well as a washer/dryer for laundry.

Whitewater Rafting Guide School Emphasis:

  • River hydrology
  • River navigation
  • Reading whitewater
  • Raft equipment rigging
  • Equipment maintenance and repair
  • Personal rescue equipment & signals
  • Commercial safety put-in talks
  • Camp/kitchen operations
  • Knot tying
  • Leading safe, enjoyable whitewater rafting trips

Included in the cost of Raft Guide School:

  • Transportation to and from camp to the instruction locations
  • PFD (although most like to purchase a guide PFD prior to guide school as these allow for more mobility than our customer PFDs).
  • Helmet (also something most purchase)
  • On river equipment (ie: raft, paddle, ropes etc…)
  • Camping space & river use fees
  • Lunch everyday

Arrive the night before at our South Fork Campground

Day 1

  • 8:00am meet & greet, intro to Guide School
  • noon(ish) lunch
  • afternoon – rafting or off river training

Day 2-7

  • Rafting, Camping & Fun

Once we have the schedule nailed down we will post it.

We travel to lots of rivers during river guide training.


Meeting Location:
Tributary Whitewater – American River Outpost
6500 Hwy 49
Lotus, CA 95651

Truckee Trips end August 1st

Don't worry, We're not gonna do what everyboy thinks we're gonna do and freak out man... All we wanna know is, who's coming with us... to the American river that is.