Best Regions to Find Rafting Jobs

If there is a river nearby, chances are there are people who recreate on it. Humans are drawn to flowing water for the peaceful lull of the current, as well as the powerful rush of raging rapids. While rivers can be found in every state, certain regions possess the perfect amount of gradient, accessibility and pure natural beauty to become a hotspot for river rafting recreation. Raft guide jobs in these regions are not only plentiful but offer a greater pool of knowledge and experience for the new guide.

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The first rafting hotspot is centered in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, spanning across western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. A handful of classic river stretches are within a short day’s drive of major cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte, and Knoxville.

This region also boasts deep river rafting history. The Nantahala Outdoor Center, located in Bryson City, NC, has been pioneering new sections of river since 1972. Beginning on the Nantahala and Chattooga Rivers, the NOC expanded the industry to include countless other rivers in the region. Other outfitters have sprung up everywhere, helping to meet the high demand for river raft trips in the region.

On the opposite side of the country rests another outdoor adventure hub, Hood River, Oregon. Commercial rafting in this region began almost three decades ago on rivers like the White Salmon, just on the other side of the river in Washington State. Now, outfitters like Zoller’s Outdoor Odysseys employ raft guides who are second and third generation. With no shortage of rivers in the area; like the Klickitat, Salmon, and Hood; outfitters are everywhere and raft guide jobs are available every summer season.

Back to the eastern United States; western Pennsylvania, eastern Maryland, and northern West Virginia come together to form the Mid-Atlantic river rafting hotspot. The rolling, but often steep, Appalachian mountains and steady rainfall in this region allow for a host of rafting options. Outfitters operating on the Youghiogheny, Cheat, Gauley and New Rivers all offer seasoned raft guide jobs every year. Many provide training on multiple rivers in the region, depending on flow variations, allowing for new guides to gain valuable experience faster than anywhere else.

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The Rocky Mountains can not be forgotten when discussing the best river rafting regions. During the winter, adventure seekers flock to Colorado’s ski resorts, but come springtime, that snow melts into all the surrounding valleys to fill the river beds of the Arkansas, Gore Canyon or the Colorado. These rivers provide recreation for vacationers from all over the country. Raft guides will often train on multiple stretches of river all over the state, adding to their river resume and level of experience in just the first season.

The entire state of California makes up the last hotspot rafting region. Major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento are teeming with adventure seekers who travel into the mountains to experience the rush of California’s classic whitewater rafting runs. Just west of Lake Tahoe, the American River, one of the top rafting destinations in the state, has multiple sections and tributaries available for rafting in addition to other rivers in the region. Raft guides working in California will never complain about the warm sunny days and crisp, blue waters for which the state is known.

Each of these river rafting regions possesses a deep history of river running. For over three decades, outfitters have trained and hired guides to introduce millions of people to whitewater rafting.

While these regions offer a high concentration of rivers and experience, they are not the only locations to find exciting raft guide jobs in the country. There are countless other rivers and regions that offer equally exciting and lucrative jobs for a new river guide.

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