Nantahala Outdoor Center

River Guide

US-NC-Bryson City | US-NC-Walnut | US-TN-Hartford | US-TN-Ocoee | US-SC-Mountain Rest
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Job Classification


Job Title: River Guide
Position reports to: River Manager

Job Location: Varies Depending Upon Assignment


For 40+ years NOC has lead the outdoor industry, taking more guests whitewater rafting and teaching more paddlers than any other outdoor recreation company. NOC also provides top-quality aerial and trail-based adventures, wilderness medicine as well as providing unmatched retail service, food service, lodging and trip planning services. Behind NOC's rapid growth is our staff’s commitment to our five core values: lead by example, service before self, do the right thing, work hard/play hard and make it happen. These core values unite a community of leaders and pioneers in an exciting, fun and always changing work environment.


NOC career opportunities offer prospects rare opportunities to work in beautiful locations, to grow their skills and to share a passion for active outdoor recreation. Ideal candidates are leaders in the work place that wish to join a unique, values-driven organization. They aspire to excellence in their fields and disciplines and they demonstrate a commitment to the service of others. Above all, they want to provide visitors with unforgettable experiences in the great outdoors. If this sounds like you, we hope you'll apply to join the NOC team.


Job Summary: 


NOC Raft Guides work on one of seven different rivers: the Nantahala, French Broad, Pigeon, Ocoee, Nolichucky, Chattooga and Cheoah; many guides are able to cross-train to work on multiple rivers. Raft Guide applicants must be at least 18 years of age prior to their start date, and have current CPR and First Aid certifications. Applicants without prior commercial rafting experience are strongly encouraged to attend NOC Raft Guide School during the spring; preferential consideration for employment is given to Guide School graduates. For more information or to sign up for Guide School, visit


  • Guiding through rapids with crews of varying size, age and number; understanding and implementing risk-reduction in navigation, communication, and decision-making
  • Communicating with guests about local area information, other NOC activities and offerings, river and trip information, and providing general entertainment
  • Providing top-notch guest service to all guests, before, after, and during their trip
  • Participating in off-the-water tasks, including moving, loading and unloading rafts, assisting guests with gear, delivering instructional talks, and washing and organizing gear and equipment
  • Other tasks, such as driving vehicles, repair and maintenance of gear or facilities, guest check-in, and assisting other NOC departments, as qualified and as assigned


 Applicants for a River Guide position at NOC should have great communication skills, a strong sense of guest service, and be enthusiastic about teaching and sharing outdoor activities with others. Raft Guide applicants must be physically capable of steering and helping carry rafts, and be comfortable working outside in varying weather conditions. Applicants should expect to work in a teamwork-based environment, and be able to take direction well and exhibit good judgment in decision-making.



Preferred Training:

Basic First Aid & CPR are required prior to beginning work; Wilderness First Aid or higher is encouraged.  Online First Aid & CPR are not acceptable as per our river permit agreements.  Preferential consideration is given to those who have attended NOC's Guide School.



The above noted job description is not intended to describe, in detail, the multitude of tasks that may be assigned but rather to provide a general sense of the responsibilities and expectations of this position. As the nature of business demands change, so too may the essential functions of this position.

The Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) is dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity in any and all terms, conditions or privileges of employment including hiring, promotions, termination, training and compensation. The NOC does not discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of age, race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic condition or any other status protected by federal, state or local law, where applicable. Furthermore, the NOC is committed to a work environment free of discrimination and harassment through respecting and valuing the diversity among employees and all those with whom the NOC does business.


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