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GCW River Guides


Grand Canyon Whitewater Team Member, Ashley

Ashley

Bill, Grand Canyon Whitewater Operations Team

Bill

Grand Canyon Whitewater guides are each highly skilled and talented. They have the training to share interpretive thoughts about the Grand Canyon, geological facts and historical events. Your guide can pilot the rafts safely through the most tumultuous of rapids, lead you on a hike to hidden gems along the river corridor and share tales of those who have gone before you. Grand Canyon Whitewater guides are fantastic cooks that will please even the most discerning palate. GCW crews will encourage you to meet the challenges of rafting and camping in the wilderness. Together you will make memories that will last a lifetime. Your guides will each see to that.

Grand Canyon Whitewater’s operations management team, Bill and Ashley, work with guides and equipment to ensure everyone and everything stay at top-notch performance!

Meet the guides of Grand Canyon Whitewater…

 

Matt

Matt, Grand Canyon Whitewater Raft GuideI got into Grand Canyon through metal work, and I still enjoy both professions.  My first trip in Grand Canyon, in the early 1990s, pointed my life in a positive direction.  My river-guiding wife, Katrina, and I continue to follow that course.  I strive to continue learning more about Grand Canyon, myself, and others.  With this outlook, I hope to help provide a very safe, professional, rewarding and fun river trip. Read what passengers have to say about Matt.

 

 

Chelsea

Grand Canyon Whitewater Raft Guide, ChelseaMy first Grand Canyon river trip was in 2002.  As often happens, that trip forever changed my life.  I’ve been devoted to working in the Canyon ever since.  Every year I fall more and more in love with the Colorado and its canyon.  Each trip is a new and exciting experience!  There is so much to learn, so much to do and see.  I love the people I work with — and I love the people I work for!  I feel so lucky!  In my time off I’m obsessed with rock climbing!  I also love traveling and exploring other rivers and other kinds of boating.  Just remember – go with the flow! Read what guests have to say about Chelsea.

 

Zach

Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting Guide, ZachMy first river trip through the Grand Canyon was in June 2009, and that is when I fell in love with the Canyon. There is something to be said about the solitude, peacefulness, tranquility and the awe-inspiring beauty the Canyon has to offer. After my first river trip I realized there is no other way to live life without spending nights sleeping under the bright twinkling stars or relaxing near a misty waterfall. Below the rim, I can truly live in the moment and focus on sharing the Canyon with all of our guests. Some of my favorite things to share are knowledge of the Canyon’s ancient history, boatman history, flora and fauna, astronomy and Grand Canyon geology.   I hope to see you on the river this season. Read what passengers have to say about Zach.

 

Holly

Holly, Grand Canyon Whitewater Guide

Hiiii everyone, I’m Holly. I dropped into Grand Canyon from behind a tall gray concrete block called Glen Canyon Dam. I caught a lot of tadpoles as a kid, and being homeschooled gave my siblings and me plenty of time to roll down the sand dunes and play in the cattails of the front yard. I finally found the bigger version of my front yard in 2012, when I booked a trip by myself and floated down the river with Grand Canyon Whitewater. We all know the story…I was hooked like a poor little rainbow trout. My pops is a boat mechanic so I have always been around boats, but am really only just beginning my journey of rafting on rivers. Ah…what a beautiful journey so far. Other than passing time in these big, crazy ditches I love love love making music, learning about music, and practicing music. Singing is my one true love, supplemented by traveling, snowboarding, hiking, writing, taking photos, learning, talking, listening, napping and eating.

The Canyon is mind-blowing and magnificent. To me, it is very important at least once a trip to pause the mind, sit back against a massive chunk of beautiful Earth and allow myself to be absolutely dwarfed. Watch the bighorns brawl and the lizards crawl and the boulders fall and remember…that we are just a drop in the river.
Happy trails all!

 

Chris

White Water Raft Guide, ChrisI am always excited rafting down in the Grand Canyon. I have been guiding in Grand Canyon since 2005 and am fully hooked.  I am a native Arizonan and can never get enough of the Canyon. Grand Canyon has been a part of me all of my life and, of course, I LOVE IT! My favorite aspect of Grand Canyon is the Colorado River itself. I love maneuvering the boats through technical whitewater rapids, always strengthening my respect of the river.  Between summers on the Colorado River, I work winters at a ski area near Lake Tahoe. I also love to work on old cars and find new places to practice my canyoneering skills. Read what passengers have to say about Chris.

 

Brie

Grand Canyon Whitewater Raft Guide, Brie

I grew up running lots of self-support inflatable kayak trips with my dad and I’ve been hooked on rivers ever since.  I have been guiding in Cataract Canyon and Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River since 2005, as well as Desolation Canyon on the Green River.  I’m very excited to spend time in the Grand Canyon.  It is one of the most amazing river sections I’ve ever experienced and I strive to explore as much of it as I can.  I love to spend as much of my time during the winter on my Telemark skis exploring wherever I can safely get.  I just plain love to be outside; whatever the weather dishes out it’s always more exciting than being inside. Read what passengers have to say about Brie.

 

Jimmy

Grand Canyon Whitewater Raft Guide, JimmyI got out of the Marines and was wondering which school to attend when I saw Martin Litton doing a slide show of one of his dory trips in Grand Canyon. Needless to say, I was impressed, but let it slip by as just another interesting thing on campus that day. Then, one month after the end of my military career, some friends invited me to go to this strange place called Havasu Falls. And there the story began!  I loved Havasu Creek so much so I hiked to its intersection with the Colorado River. When I saw her (the Colorado River), well, she grabbed my heart then and there and has never let go … must admit I like it! I noticed this rig pulling into the mouth of Havasu and, wow, holy smokes, the guide was an old friend of mine! We were both amazed to run into each other there and he gave me his company info.  As soon as I left Havasu, off I went to get myself a job on the river; they hired me on the spot in spring of ’71. I rowed the California rivers, all of them, and some others (Rogue River, Middle Fork of the Salmon, Selway, Main Salmon, Snake … I was even able to hang out with Ed Abbey on the Green!) I started strong and have kept the pace since 1971.  Everyone knows of my affection for rivers, with the wild places that provide life for the most exciting thing to me: wild critters! Because of my love for critters, I also am part owner of a safari /river running/mountain climbing company in Tanzania (ACJ Safaris Tanzania Ltd. at  acjsafaris.com). There is nothing like being in the Serengeti with the cheetahs! My home, when I am off-river or not in Tanzania, is in Denali, Alaska. I have guided a couple hundred Colorado River trips and more than a hundred trips in Alaska. Life is just getting better each day and I keep exploring and learning! Never give up. Read what passengers have to say about Jimmy.

 

Ted

Grand Canyon Whitewater Guide, TedI was first able to experience the Canyon via the Colorado River on a commercial trip in 2008.  Since then, I have been guiding different types of trips in Grand Canyon. I get a very special feeling when I am in Grand Canyon and am very appreciative to have the opportunity to work here! I have been boating since 2006 in motorized boats, oar-powered rafts and kayaks. In my spare time, I enjoy kayaking, skiing, climbing and whatever else I find outside! In the winters I work at a ski resort in Flagstaff, Ariz. The most intriguing things to me about Grand Canyon, besides the obvious (geology), are the accounts of past river runners. I love learning and teaching about John Wesley Powell, Georgie, the Stanton Expedition and other remarkable characters in Colorado River running history. I look forward to seeing you on the river! Read what passengers have to say about Ted.

 

Brock

Grand Canyon Whitewater Raft Guide, GCWNorthern Arizona University brought me to the state of Arizona from San Diego. Upon graduation, I started working with “at-risk” youth in wilderness settings and running rivers of the southwest. Working with the youth gave me my first Grand Canyon rafting experience in 1997. After a few years running commercially on other rivers, I graduated to the Grand Canyon. I really enjoy the variety of operating both motorized and oar powered boats through the Canyon; every trip is so unique. Now, calling Flagstaff, Ariz. home, I could not imagine my life without Grand Canyon. The community I’ve found with Grand Canyon Whitewater has me looking forward to many more great trips. Read what passengers have to say about Brock.

 

Chelsea

Grand Canyon Whitewater Guide, Chelsea

In 2005, I discovered the Grand Canyon as a passenger with my mom on a 13-day row trip, and spent the next three years elbowing my way back into the most majestic ditch in the world. Since 2008, I have been blessed with the best job a city girl could hope for. I hope to spend the rest of my life learning more about the canyon, and sharing our little world with people just as excited about it as we are. Read what passengers have to say about Chelsea.

 

Jeff

Jeff, GCW Guide, starts out of Lees Ferry on a 13-day Row trip.
I first encountered the Colorado River on a commercial river trip as a passenger in 1984. After that trip, I found the owner of the company and begged him for the next few years for a job. He finally had an opening for me in 1986 as a full-time guide. I have been guiding in Grand Canyon since then! I love the outdoors – kayaking, skiing, hiking, you name it. I love to share the geology and interesting factoids of the flora and fauna in Grand Canyon with my passengers. I also really enjoy taking people who have never camped or experienced the outdoors into the Grand Canyon on a raft trip. I love to open their eyes to the natural world and be able to show them the incredible place that it is. Read what passengers have to say about Jeff.

 

Jason

Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting Guide, JasonI have been guiding trips down rivers in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico and working in and around Grand Canyon since 1991. I started out in Grand Canyon doing science trips for the National Park Service, but I had fallen in love with it when I was just a kid. We started backpacking, my brother and I, when I was a freshman in high school. Hearing all the river boatman stories all the time, it was just very tantalizing. I got my first river trip when I was 19 and fell hard. I like to get away and, when you’re in Grand Canyon, you’re there — nobody can interrupt that with a phone call or anything. You’re in the moment, totally. I love spending time there because I feel like you could spend your whole life there and barely get to know it. I really enjoy sharing the Grand Canyon with people, and I like how it enlightens every one of us. Whether you like it or not, it teaches you a lot about yourself. I watch how people come on a trip and, by the end of it, they let their guard down and remember how to live a little bit. I think learning to live in that environment for a week is healthy for the soul, for all of us.
I’m also an avid skateboarder and, when I’m not on the river, I’m down in Phoenix riding skateboards with my two sons. Read what guests have to say about Jason.

 

Dan

Grand Canyon Whitewater Raft Guide, GCWI started exploring the Grand Canyon on backpacking trips when I was in college over spring break vacations. I was so fond of the area, I decided to transfer to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff to finish my degree in civil engineering.  After graduating I practiced structural engineering locally and, with the starving student days behind me, I began rafting the Colorado, Salt, Verde, and San Juan rivers for recreation.  When the economy and housing market came to a halt I knew that all I wanted to do was become a river guild.

I currently enjoy calling the Colorado Plateau my home.  I spend roughly half of the year rafting, hiking, and fishing in the Grand Canyon, another quarter of the year I spend exploring the Colorado Plateau’s vast deserts, canyons, and mountains. The final quarter of my year I hunt elk and mule deer and, hopefully, fill the freezer for a long fun filled winter of skiing. Read what passengers have to say about Dan.

 

Kelly

Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting Guide, Kelly

I went on my first Grand Canyon trip when I was 12 years old.  I remember telling my friends about the size of the 10 rolling waves in Hermit Rapid, and that there were soo many more stars than you ever thought possible, and there were a million waterfalls that are always flowing in the middle of the Arizona desert! I told them about the 27 new friends who were just strangers at the beginning of the week and how we meshed into an oddball family on an adventure.  I’ve been working in the Canyon since 2008.  It is such a pleasure to share this place and those things that captured me with others on each trip. I love watching people of all ages play like kids again in the Canyon … starting water fights, sharing jokes, or chasing after lizards.  I also can never seem to get enough of the serenity of the Canyon. I love quiet time in a place like Blacktail Canyon or watching for a few shooting stars before dozing at night.

When I’m not on the river I love to travel. I have spent winters doing things like backpacking India, Thailand, and Nepal, attending Spanish school in Guatemala and scuba diving in Belize. I also love Bikram yoga. I like reading, cooking, playing games, and hiking. See you on the river! Read what passengers have to say about Kelly.

 

Julie

Grand Canyon Rafting Guide: Julie

As a young kid growing up in Arizona, I wanted to get out, go where there were mountains, where it was green and where it wasn’t 120 degrees. Then, as life always does, it taught me a lesson. In 2003, I took my first trip down the Colorado River and fell in love with the brown and red desert for life. Naturally, after finishing school with a pre-law degree, I went into river guiding and have been going at it strong since 2007. Nothing brought a greater sense of adventure, laughter and the unique gift of meeting and learning from wonderful, fascinating people than being down on the river and watching the experience change people’s lives, as it is continuously doing to mine. It’s truly an education that can’t be taught in any classroom. With a little bit of time in between rafting seasons, I often find myself in another country exploring the culture and terrain it has to offer. Whether it is on a surfboard, a kayak, a boat in the Grand Canyon or on some other mystical river, my passion lies with the ace of elements: water. Read what guests have to say about Julie.

 

John

Grand Canyon Whitewater Raft Guide, JohnAs far back as I can remember my family has taken trips to Grand Canyon. I got into rafting rivers in 2000 and have been guiding ever since. I also enjoy climbing, skiing and playing music. Skiing especially is a passion of mine and I have spent many years working and making snow on the mountain in Telluride, CO. There are all kinds of personalities and characters we encounter working so closely with people on a raft trip. I love learning about people and having the time to really connect and be a part of the catalyst that bonds many diverse folks while on a rafting trip. Read what passengers have to say about John.

 

Grant

GCW Raft Guide, Grant

I was lucky enough to take a rafting trip in Grand Canyon in 2006 and have been guiding since. I have guided on many rivers in the Southwest and feel incredibly lucky to be in Grand Canyon. I really like the human history associated with running the Colorado River rapids. Each early explorer has such a great story to tell. On my first commercial river trip in Grand Canyon, I read this poem about the Canyon that I had found and really liked. It was about this older woman who was so moved by the spiritual nature of the Canyon that she just kept returning. When I had finished reading the poem, one of the women on my trip – in her 70s – started crying. She said “I wrote that poem you just read.” That was pretty incredible. Read what passengers have to say about Grant.

 

Troy

GCW Rafting Guide, TroyMy first trip down the Colorado River in Grand Canyon was in 1990. I grew up in a corn field — I had paddled canoes back in the Midwest on rivers and lakes, but this was my first time in Arizona and my first time doing a river trip. It just blew my mind. My favorite part about guiding is watching people change over the course of the trip, slowly getting into the groove. They come in not really knowing anything about the river or the Canyon but, before you know it, they’re into it. They enjoy the place; they start to understand it. They remember what it’s like to be part of the planet. It’s cool to see people get back to basics. And, I have to admit, it’s a lot about the people I work with. I love the people I work with. It’s a unique situation — you get really close with these folks. I’ve been friends with (fellow guide) Jeff  since the early 90s. The people I work for and with have really made me smile, to see that they still dig it and enjoy it.

My goal when I left the Midwest was to work outside. I think I am lucky to work in such an incredible place as the Canyon. In the off season, I get my fix of outdoor activities by working at a ski resort in Colorado and as a fly fishing guide. Read what passengers have to say about Troy.

(Photo by Jonas Wright-Hogg)
 

Thea

Grand Canyon Whitewater Raft Guide, TheaGrowing up in Germany, I had never seen Grand Canyon until I was 16 years old.  Needless to say, I was blown away by its magnificence.  When I moved to Flagstaff in 2008, my older sister was working as a hiking guide in the Canyon; I started hiking with her on a regular basis just for fun.  In 2009, I was able to do my first river trip.  After that trip, I was hooked.  Being in Grand Canyon is a life-changing experience.  I have become a more positive, open-minded and appreciative person.  The Colorado River brings me a feeling of excitement as well as calmness and freedom.  The Grand Canyon and the great people I have met on river trips have changed my perspective on life. I hope to be inspired by the Canyon’s majesty throughout my entire life.Besides rafting and hiking in Grand Canyon, I have a degree in social work. I enjoy any type of outdoor activity, from skiing to exploring trails around Flagstaff and Sedona.  I love running all rivers and I am currently honing my kayak skills. Read what guests have to say about Thea.

 

Joe

Grand Canyon Whitewater Raft Guide, JoeI have been enthralled by the Grand Canyon since first visiting in the mid-90s and have been hooked by rafting the Colorado River since 1999.  I’ve had the privilege to be a participant on many different types of trips — archaeological, geological, trails and vegetative work trips, biological survey trips, as well as commercial trips for fun — and find it amazing to see something new on every single adventure down through “The Big Ditch.”  I am pleased to be able to represent Grand Canyon Whitewater and share with folks any of the human and natural history to which I’ve been exposed.  Come on down!! Read what passengers have to say about Joe.

 

 

Chris

Grand Canyon Whitewater Guide, ChrisBorn in Alaska, I was raised with a tremendous respect for the outdoors. We spent our summers hunting and fishing. Family skiing trips were routine but my favorite ski days were those when I got dropped off at Alyeska Mountain with $10 in my pocket and no adult supervision.

I came to Arizona in 1988 and was taken by the enormous expanses. There are mountains, canyons and rivers to be explored. Twenty-five years later, I still enjoy living and working in Northern Arizona. There is an amazing community of people here in and I’m fortunate to be a part of it. I am now a father of three and lucky enough to have Grand Canyon for my office, where I can teach my children the same respect for the outdoors I learned as a child.

In the winter, I work as a ski patroller/risk manager at the Arizona Snow Bowl, where I am able to make my own family ski days routine.
Come on a Grand Canyon trip and you will find out for yourself why it’s called one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

 

Jake

Grand Canyon Whitewater Guide, JakeI have worked as a Grand Canyon river guide since 2006. The first time I hiked the canyon and saw her river I was hooked. I went on a full canyon river trip as a passenger and through some stroke of luck I ended up getting a job as a paid swamper. I have no intention of leaving! Grand Canyon has become an integral part of my life. My wife is a GCRG (Grand Canyon River Guide) and hopefully our daughter will be too once she starts walking…. So many adventures! So many stories! So many wonderful people! I can think of no other thing I would rather do. Sublime! Read what guest have to say about Jake.

 

Riley

Grand Canyon Whitewater Guide, RileyI was first introduced to the Grand Canyon by my folks when I was young. At maybe five or six years old, I began hiking in and around Grand Canyon with them. In 2011, I was lucky enough to be invited on my first Grand Canyon rafting trip. After that, I was hooked. I was offered a job on the operations team at Grand Canyon Whitewater and, quickly after, became a river guide for GCW. In the winter, I work for a local sports shop and do as much skiing and snowboarding as possible. One of my most favorite river memories to date has to be from one of the first rafting trips I took in Grand Canyon. The ‘royalty’ of a small town (White Fish, Montana) happened to be aboard. They took it upon themselves to royally ‘knight’ all of us crew members. So I am an official Knight of White Fish, Montana for life — the trip was just full of fun. See you on the river…. Read what guests have to say about Riley.

 

Sean

Sean, Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting Guide.Being born and raised in the Southwest, some of my best memories are of family trips to the Grand Canyon as a kid. I have always had a love for the outdoors and for crazy adventures. A few days after finishing school with degrees in both Construction Management and Business, I headed for Alaska to work in ecotourism. I spent much of my spare time fishing and boating. I started working at the GCW warehouse in 2011 and became a guide a year later. The first rapid I ever rowed in the Grand Canyon was Hermit. That was quite the experience. I am stoked to be a river guide and to share with everyone this special place that is free from modern-day distractions. Read what guests have to say about Sean.

Erica

I did my first Grand Canyon River Trip in 1997. I became a guide Erica, Grand Canyon Whitewater Guidein the season of 2000. I absolutely love Grand Canyon. I feel truly blessed to be able to spend so much time in such an amazing place with so many wonderful people. The canyon has given me an incredible strength, inspiration, and perspective that guides me through all aspects of my life. This seasonal life style has also enabled me the time to pursue my other passions as an artist, a musician and explorer of other beautiful places. My home/art studio is in Tucson. If you would like to view my Grand Canyon inspired paintings, please visit my web site: www.ericafareio.com. See you down stream!

 

Riley

Riley, Grand Canyon Whitewater River GuideI went on my first Grand Canyon trip with my dad, who was an ARR guide, when i was ten years old. The red silt got in my blood (my teeth, my hair and my heart) and I have never been the same since. As a sociology major, I would love to scientifically explain this phenomena, but I’m too busy having fun. When I’m not in the Grand Canyon, I can be found in Thailand, Alaska or Moab.
Read what passengers have to say about Riley.

Why raft with grand canyon whitewater

6 Reasons to Raft with Grand Canyon Whitewater

1.  Rejuvenate, Play like a kid!

You deserve a vacation. Rafting with GCW will combine excitement with serenity in one of the most peaceful and gorgeous places on Earth.

2.  Experience? We got it!

GCW brings one of the most experienced groups of owners and guides in the Grand Canyon.

3.  We are the Host with the Most!

GCW river guides are a wealth of information not limited to river history, geology, archaeology, wildlife and savory Dutch-oven cooking!

4.  You are in Good Hands.

Our staff knows the fine line between keeping you safe and showing you the Canyon up close and personal.

5.  Re-Connect.

In an increasingly electronic and nature-deficient society, it is a great way to take a few days to reconnect with nature and have some good ol’ fashioned fun with great folks.

6.  Oh, So Many Trips to Choose from!

GCW offers both motorized and oar-powered rafting trips ranging from 4 to 13 days.

CHOOSE FROM ANY OF OUR 7 GRAND CANYON RAFTING TRIPS

Experience the thrill with gcw

Read Guest Reviews

A rare and rewarding journey with remarkable (and rowdy) rowers and riders!

“I thought the crew‘s group dynamic was exceptional.  Brock seemed to be well respected as a boatman and as a leader,  The other boatmen all commented on how much they liked his style of leadership.  If any of his “judgement calls” were ever questioned, we were not aware of it, and it was clear that […]

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Great Bucket List Item!

Feedback from Tim from Yuma, AZ     Age 49 Passenger on a 4-day Upper Canyon trip in May 2014 Was your reservation agent courteous and informative?: Yes Was there any additional info you wish you had known before your trip? (transportation, packing, on-river): I would probably pack a pair of flip flops for the […]

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Boatmen Shenanigans

Dwight, a passenger on a 6-day Upper Canyon Oar Trip in July 2014, sent us this short story of a fun afternoon on the river… “It was a quite cove.  The boatmen and passengers had finished lunch.  While children played in the water, trying to catch fish barehanded, the rest of the passengers watched from […]

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Beautiful

Feedback from Gay from Prescott, AZ     Age 65 Passenger on a 5-day Lower Canyon Raft Trip in May 2014 Why did you pick our company?:  The right length of trip which included hiking Was your reservation agent courteous and informative?: Absolutely Was there any additional info you wish you had known before your […]

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Can I Do It Again? Not Just an Item to Cross Off the Bucket List.

Feedback from Kathryn     Boise, ID     Age 53 Passenger on a 7-day Motorized Raft Trip in May 2014 Were the river guides friendly, helpful and concerned about your needs?: Can’t say enough positive yes to this Were the river guides knowledgeable and willing to share their knowledge about the canyon?: Yes. Lots […]

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This service is operated by Grand Canyon Whitewater, LLC., a Concessioner under contract with the U.S. Government and administered by the National Park Service.

The Concessioner is responsible for conducting these operations in a satisfactory manner. Prices are approved by the National Park Service.

© Grand Canyon Whitewater – PO Box 2848 – Flagstaff, Arizona 86003