Tributary Whitewater Tours

Guiding the Deschutes river
Raft guides enjoying a lunch stop on the Middle Fork American River
Dinner is ready!
Guiding the Middle Fork American river
Guiding the Truckee river
Guide Training
Rafting on the Middle Fork American river
Dream Team
2021 Staff Photo
Guests ready to embark on their rafting adventure!

Be a part of the California adventure and help create memories of a lifetime!

Our family owned company offers whitewater rafting trips suited to ages four and up, from mild Class II to wild Class V. With over 40 years of experience, Tributary provides both day and multi-day trips on rivers in California, Oregon & Nevada. Our claim to fame is the long list of permitted rivers that we offer and the extremely experienced staff that returns year after year.

Our California operations are based out of the sunny foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the town of Lotus near Lake Tahoe.

About Tributary Whitewater Tours

Whitewater boating in California is unique because of the gradual tapering of the vast mountain ranges in the state. Unlike the steep Rockies, for example, the Sierra Nevada mountains gradually erode towards the west leaving miles of foothills which slowly diminish towards the Pacific. What this leaves is a perfectly natural design for western flowing rivers originating from snowcapped peaks to descend at the perfect steepness for all levels of whitewater recreation. Our company has been taking people down these rivers for over 40 years. Rafting isn’t why our country’s pioneers forged west, however. Our base location in the town of Coloma is home of the origin of the California Gold Rush and the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park. Evidence of our native people’s way of lives can be found on the local riverbanks and tours of the first Japanese settlement and the oldest Keyaki tree in the United States can be found just outside of town. Our location leaves no shortage of things to explore for the history buffs or adventure seeking adrenaline junkies alike. Additionally, the almost constant sunny weather and foothill elevation enable wine enthusiasts to enjoy a taste of California wine country here in El Dorado County. The best part? We are located just a few short hours from major metropolitan areas like Sacramento, San Francisco, Reno, and Los Angeles AND internationally sought-after natural wonders like Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. There’s no shortage of travelers passing through and seeking adventures like Tributary Whitewater Tours has to offer. Be a part of their California adventure and help create memories of a lifetime!

The Employee Experience

Working at Tributary Whitewater Tours instantly makes you part of a team. The tight knit crew works together to make sure our guests experience a seamless adventure. Whether it’s providing an exceptionally safe river trip, crafting mouthwatering riverside meal or driving guests out of a steep canyon - the teamwork never ends.

Our operation depends on the thoughtful and hardworking staff to look out for one another’s best interests to provide the best guest experience. This camaraderie is evident in the post-work day atmosphere around camp often with group dinners, evening paddles, music and socializing. New staff will often meet lifelong friends through this work hard play hard atmosphere at Tributary Whitewater Tours.

Ideal Candidate

Working at Tributary Whitewater Tours is a customer service, full-time and seasonal job located in a very warm sunny and dry climate. Employees who thrive with us possess great people skills, wear a smile on their face, are self-motivated to work hard and maintain composure with last minute changes in logistics. The staff is encouraged to be creative and bring ideas to the table regarding streamlining processes or solving problems to improve our operation.

We often joke that ‘staying cool’ is a must for any employee at Tributary Whitewater Tours, both literally and figuratively, but there is a truth to that. It can be very hot during our summer months and being physically overheated can lead to overheated emotions or reactions. Being able to self-check and keep this in balance is a good quality. Being a team player and upholding a positive attitude throughout the season is a must.

Room and Board

Tributary Whitewater Tours operates out of a 60 acre riverfront campground. Our basecamp is also home to many of our staff members for the summer months. We offer primitive ‘guide camps’ for a nominal fee from April through October. These individual camps are located just a short walk from the parking areas and bathhouses with running water, showers and flush toilets. Alternatively, some employees choose to live in campervans or small RV’s for the season here. There are no RV hookups. The campground doesn’t have electricity and there is often a fire ban in the summer months. There is good cell service at this location. Our office and internal operations are located at a separate offsite building just a mile and a half away. Guides who choose to live at camp come here to use the internet, enjoy some air conditioning, take a shower, make meals, do laundry, etc. Resources available to those looking to live offsite include https://www.coloma.com/community/clnews/ and https://goldcountry.craigslist.org/

Employee Perks

Working for Tributary Whitewater Tours comes with many benefits in addition to earning a paycheck and being part of an awesome team of people. Staff has access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which is a free and confidential benefit. The EAP assists employees and their eligible family members with any personal problems, on call therapists and a variety of counseling. Our staff camping is some of the best in the area! Although rustic, the proximity to the riverfront and swimming holes is fantastic. Pending availability and scheduling, the staff is encouraged to participate in our trips to experience all we have to offer. Many of these trips involve meals which the guides and working staff are welcome to enjoy with our guests. Leftover food from these meals are kept in a staff area and is free to eat. We work hard to ensure that our staff has access to the latest river and camping gear with proform pricing from many different top brands. Additionally, it is important to us that our staff is provided with sufficient training opportunities to expand their industry-related skill sets if desired.

Getting Here and Getting Around

Our Tributary Whitewater Tours base camp is located an hour east of Sacramento or two hours west of Reno. There is no public transportation in the area, therefore, all of our staff arrives for the season with their own vehicles. Having your own set of wheels is beneficial for traveling between our basecamp and office at ease and visiting the nearest grocery store or town which is a 15-minute drive away. While bicycles are helpful for buzzing around our 60-acre campground they are not as useful for commuting to nearby towns as the roads are mostly 55mph and some with very narrow shoulders. 

For Fun

We are located in very close proximity to tons of other fun activities in addition to whitewater rafting, fishing and wine tasting. Locally, many people enjoy paragliding, live music, gold panning, kayaking, trail running, and mountain biking. Lake Tahoe is located just an hour and a half away with endless hiking, biking, climbing, sailing, skiing, snowboarding and paddling opportunities. For those interested in activities offered by bigger metropolitan areas, we have Sacramento, Reno or the greater San Francisco Bay area relatively nearby. Looking to escape to the coast and dip your toes in the Pacific? It’s just a few hours away. Our location is a perfect blend between off the grid versus on the grid depending on the day or what experience you’re looking for.

How to Apply

Please visit our hiring page and click 'Apply Now'. Be sure to have your resume and cover letter ready to upload. We look forward to hearing from you! Note - we are currently unable to hire anyone unable to legally work in the United States. Thanks for understanding. 


Contact Tributary Whitewater Tours