Whitewater Raft Guide!
Smoky Mountain Outdoors

Upper Pigeon River

Whitewater Raft Guides Wanted! No experience necessary. FREE training!

We are located on the Pigeon River in beautiful Hartford, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains.


Whitewater Raft Guide!

Smoky Mountain Outdoors
Hartford, Tennessee
unknown / hour + tips
No experience required
Start Date:
Starts immediately!

Smoky Mountain Outdoors (SMO) has a long-standing record of training great raft guides. Over the past 25 years, we have trained hundreds of guides, many of whom have continued to guide on other rivers both nationally and internationally.

Our Raft Guide School is a FREE program paid for by SMO. As someone who is interested in becoming a whitewater raft guide you may have noticed that some companies offer their own programs, but at a high cost. Our Raft Guide School is designed to be affordable, with a full-time guide positioned offered to those who excel and pass the course. We only invite you if we are confident that you will pass the course. 

If you are interested in attending one of our guide schools, please fill out an application.


Eligible applicants will be contacted with an interview phone call.  Please read through the information that is sent to you before you are contacted for an interview. 

Guide School Dates 2021:
March 15th - 20th
May 3rd - 8th
May 10th - 15th
June 7th - 12th
June 14th - 19th

The Employee Experience

SMO has a diverse, fun-loving staff of 80 rafts guides, and growing. Most guides are in their early twenties, others bring years of river experience to the staff. SMO guides are a tight-knit group, who not only live and work together but spend their time off together as well.

Our guides return every year, not only for the work they enjoy but for the friends they have made. We have a full-time staff of 80 guides, and there is never a shortage of things to do, or friends to hang out with. We are confident you will make many new friends, and shared an amazing summer together. 

Ideal Candidate 

Our ideal candidate is a healthy and active person who is eager to learn new skills while challenging themselves. During our Guide School, we look for candidates who show a great understanding of teamwork, self-motivation, respect, and responsibility. Yes, river guiding can be a physically demanding job. But is also extremely FUN and very rewarding. Being a raft guide is a job that you will truly enjoy.  

Room and Board

We provide on-site, riverside housing, to all guides. Our accommodations vary and are comfortable. Guides are paired and share a room in one of our three bunkhouses for the season. We encouraged our guides to decorated their living areas to make them more comfortable. The rooms are unfurnished and only contain a bunk bed platform (twin) some shelving but not much else. The mattress and bedding are not provided so bring what is suitable for your comfort level. All rooms have electricity and air conditioning.

WI-FI is available at the outpost, just a short walk from guide housing. Camping is free and all share amenities are included.

Separate shower and bathroom facilities are provided for men and women. A communal guide kitchen is provided for all guides but please bring your own cookware and utensils. 

Employee Perks

SMO offers tons of FREE employee exchange programs with tourism companies in the area including Mountain Biking, Zip-Lining, Amusement and Water Parks, plus many more. SMO also organizes several staff outings during the summer including rafting trips to other rivers.

We host weekly staff dinner at the outpost. It's always a big event and the highlight everyone's week. A few guides every week volunteer to cook whatever they want. They also pick a theme for the party and dress up. We also have a swimming pool at our campground that we allow our guides to use!

Getting Here and Getting Around

Most of our employees arrive in their own vehicles. However, if you are planning on flying in from abroad or another state, Tyson McGhee Airport in Knoxville, TN will be the closest airport. Knoxville also has the closest Greyhound station. Both are an hour away. Airport and bus station pick-ups can be arranged for a small fee. 

Once at the outpost vehicles are not necessary. Walking from housing to work takes 3 minutes. Bicycles are recommended. The closest supermarket, movie theater or restaurant are 15 minutes away. Employees usually carpool for these, so having a car is not necessary. 

For Fun

As mentioned above SMO has tons of FREE employee exchange programs with tourism companies in the area including Mountain Biking, Zip-Lining, Amusement, and Water Parks. We also organize several staff outings during the summer including rafting trips to other rivers in the area. 

The Smoky Mountain National Park is only minutes away with 850 miles of hiking trails. If you have a kayak, canoe, raft or just a fishing pole, we are located directly the Pigeon River. Guides create their own weekly group outings, always strengthening the team dynamics that we are so proud to have. With 80 guides and three days off every week, there is never a lack of things to do! 

How to Apply

If you are interested in attending one of our guide schools, please fill out an application. Guide applications can be found at the bottom of our employment page. After completing an application, you will be emailed an informative PDF. Eligible applicants will be contacted with an interview phone call.

Contact Info