Lessons & Training

Raft Guide School

Book Now

Duration: 5 Days

Price Per Person: $450

Dates: March 4-9*, March 11-16*, March 18-23, March 25-30, April 1-6, April 8-13

Learn from the experts! Gain the skills needed to work as a professional rafting guide for commercial outfitters, summer camps, clubs and outdoor schools in our industry-leading NOC Raft Guide School. Learn to read whitewater, use river signals, maneuver and rig rafts, tie knots, work with guest and other basic river operations. NOC guides have led more whitewater rafting trips than any outfitter in the world – giving you the best in river education!

Click here to download NOC's full guide school packet for a detailed course description and itinerary.

Students must be 18 years or older. Price includes lodging, meals and rafting equipment. No experience necessary. 

*These dates coincide with Spring Breaks in the area. If you are not a student seeking employment with NOC after completing Guide School, we kindly ask that you choose another week (if your schedule is flexible) to allow students the opportunity to participate. All Guide School courses cover the same skills and materials. Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to hosting you.

Guest Testimonials

By: Chris S.

If you have ever had the slightest interest in being a raft guide, SIGN UP FOR THIS CLASS!! Whether you are 18 or 50 I promise you won't regret it. It was one of the best weeks of my life and helped discover something I had a passion for. Carpe Fluvium!

By: J David S.

If you want a life changing experience, take a week and go do raft guide school. It will change your life. Best medicine ever.

By: Jim K.

I recommend this to anyone. This was a fantastic school taught by some great people. Best vacation you will take.

Outpost Overview

NOC's 500-acre adventure center is located at the intersection of the Nantahala River and Appalachian Trail. 


Guest amenities include:

  • Outdoor recreation activities including rafting, kayaking, zip lines, and mountain biking
  • Three restaurants, including two on the riverfront
  • Four retail stores, including NOC's flagship Outfitter's Store
  • Rustic cabin and bunkhouse lodging for over 200
  • Terminus for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
  • One mile of Lake Fontana frontage with lake kayak and SUP program
  • Host to over 30 annual events, from world championships to music festivals


Nantahala Outdoor Center's main campus, the Nantahala River Outpost is located in far Western North Carolina on US Highway 19. 12 miles from Bryson City and on the south side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the outpost is nestled in the Nantahala Gorge. If you are on a Rapid Transit rafting/train excursions, the meeting place is in Bryson City at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot.

From Asheville, NC: Take I-40 West towards Knoxville, TN. Take exit 27 onto US 74 West towards Waynesville. Stay on 74 West, the outpost is 50 miles down this road. 8 miles past Bryson City, the 4-lane will split into two 2-lane roads. Stay on 74, the left lane. You will enter the Nantahala Gorge and after 4.3-miles you see the Nantahala River and NOC's Nantahala Outpost.

From Gatlinburg, TN: Take 441 South through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and through Cherokee. Just past Cherokee, get on 74 West. After 15 miles, the road will split into two 2-lane roads. Stay on 74 W, the left lane, and continue the 4.3-miles to the NOC Nantahala Outpost.

From East Atlanta: Take I-85 North to I-985 North. At Gainesville, take 365 North to 441 North. Just past Dillsboro, NC, 441 merges with US 74. 8 miles past Bryson City, the 4-lane splits into two 2-lane roads. Stay on 74, the left lane. Continue 4.3-miles and arrive at the NOC Nantahala Outpost.

From West Atlanta: Take I-75 North to I-575 North. I-575 becomes State Hwy 5, and then Hwy 76. Stay on this road until Blue Ridge, GA where you turn left onto Hwy 60 towards Mineral Bluff, GA. In Mineral Bluff, turn right onto Hwy 60 Spur. Follow it into North Carolina to US 74 East, turning right towards Murphy and Andrews when the road ends. Stay on 74 East, NOC's Nantahala Outpost is 20-miles past Andrews. You will follow the Nantahala River for the last 8-miles.

From Chattanooga, TN: Take I-75 North towards Cleveland, TN. Take the 1st Cleveland exit, the US 64 Bypass Exit. Go 6-miles and take the Ocoee Exit onto US 64 East towards Murphy, NC. In Murphy the road number changes to US 74. Stay on 74 East, NOC's Nantahala Outpost is 20-miles past Andrews. You will follow the Nantahala River for the last 8-miles.

Book Now