Career Profile: Wilderness Guide

Career Profile: Wilderness Guide

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Some people love to be outside, enjoying the fresh air. Are you one of them? Imagine a job where you could be outside for most of the day, helping people who want to learn about nature. Wilderness guides take visitors on trip for fishing, hiking, climbing, and other activities to show them new things and keep them safe.

Many people like to walk or ride their bicycles around the areas where they live. Sometimes they want to do something a bit more challenging, like rock climbing or white water rafting. Until they gain enough experience to go on their own safely, they might need the help of someone to show them the way.

Becoming a wilderness guide takes a lot of knowledge but not necessarily much education. Some wilderness guides have a high school education but learn everything they can about the area where they want to work. They learn the names of plants and animals and learn how to avoid dangers. Other guides get International Wilderness Guide Certification or take courses through local organizations.

Not all areas are the same. Being a wilderness guide in the Rocky Mountains would be very different from the same job in a flatter area like Manitoba. Being a wilderness guide for people who want to hunt or fish would not be the same as helping rock climbers. Most wilderness guides have to prepare for all kinds of hikes, climbs, and other trips that they have to take.

Physical strength and general health are some of the most important factors for becoming a wilderness guide. If you want to get into this work, you will need at least a high school education. At this level, salaries begin at about $23,000 per year, depending on where the jobs are, how long they last, and how difficult they are. At higher levels, wilderness guides can earn over $200,000 per year, but they have to be very knowledgeable and be willing to take risks that others might not want to attempt.

Some of the jobs that wilderness guides do are not very exciting. They have to set up tents for the night, cook meals, and maybe help with health problems. Knowing first aid is essential because people can easily get cuts and scrapes, or even broken bones. If the weather is rainy or cold, guides might need to make decisions about when to end a trip and return home. They might have to help visitors who are tired or sick to get back home and deal with any emergencies that happen.

Trips into the wilderness can be short, sometimes only a day or two. Others can be a few weeks long and involve a lot of preparation. Guides might have to shop for food and other supplies to take with them. Work in this area can be very busy in certain seasons but very quiet in others. A skiing area, for example, would have much less work in summer than in winter.

Do you love outdoor adventures? You should consider becoming a wilderness guide.


Go2 Tourism HR Society. “Outdoor Adventure Guide.” https://www.go2hr.ca/careers/outdoor-adventure-guide.

International Wilderness Guide. “Course Description.” https://internationalwildernessguide.com/about/.

Neuvoo.ca. “Outdoor Guide.” https://neuvoo.ca/salary/outdoor-guide/.

State University.com. “Outdoor Guide Job Description, Career as an Outdoor Guide, Salary, Employment – Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job.” http://careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/534/Outdoor-Guide.html

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