Our Guides

Best in the Business

We Have the Best Guides in the Canyon, By Far.

About Hatch Guides

In any given year, we employ around 25-35 guides and swampers (assistant guides) who will crew around 64 trips through Grand Canyon over the course of the summer. Most of these folks return to work with us year after year—some for more than 30 years running!

Every guide and swamper is certified (at minimum) as a Wilderness First Responder, in CPR administration, and as a Food Manager or Backcountry Food Manager. Many of our guides are qualified above and beyond these minimum requirements as EMTs or even nurses.

Visit our FAQ page to learn more.

Experienced Guides

Meet Our Guides

Carlos

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I’m Carlos. Part of my family is from Northern Spain, where we’d play hide and seek among the fishing boats, and I’d come home and draw up plans for the boat I’d build one day. Still no boat. Too much maintenance. I’ve been driving other people’s boats since 2015, when I started river guiding in Wisconsin. My first time down the Colorado was with a few friends in 2017, and I fell in love hard.

I feel incredibly blessed to call Hatch my home for half the year, and cherish the chance to work with the amazing guests and guides that have been drawn to this place.

Dan

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Hi I’m Dan! My family was part of the State Department so I was born in Tunis, Tunisia in Northern Africa. I lived in Damascus, Syria for a year and a half and then Cairo, Egypt for 4 years before moving to the Washington, DC area. I lived in Calgary, Alberta part time as well. I went to College in Baltimore before moving to Pagosa Springs in Southern Colorado and have been there ever since! I started river guiding on the San Juan, a tributary of the Colorado, in 2007.I started ski patrolling at Wolf Creek Ski Area in the winter of 2009/2010.I am very passionate about the outdoors and spend my time boating, camping, hiking, and skiing. My first Grand Canyon trip was in 2009 and i was instantly hooked! I was lucky enough to work my first Hatch trip in 2015.I feel so fortunate to get to work in such an amazing place with such wonderful people. Boating through Grand Canyon is something everyone should do at least once in their life.

David

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I started at Hatch River Expeditions for a summer job in 1987 and after more than 30 years of guiding Grand Canyon rafting trips, the Grand Canyon has become a part of me!After graduating with a B. A. in Environmental Studies from Brown University in 1993, I followed my passion for the outdoor life by guiding adventure trips around the globe.With my career as an international adventure travel and whitewater guide, I have had the opportunity to run rivers in 17 countries on 5 continents.During my career in Grand Canyon, I have operated all kinds of crafts from motor boats, paddle boats, oar boats, kayaks, and even the Emma Dean, an exact replica of John Wesley Powell’s flagship boat on his historic 1869 journey. As a benefit of working for Hatch River Expeditions, I have kayaked the Grand Canyon more times than anyone ever has or likely ever will!Currently, I supplement my river work as a field biologist, working specifically with desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert and as a ski patroller in Aspen, CO where I was born.Of course, none of this would be possible without certifications in CPR, Wilderness First Responder, and a professional food manager.Most of all, guiding Grand Canyon river trips gives me an opportunity to spend time and share my extensive knowledge of a place that I have come to love.

Let’s Go Rafting!

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Eric

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Becoming a great boatman and guide is something I’ve been devoted to for some time, and I joined Hatch in 1999. I’ve spent countless hours learning about the Geology and Anthropology of the Southwest desert both on and off the water. I’ve taken Swift Water Rescue, participated in the GTS, and tried to stay on top of all the science in Grand Canyon. Spending my winters guiding snow cat ski tours and ski patrolling has also given me valuable experience in the medical side of being a guide. Holding many certifications; CPR, WFR, WEMT, and a Back Country Food Handlers permit, helps me be a solid Grand Canyon Guide. Additionally my ability to motor, row, and work as a safety kayaker makes for a versatile boatperson. Participating in trips with SPLORE has given me experience and made me realize the value of doing trips with the disabled. I love being a part of the close-knit community that is made up of people that work on the river. Enjoying letters and pictures that clients send me is the most rewarding part of my job.

JP

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I’ve been guiding on the Colorado River for over 25 years, and have completed over 300 trips. My long career at Hatch River Expeditions began in 1985 and is a testament to the fact that it’s one of the best concessions operating in the Grand Canyon. I’ve done extensive work for Glen Canyon Environmental Studies and the Grand Canyon Research and Monitoring Center as a guide providing logistical support. I’ve also worked with the National Park Service monitoring and stabilizing archeological sites. My experience as a science boatperson has greatly augmented my interpretive skills as a commercial guide. I participated in Guides Training Seminars and lead the 2001 trip, and I’ve also worked with the organization SPLOR guiding and assisting people with disabilities. Additionally, I served on the board of directors for the Grand Canyon River Guides Association 2001-2002. I also hold CPR, Wilderness First Responder, and Backcountry Food Handlers certifications.

The Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful and spectacular National Parks, and it’s an honor to work as a river guide in it. I consider the Canyon my home. As a guide, it’s my job to provide safety and to share my knowledge, experience, and love of the canyon with my cliental. I believe the canyon is one of the best natural classrooms in the world. I believe providing extensive interpretation of the natural history of the canyon is not only personally rewarding but also socially beneficial. Educating my passengers opens their eyes to issues pertinent in protecting and preserving our diminishing natural resources and National Parks. My experience as a guide allows me to provide safe and fulfilling trips for my passengers, which allows me to provide impeccable logistical support on research trips geared to preserving and restoring the natural habitat in the Grand Canyon.

Kelly

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My name is Kelly Zanzucchi. I have been working as a river guide for more than a decade, learning from and loving every moment in the Grand Canyon. When I am not boating, I work as a ski patroller at the Arizona Snowbowl where I’m fortunate to mix skiing and practice in the EMS field. I live in Flagstaff with my husband Dom and our dog Earl. Together we do anything we can to play.

Kelsey

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My name is Kelsey. I grew up near the Adirondack mountains in New York. Most of my life I’ve gravitated strongly to water, I started competitively swimming and scuba diving at a young age.

I was taken on a white water rafting trip for my 18th birthday and was so infatuated with the experience I convinced them to let me start training as a guide the next day. I worked as a raft guide on four different rivers before I got the incredible chance to take my first trip in Grand Canyon in 2017.

I feel so lucky to be able to call Grand Canyon home for half the year.

The other half I work on an ambulance as and EMT in Colorado. Along with Skiing, Mountain Biking, Photography and reading about Grand Canyon.

Lars

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Over thirty-five years ago, at the age of thirteen, I started working on river expeditions through the Grand Canyon. I began working for Hatch in 2005 and have enjoyed the privilege of guiding clients down the Colorado River. I have over two hundred trips through the canyon and have guided for both commercial companies and the Department of the Interior, where I facilitated various research projects on the river. My rafting experience includes the operation of motorized and rowing craft of all shapes and sizes. I have had the fortune of running all the rapids in the canyon in exact replicas of Major Powell’s boats for both the South Rim Imax Movie and the National Geographic Channel. By working for the various government agencies and their researchers, I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience relating to the geology, biology, and human history of the canyon. My fascination with the early inhabitants of the canyon, their building methods and site selection has inspired me to learn more about simple cost effective ways to design and build dwellings. I hold a degree in Biology and hope to apply this knowledge to various design and construction projects to lower society’s dependence on fossil fuels while conserving other natural resources.

Lena

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I became a Flagstaff local at the age of seventeen after moving from Germany. I earned a B.A. in International Studies from Northern Arizona University, and started river running on the San Juan and Salt River my freshman year of college. I’m extremely excited to be running in Grand Canyon and couldn’t be happier about joining the Hatch crew in 2010.
 I’m a certified Wilderness First Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, and hold certifications in CPR, First Aid, and Backcountry Food Handling. Guiding in Grand Canyon for Hatch is a dream come true and sharing the magic of the canyon with people from all walks of life is a great privilege. During my time off I enjoy hiking, kayaking, paragliding, and studying up for my next river trip! In the winter I work as a ski patroller.

Mariah

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I have worked in the Grand Canyon since 2009 in a variety of roles. I started working with Grand Canyon Youth engaging students in on-going inventory and monitoring projects focused on side streams and springs on and along the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. I find it very rewarding to take youth down the river and so I have continued to work with Grand Canyon Youth as a trip coordinator. After receiving my Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Northern Arizona University in 2012, I started working as a fish biologist contracted through the USGS Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center. We currently conduct sampling trips throughout the year primarily focused on non-native Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and the endangered Humpback Chub (Gila cypha). The opportunity to pursue my passion for science in such an amazing place has been an incredible experience and there is still a lifetime’s worth of things to learn about the mighty Colorado River and it’s Grand Canyon. In addition, I have worked for the Grand Canyon National Park as a technician in fisheries and hydrology. I am a Wilderness First Responder and hold CPR and Backcountry Food Handler certifications. This compilation of experiences has provided me with a well-rounded knowledge base that I truly enjoy sharing with folks on the river.

I enjoy working for Hatch River Expeditions because it is a family-oriented company. Hatch also employs some of the most experienced and knowledgeable boatmen working in the Grand Canyon, and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from the best.

When I am not in the Grand Canyon, I love being in the mountains with my family.

Nicky

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Hi I’m Nicky! I grew up in the concrete jungle of New York City, but always dreamed of big mountains, deep canyons, raging rivers, and wide open spaces.

My river guiding career began the summer after my college graduation. In the six years since, my love of rivers and adventure have led me to work in Colorado on the Arkansas River, the Yampa River, and the Upper Colorado River, the Rio Tampaón in Mexico, and the Futaleufú River in Patagonia, Chile!

But ever since my first Grand Canyon River trip in fall 2018, it was my NUMBER 1 GOAL to become a Grand Canyon boatman. To me, the Grand Canyon is the most magical place on the planet. I believe it is a place that everyone should experience from river level at least once in their lives. I began working for Hatch River Expeditions in 2020, and I am so grateful and feel so blessed to share this unique and awe-inspiring place with our guests. It is truly a dream job.

When I am not guiding trips in Colorado or in the Grand Canyon, I work as an Instructor of Swiftwater Rescue for the Swiftwater Safety Institute, and as an Instructor of Outdoor Education for Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, where I teach future river guides and kayakers the art of making dutch oven pineapple upside-down cake, playing cheesy folk songs on the guitar, and brewing extremely strong coffee.

Sean

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I was born and raised in Utah in the Salt Lake/Park City area. I grew up spending my summers rafting with my family in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. I was eight years old when I went on my first trip down the Grand Canyon on a Hatch motor rig. I really enjoyed the whitewater of the Grand Canyon and I do not think that it has altered a bit. The Grand Canyon is one addictive place which keeps me coming back for more exploration. The beauty of the canyon never gets old and the river never disappoints that’s why I come back and that’s why I love sharing it with others.

See you on the water!

On Guide Requests

Some guests ask if they can request a specific guide for their trip. We are happy to consider these requests when scheduling, but can never guarantee a particular guide as there could be conflicts or emergencies that prevent a guide from being available. If you can’t get your requested guide, know that we’ll have someone else great just waiting to show you the river!