Lauren Petersen

Job Title

Professional River Guide





With OARS Since



Papillion, NE

Current Location

Fort Collins, CO

Offseason Gig


About me

When I am not guiding, I work as a bartender or barista, so I love talking to people about good drinks! And good food! I also love talking about music and art and whatever lights people’s spark.

The Best Part of My Job

The best part of my job is being able to provide incredible experiences to people in amazing places. These are trips that, if you do it right, leave lasting impacts on the guests. I love being a part of a team of guides who care about crafting that experience.

How I found OARS

I fell in love with whitewater when I was in college and started working for my university’s outdoor program. When I decided I wanted to take the next step and get more serious about guiding as a profession, I asked around my outdoor community who the best companies to work for were, and OARS stood out the most!

My Favorite Spot on the River/Outdoors

On some Rogue River trips, we have enough time to canyoneer down Mule Creek Canyon. IT'S SO FUN!!! It's so beautiful, and I love scrambling through the rocks and water. It's often the guests' favorite part of the trip, and it's usually mine too!

My Favorite Trip Memory

I will never forget an experience I had my first season in California. I had recently been checked off to guide the Lower Gorge section of the SFA, and my family had come all the way out to Cali from Nebraska. The trip leader had just finished the safety talk, and I was gearing up my family when a woman and her young daughter came up to me. The mom said, "Go ahead, tell her what you told me," and the little girl says, "I wanna be with the GIRL raft guide!". It broke my heart to tell her no since I had my family to take down the river, but in that moment, I realized the powerful position I was in to inspire other little girls to live a life full of adventure. I have been reminded many times since then that being a woman in the outdoor industry is a vulnerable and also powerful position to be in. I hope I can continue showing other girls and women what is possible, as well as lifting up other young women in the industry.

My Lucky Charm

I have a tiny sparkly unicorn I keep in my PFD.

Favorite River Tradition

At the beginning of trips, I usually say a quick thank you to the river and ask for safe passage for myself and everyone else on the trip.

I Can’t Live Without

Probably coffee; when I'm guiding, I take it with just a little bit of honey. True love is waking up on your boat and finding that someone has already filled your mug, and it's sitting there waiting for you.

Meet me on these adventures

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