Ashley Brown

Professional River Guide
Where did you grow up?

Jensen, Utah

Where do you call home now?

Crested Butte, Colorado

Year started at OARS?


What’s the best part of your job?

Sharing my love of the great outdoors with people who may or may not already have an appreciation for nature. Seeing people open up to each other and the river is incredibly rewarding.

Tell us about your favorite rapid, hike or camp and what makes it special

To try to think of just one “favorite” place is incredibly difficult, but I am partial to camping at Mather Hole on the Yampa. It seems that it has rained, sleeted or snowed on me on every Yampa trip I have ever done, and standing under the enormous overhang at Mather Hole and watching waterfalls pour off of the surrounding sandstone cliffs makes the cold and wet worthwhile.

Do you have a lucky charm or special river tradition?

My brother gave me a pirate rubber ducky a few years ago and I named him J-Dub, after John Wesley Powell. He has been on every Grand Canyon trip with me and I rely on him to show me the way through the rapids, and he typically does a better job than the real John Wesley.

What can you not live without on a trip?

Skirts. Sun protection while boating, chafe free hiking, or just changing out of nylon river shorts at the end of a long day, skirts are versatile and comfortable. One of my best pieces of clothing is a down skirt that I wear almost every morning in Idaho. It’s like stepping out of my sleeping bag into another sleeping bag.

Fun fact, special talent or favorite guiding memory

I came from a boating family: my mom was a guide in Grand Canyon before joining my dad at Colorado Outward Bound School where they were river program directors, many of my aunts and uncles and cousins have worked as guides, my sister and brother-in-law worked for COBS, my other sister still guides occasionally in Dinosaur National Monument, and my little brother is the head river ranger in Dinosaur National Monument.

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