Wildland Guide Pay

Wildland Guide Pay

Learn about how Wildland guides get paid and how much they make

One of our goals at Wildland Trekking is to create a home for outdoor professionals who want to make a living guiding. It continues to be our focus as regulatory and practical considerations alter the landscape of what it means to be compensated as an outdoor guide in today’s world.

On this page we detail exactly how our field pay systems work, how much the guides make on average and other benefits that are included.

How Much Do Guides Make?

Wildland Trekking guides are paid by the hour. For guides who have only been paid by the day, it can be an adjustment moving to an hourly pay system. However, it is illegal for most companies to pay by the day, and hourly pay is the future of the guiding industry.

The hourly pay for Wildland guides is based on Staffing Levels: Entry Level to Level 5 as noted below. Newly hired guides to Wildland Trekking can bring up to 100 days of ‘Field Credit’ from previous outdoor adventure employment. We ask that new guides provide past employers with a field credit form that they can use to inform WTC of the number of days spent prepping and running trips for them. A guide with 100 credit days can start employment with Wildland upgraded from an Entry Level guide to a Level 1 guide with the associated pay increase.

After hiring, guides will increase in Staffing Level as they accrue field experience and/or additional jobs within the Wildland ecosystem.

GUIDE Pay Before Gratuities*

Hourly Rate Overtime Rate Avg. Daily Pay Range Average Daily Pay
Entry Level $10.50 ~$18.00 $152-$225 $194
Level 1 $11.00 ~$18.50 $159-$233 $202
Level 2 $11.50 ~$19.00 $167-$241 $209
Level 3 $12.00 ~$19.50 $174-$248 $217
Level 4 $12.50 ~$20.00 $181-$256 $225
Level 5 $13.00 ~$20.50 $188-$264 $232

* The above figures are approximate depictions of what daily compensation will average in 2022. The daily compensation ranges are estimates that take into account prep days, field days and de-issue days, are pre-tax, and are based on the hourly wage associated with each pay level times the number of regular and overtime hours worked on 3-7 day trips starting on different days of the week. Hourly wages and overtime calculations can change based on several variables; the above figures are estimates to provide a generally accurate example of 2022 field pay.

16 Hour Field Days

Wildland guides are paid for 16 hours per field day. If they work less, they are still compensated for 16 hours. If they work more, they are compensated for the additional hours. In this way, the Wildland system is able to mimic a daily pay system but still pay by the hour.


Guides accumulate many compensable hours while working. Below is a graph showing estimates of the total hours for different lengths of trips.

Prep Day + 3 Day Trip Prep Day + 4 Day Trip Prep Day + 5 Day Trip Prep Day + 6 Day Trip Prep Day + 7 Day Trip
58 hours 74 hours 90 hours 106 hours 122 hours

Compensation Varies Based on Overtime Accrued

Each work week ends on Sunday and starts on Monday, which resets the overtime. Because of this reset, the day a trip starts affects overtime accrual and consequently total wages, as does the total number of days of a trip. It is primarily because of this overtime fluctuation that we provide ranges of daily pay and averages vs. concrete figures.

The staffing team’s objective is to spread schedules out so that guides are assigned to trips starting on a variety of days of the week.


4-Day Trip Prepping On → Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Regular Hours 40 40 40 54 70 68 52
Overtime Hours 34 34 34 20 4 6 22
Total Hours 74 74 74 74 74 74 74


Gratuities are a significant and important part of a guide’s pay. The industry recommended gratuity amount is 10-20% of the trip cost. Gratuities are always optional and based on level of satisfaction. Wildland promotes tipping to the greatest extent possible while remaining tactful and professional. Field staff are not permitted to solicit tips in any way other than doing their best to provide an exceptional trip for their guests. Many trips field staff realize as much as 30-40% of their income through gratuities.

Important Note: new guides are required to shadow a senior guide on at least one trip. Trainee guides are not eligible for gratuities on shadow trips.