About river logs

River logs are important to keep. They’re handy for reviewing runs from your previous notes. They have sentimental value. And they’re helpful and usually required when you apply for river guiding positions.

Source: The New York Times

There are a few different styles of river logs. A common one is a classic physical journal. Another is a calendar where you can write notes on your runs. A third is state-issued, such as this PDF from Colorado. And finally, there are spreadsheets, which are the most popular type today.

No matter the style, river logs all have the same basic information: Trip launch date, the section paddled, and the rivers flow. Including pertinent information beyond these three items is simple, and these often are the whitewater rating, mileage, length of trip, and notes.

While the above are all easy to understand, notes can give you the most data on remembering runs. Adding notes is a good place to list trip participants, and if there were swimmers and where, to name a few. Another helpful item is noting how different river flows change rapids or features such as “the left line is good to go at 1,200 CFS”. It doesn’t have to be bland though, you can add personal remarks, such as “celebrated Mom’s 50th birthday!” or anything you like. It may seem obvious, but if you are submitting your river log to an employer, browse through these notes and remove any personal information.

Use our template

We’ve built out a ready-to-use river log template that is available to save to your own Google Drive, or as an Excel sheet. It includes date, river, section, flow, rating, miles, days, boat type, and notes. It also adds up your river days and miles and has a last-updated function too. Customize it to your liking. 

To download it or save it to your own Google Drive, open this link and then click “File” and then “Save to Google Drive”.


Screenshot of our ready-to-go, river log that you’re more than welcome to use or modify. Click the image or here to access it.

Have a suggestion?

Do you have a suggestion or comment on how to improve our river log? Or do you use a different system entirely? Let us know in the comments.

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