Learn to lead outside the lines

Picture of a compass on a white background

Turn your passion for adventure into a fulfilling career path

Discover the power of experientially based adventure education while you learn how to teach skills, develop your leadership style, and build community with like-minded adventurers. Surrounded by mountains, deserts, canyons, and rivers, the FLC AE program presents a classroom like no other, and an opportunity to dig deeper into your strengths through research, internships, and collaboration.

Durango: Basecamp for Adventure Education in Colorado

Drive two hours from Durango, and you’re either heading up a 14,000-foot mountain or diving into an unbelievable sandstone canyon. In the winter, you’ll learn wilderness travel in the snow, ski mountaineering in the San Juan Mountains. In the spring, you’ll explore the canyons of the Southwest, and in the fall, the Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado’s largest roadless area, is at your doorstep.


Eli Shostak, Instructor of Adventure Education

"We’re surrounded by incredible outdoor classrooms. Our faculty turn amazing landscapes into experiential learning labs. From technical expeditions to intrapersonal explorations, our people and places are perfect for our program."

Academic Rigor

Adventure Education (AE) is a rigorous program in which students learn to become teachers, leaders, and professionals. As a major you’ll take classes indoors and out, learn backcountry skills, intern in the industry, immerse yourself in an all-AE semester, conduct and present research, and collaborate with local organizations to solve real problems.

Skills courses

Whatever professional path you follow, to work in the outdoor industry, you’ll need technical skills to keep yourself and others safe, and in many cases, to teach these skills to others. Take classes including:

  • Telemark skiing
  • Mountaineering
  • Rock Climbing
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Canyoneering


See all the AE courses
Immersion semester

Five 200-level courses are taken together in the fall as a block. These courses include Wilderness Expedition, Adventure Leadership, Teaching Methods for Adventure Education, a Wilderness First Responder certification course, and a fifth course that changes year to year. Block prepares AE students for all subsequent courses with a foundation of logistics, risk management, group management and facilitation, and teaching methods.

A note on Immersion

During the immersion semester, students are unable to enroll in other courses, and it could impact availability for some co-curriculars. This arrangement can also affect Transfer students with regard to credit transfer.

Email us with questions


The trail ahead

FLC Adventure Ed students taking a group of elementary school children snowshoeing

Several AE courses include partnerships with local organizations in the outdoor industry. This not only exposes students to the realities of work in this field, but creates direct personal relationships with the people in those organizations.

Additionally, AE students present their research at regional conferences held by the Association of Experiential Education, and complete an internship as part of our program.

FLC Adventure Education graduates often create careers in:

  • Wilderness therapy
  • Outdoor school instruction
  • Adventure Ed program design
  • High school education
  • Public lands management
  • Outdoor recreation guiding