Outdoor Recreation Leadership: Earn a Hands-on Outdoor Recreation Degree in the Colorado Mountains

Follow your passion — live and learn at the highest elevation campus in the U.S.

Follow your passion into the mountains, canyons, and rivers of the American West. As you earn your AAS in Outdoor Recreation Leadership, you will learn wilderness skills and build confidence in technical outdoor situations. We emphasize low-impact techniques for responsible environmental stewardship, as well as human skills for effectively leading groups in unique, outdoor settings.

Real-world courses expose you to technical skills, including mountaineering, emergency medicine, rock climbing, snow travel, avalanche safety, and whitewater rafting. CMC students are in high demand for outdoor jobs as raft, ski, & climbing guides, park rangers, therapeutic instructors, wilderness program managers, and outdoor educators.

Specialized Training

Learn outdoor leadership skills with pack on or paddle in-hand. You will practice leading and following others while traveling on high mountain peaks, glaciated valleys, the canyons of the Southwest, wild rivers, and beautiful desert environments. Earn industry standard certifications like Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace trainer, swiftwater rescue, and more.

Associate Degree Program

You can earn an associate degree in two years. Our hands-on approach to learning Outdoor Recreation Leadership prepares you to enter the job market immediately following graduation or stay right here and complete a bachelor’s degree in Sustainability Studies or Business Administration.

Mountain learning, mountain living in Leadville, Colorado

Leadville, Colorado is the place if you love the outdoors. Our campus in Leadville specializes in outdoor and environmental programs in a spectacular mountain setting. With over 250 acres, the campus has miles of cross country ski trails that are maintained by students in the Ski Area Operations program.

Our residence halls offer spectacular views of the two highest mountains in Colorado. Classrooms feature state-of-the art technology and computer labs. There's also a cybercafe/bookstore.

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Outdoor Recreation Leadership Program


  • Risk management
  • Recreation programming
  • Group development
  • Leadership theory
  • Communication & conflict resolution
  • Leave No Trace

Program News

Autry Lomahongva

Autry Lomahongva
Class of 2022

“I am learning all that I can from the instructors so I can go back to where I come from [Northern Arizona’s Four Corners region] and help the native youth get out and learn of their surroundings. I will try to instill a sustainability method so that I, them and the next generations that will follow can still enjoy the outdoors experience.”