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Darran Wells

Professor of Outdoor Education and Leadership

Darran Wells

Contact Darran Wells

855-2076 Email


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I'm really passionate about all kinds of outdoor activity - hiking, climbing, caving and skiing, but mountain biking is a sport I dedicate most of my free time to."”


Darran Wells grew up racing mountain bikes with his father in Houston, TX. After graduating Magna Cum Laude in Philosophy from the University of Houston and completing EMT training, he joined the US Peace Corps and served two tours in Central Africa as a health education volunteer before returning to the states to become a full-time instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in 1999.
At NOLS, he taught mountaineering, rock-climbing, whitewater rafting, caving, backcountry skiing, and customized leadership development trainings in wilderness settings throughout the Western US.
From 2000 to 2005, Darran competed internationally in multi-day adventure races and appeared on television in Eco-Challenge, Primal Quest, and Global Extremes. In 2012, he wrote the second edition of his book, NOLS Wilderness Navigation, a how-to book on using topo maps, compasses, and GPS.
As a senior instructor for NOLS Professional, he led leadership training programs for the Wharton School of Business, NASA, and the US Naval Academy.

Darran completed his master's degree in Adventure Education at Prescott College in 2007 before taking over the Outdoor Education degree program at Central Wyoming College. In addition to outdoor skills courses, Darran teaches courses in the history and theory of experiential education, leadership development, outdoor teaching techniques, and natural resource management. Darran is a Wilderness First Responder and has volunteered for Fremont County Search and Rescue since 2000.


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  • Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy/English from University of Houston
  • Master of Arts in Adventure Education from Prescott College
  • Two tours with the Peace Corps in Central Africa
  • Accomplished multi-sport endurance athlete
  • Officer for Fremont County Search and Rescue
  • Author of NOLS Wilderness Navigation (Stackpole Books)