Best colleges in the Mountains. The bold, the tough, the adventurous, even the hardheaded and eccentric, have always been drawn to the mountains for some reason. Where are the universities for those who wish to forge their own path, discover their own path, or simply study in a setting where they are surrounded by the majesty and untamed? Innovative thinkers and iconoclasts are drawn to the mountains, and there are mountain colleges all across the Union that are creating a space for them, from the lush Appalachians in the East to the rocky Rockies in the West. For outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, biking, climbing, and skiing.
Since mountain areas have traditionally been isolated and rural, universities have had to work especially hard to provide locals with the knowledge and skills they require. However, there are advantages to this, and community engagement is one of the best ones of the best mountain colleges. Because they have to work harder to reach the people, mountain colleges typically have a strong sense of place and community, whether in the form of service, partnerships, or outreach.
Many of the institutions included in the Best Mountain Colleges ranking are renowned for the opportunities and culture they bring to their communities, from social mobility and employment to the preservation of regional folk culture (even helping students pay for their education).
Of course, the opportunity for outdoor adventure leisure is one of the key aspects that attracts students to the greatest mountain institutions. One thing that almost all of the distinctive and distinctive colleges in the highlands have in common is that they all have robust outdoor programs. Some offer majors and degrees in fields like outdoor recreation and adventure leadership (something you can’t accomplish with an online degree), while others are student-led, formally sanctioned, or directly integrate outdoor recreation and activities into their curriculum.
The top mountain universities are perfectly positioned, whether students prefer to view snow-capped mountain peaks from their dorm room windows or spend their weekends working off steam hiking and kayaking. They are mountain colleges, not just colleges in the mountains.
Also Read: Learn About 21 Tech Companies in Jacksonville, Florida
Best colleges in the Mountains
Dartmouth College, one of the nine Colonial Institutions established before to the American Revolution and one of the oldest colleges in the country, is a top-tier Ivy League research institution. Initially established in 1769 with the goal of educating Native Americans in the Christian faith, Dartmouth has grown to play a crucial role in the education and culture of New Hampshire. Even though it is a Carnegie Foundation research university, Dartmouth maintains the “college” appellation to clarify its aims.
With little over 6000 students, Dartmouth is the smallest of the Ivy Leagues. One of the top mountain colleges in the country, Dartmouth is a highly selective, outstanding undergraduate institution with a rich, ancient tradition.
Dartmouth is a leader in student outdoor recreation thanks to its location in Hanover, New Hampshire, the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and one of the best little college towns in America. The Dartmouth Outing Group was established in 1909 and is the first student outdoor recreation club in the country. The Appalachian Trail passes directly past the Dartmouth campus. With over 1500 students and equally as many non-student members, the DOC provides a wealth of opportunities for recreation, education, research, and volunteer work. One of the most responsible institutions in the Appalachian Mountains, the DOC also looks after 50 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
Washington and Lee University, one of America’s first colleges, was established in 1749 as a classical academy. It bears the names of Robert E. Lee, who transformed the academy into a liberal arts college during his presidency following the Civil War, and George Washington, whose endowment saved the school from bankruptcy in 1796.
Due to its long history, WLU is usually named as one of the best universities in the mountains and is listed among the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Washington and Lee University has also been acknowledged by Forbes for its influence on the labor market; thanks to its extensive alumni network and deep roots, WLU graduates have more than adequate support as they enter the workforce.
Washington & Lee University is heavily involved with mountain life and is situated in the Shenandoah Valley, one of the most beautiful and well-liked tourist attractions in the Appalachian Mountains. Students at WLU mostly engage in outdoor sports for recreation, including hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing on the numerous rivers and streams.
Students can easily access some of the most scenic sites in the area, including the Shenandoah National Forest, Shenandoah River State Park, the Appalachian Trail, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, by taking a short drive. Washington and Lee University, one of the top mountain and outdoor universities, helps students develop a connection with the natural world.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s extension campus, one of the two polytechnic universities in the California State University system, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, was founded as a separate university but has since established itself as one. The second-largest campus in the CSU system, Cal Poly Pomona was once a boy’s technical high school but is now home to various gardens and the Voorhis Ecological Preserve. One of the best regional institutions in the West, Cal Poly Pomona is renowned for its academic and research prowess and has been reported to have one of the greatest ROI values in California.
Although it may surprise you, Cal Poly Pomona is among the greatest mountain universities in the United States. Los Angeles County is home to some of the world’s most diverse landscapes. Pomona, a suburb of California, is the hub of the Pomona Valley, at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, and CPP students can access the Angeles National Forest within a short drive. Overlooking the city is Mt. San Antonio, also known almost entirely as Mt. Baldy. The Outdoor Adventures program at Cal Poly Pomona offers courses and excursions like a hike to the renowned Bridge to Nowhere in the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s one of the greatest mountain universities in California for students who enjoy the outdoors.
Middlebury College, which was established in 1800 in the Vermont town of Middlebury, was always intended to be known as the Town’s College, a moniker that highlights Middlebury’s strong sense of place and belonging. Middlebury College is a refuge for mountain recreation and outdoor adventure as well as community involvement and preservation. It is situated in a valley between the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks.
Middlebury, which has consistently been listed among the top ten national liberal arts colleges by publications like U.S. News, is renowned for its devoted alumni base, as well as for its standing in the area and its positive effects. Additionally, it’s one of the top institutions in the mountains that is committed to the region.
Middlebury invests heavily in its mountain environment. In actuality, the Bread Loaf Mountain Campus in Ripton, Vermont, is home to the Middlebury College Snow Bowl, the school’s own ski mountain, as well as the Bread Loaf School of English, a renowned graduate program and the renowned Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
The Robert Frost Farm, a National Historic Landmark in Ripton, is another property owned by the institution. Every year, the Middlebury Mountain Club, a vibrant student club that has been around since 1931, organizes trips that include hiking, camping, rafting, and other outdoor activities. All of this contributes to Middlebury’s reputation as one of the premier outdoor and mountain institutions.
Read Also: Guide on Answering ‘What’s the most valuable thing you learnt in your last role?’ Interview Question
Bates College, a prestigious university with a long history, is located in the Androscoggin River Valley, at the base of the Appalachian Mountains in Maine. It consistently ranks among the top 25 liberal arts colleges in the US. The first coed college in New England, Bates was established in 1855 and is renowned for its rigorous academic standards and admissions standards.
Bates is renowned for its campus culture, which is characterized by its numerous unusual and distinctive long-standing traditions, like the yearly Puddle Jump, which marks the end of winter (students cut a hole in the ice of Lake Andrews and leap in). Bates University has a reputation for academic excellence, producing the majority of US Fulbright Fellowship holders.
One of the first coed clubs in the US was created at Bates College in 1920, which is known for its central location with nearly equal distances between the mountains and the shore. The Bates Outing Club, which is still run by students, organizes trips for them to go on in Maine’s mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes. Even Bates College has a mountain, albeit one that is only 200 feet high.
More than 20,000 hikers visit the 600-acre Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area each year, which is protected by Bates College, the St. John Family, and local government. It is open to the public for 8 months of the year and is available to Bates students for research and pleasure.
Appalachian State University, one of the most admired mountain universities in the country, epitomizes what it means to be a college in the mountains: intensely connected to the locals, the environment, and the culture. In order to offer education to a distant area that was just starting to open up, the citizens of Boone, North Carolina, organized a grassroots movement that resulted in the founding of Appalachian State University in 1899. As a public institution with more than 18,000 students, Appalachian has never forgotten that vision and continues to be committed to serving the needs of the Appalachians and its residents.
Appalachian is a notable institution for outdoor enthusiasts and is ranked among the top 10 regional universities in the South by U.S. News. A university in the middle of the Appalachians, in a town with the name Daniel Boone, could not possibly be anything else. The ASU Outdoor Programs takes students whitewater rafting, hiking, caving, rock climbing—everything that can be done in the mountains around Boone—with the goal of leveraging adventure for learning and personal growth.
Among its various Residential Learning Communities, ASU even has an Outdoor Community where students interested in leadership, education, and outdoor activities can live and work together. Mountain living and academic life are essentially one and the same at Appalachian State, which exemplifies what it means to be a mountain institution. Appalachian is the gold standard for universities in the mountains of North Carolina.
Brigham Young University, one of the most distinctive private research universities, consistently ranks among the top national universities as well as one of the best mountain colleges. With approximately 33,000 students, 99% of whom are Mormons from throughout the world, BYU is the top Latter-Day Saints university in the world. It was founded in 1875. BYU is regarded as one of the most active institutions, known as much for its devoted campus culture as for its outstanding academics.
Utah’s cultural epicenter, BYU, and its students have a strong commitment to civic engagement. Overall, because of the Mormon emphasis on health (no alcohol, caffeine, or narcotics) and Provo’s extremely active culture, BYU is regarded as one of the safest, happiest, and healthiest campuses in America.
The campus of BYU is located in Provo, Utah, in the picturesque Utah Valley along the Wasatch Range, where mountain climbers can find a haven. One of the best states for outdoor recreation is Utah, and BYU has long been recognized as a premier institution in the mountains.
BYU Outdoors Unlimited is a campus store that was established in 1982 to offer low-cost options for purchasing and renting equipment to students, professors, and locals. BYU provides all the resources students need to conquer the mountains, including bicycles, kayaks, camping gear, and climbing apparatus. Numerous student organizations, such as the BYU Outdoor Adventure Club, plan outings and other events to keep students as outdoors as they possibly can.
Whitman College, one of the oldest colleges in the Pacific Northwest and one of the most prominent in the country, has its roots in a seminary that was established in 1854. Whitman is consistently ranked among the top 50 national liberal arts institutions and is renowned for its strong study abroad program, international student body, and academic quality. Whitman University is proud of its 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, which provides students with a high level of guidance and support, but the school is also pleased with its 1:1 student-to-tree ratio on its 77-acre arboretum campus. More than 70% of Whitman students, who are deeply entrenched in Walla Walla, participate in volunteer work each year.
At the base of the Blue Mountains, Walla Walla is among the safest and nicest cities in the country, as well as one of the top destinations for outdoor activities, where Whitman students are completely engrossed. One of the top colleges in the mountains, Whitman College has an outdoor program that takes students on trips to various parts of the Blue Mountains and Washington State for hiking, skiing, kayaking, ice climbing, and even snowshoeing.
This program keeps students active almost every weekend of the academic year. Whitman is one of the best – and most responsible – universities in the mountains. Beyond leisure, the Semester in the West program takes students out every other fall semester for field research in conservation and social justice.
The colleges in the NC mountains are among the best in the country, school for school, according to rankings. One of several excellent public universities in the mountains of North Carolina that are a part of the renowned University of North Carolina System is Western Carolina University. WCC was first established in 1889 as a community academy by the locals of Cullowhee, North Carolina, during a period when the Appalachians lacked many public institutions.
The community school was so successful that it was able to train instructors for the state’s public school system and, as Western Carolina grew, it served as a model for the state’s regional university system. WCC is consistently regarded as one of the best regional universities in the South and continues to prioritize the needs of the Appalachians.
Students are lured to Cullowhee by Western Carolina, one of the top institutions for outdoor life, which is located in the heart of North Carolina’s Appalachians. With research efforts like the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity and Ecology Center and the Mountain Heritage Center luring academics from all over, WCC is a center for both study and pleasure in the mountains. Through Base Camp Cullowhee, which arranges classes and excursions for activities like rafting, climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, and more, Western Carolina also promotes outdoor leisure. Western Carolina University, one of the greatest mountain institutions in the country, is obsessed with the mountains.
The University of the South consistently ranks among the Southern Ivies and is in the top 50 liberal arts colleges in the country, making it one of the most esteemed universities in the region. Despite the fact that Sewanee was established in 1857, the Civil War delayed the private university’s opening for ten years. But once it arrived, Sewanee swiftly gained a reputation as Tennessee’s best institution of its kind and developed into a major academic and cultural center.
The 13,000 acres of Sewanee’s campus (also known as The Domain or The Mountain), located in the Cumberland Plateau at the foot of the Appalachians, are nearly totally unspoiled, making it one of the country’s most picturesque campuses. Sewanee is also a model of sustainability and conservation.
Sewanee is a student’s dream who loves the outdoors, with 12,000 acres of undeveloped terrain and the Appalachian Mountains at its back door. Students are taken on weekly excursions by the Sewanee Outing Program across The Domain and beyond, with activities like canoeing and kayaking as well as hiking and backpacking. More than 50 miles of trails are available in The Domain alone, including the 20-mile Perimeter Trail, which gives students access to caves and rock-climbing sites immediately on campus.
Students may experience the great outdoors without breaking the bank thanks to the SOP’s low participation costs, free equipment rentals, and the option for free camping in the Domain for both students and teachers. Sewanee, one of the top institutions in the mountains, exemplifies how to enjoy outdoor activities.
FAQS on Best colleges in the Mountains
What draws students to mountain colleges?
The potential for outdoor adventure leisure is one of the primary aspects that attracts students to the greatest mountain institutions. One thing that almost all of the distinctive and distinctive colleges in the highlands have in common is that they all have robust outdoor programs. Some offer majors and degrees in fields like outdoor recreation and adventure leadership (something you can’t accomplish with an online degree), while others are student-led, formally sanctioned, or directly integrate outdoor recreation and activities into their curriculum. The potential for outdoor adventure leisure is one of the primary aspects that attracts students to the greatest mountain institutions. One thing that almost all of the distinctive and distinctive colleges in the highlands have in common is that they all have robust outdoor programs. Some offer majors and degrees in fields like outdoor recreation and adventure leadership (something you can’t accomplish with an online degree), while others are student-led, formally sanctioned, or directly integrate outdoor recreation and activities into their curriculum.
What are the top mountain colleges in the United States?
Whitman College, one of the best colleges for mountaineers, provides students with an outdoor program that keeps them active almost every weekend of the academic year with trips to locations all over the Blue Mountains and Washington State for hiking, skiing, kayaking, ice climbing, and even snowshoeing.
What are the Best Colleges near snowboarding Mountains?
Rochester, New York, had 69.6 inches of snow during the winter of 2020–21. The University of Rochester, a highly regarded private institution, is among the best institutions near snowboarding mountains like the well-known Bristol Mountain. From late November to early April is ski season, and it can get congested.
Where is Bates College?
Bates College, a prestigious university with a long history, is located in the Androscoggin River Valley, at the base of the Appalachian Mountains in Maine. It consistently ranks among the top 25 liberal arts colleges in the US.
The mountain state region of the United States boasts a variety of higher education alternatives while having a relatively low population density. Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming were chosen as the Mountain States region’s colleges and institutions, together with Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada.
One of the biggest public colleges in the nation and a little Christian college with fewer than 200 students are among my top choices. Here, you’ll find some well-known institutions as well as a few lesser-known ones. Based on criteria including retention rates, four- and six-year graduation rates, student involvement, and value, the colleges and institutions listed below were selected.
Recommended for you: