The 20 Best Colleges for Hikers
The 20 Best Colleges for Hikers

The 20 Best Colleges for Hikers

Education and recreation meet on these campuses, with thriving outdoor programs and nearby trails and mountains.

Jackie Bannon (University of Wisconsin-Madison, ’17) & Carolyn Webber (University of Utah, ’17)

hiking colleges

A CU hiking club member scrambles in Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Range

Call it Adventure U: At these 20 colleges and universities, students live outdoor lives as vibrant as their academic ones, backpacking and climbing their way through nearby wilderness with strong outdoor programs.

Want to know how we picked ’em? Check out our rubric.

#20 University of Colorado Boulder

Boulder, CO
Enrollment: 30,789

The Rocky Mountains begin just up the street, and students don’t take their location for granted. In one of the most active cities in the nation, students run, bike, hike, climb, long board, and in-line skate among the 45,000 acres of open space and mountain parks in the county. Never laced up a pair of hiking boots? No sweat. Attend one of the Outdoor Program’s workshops like Ultra Light Backpacking Techniques or visit the Adventure Planning Center for trip-planning guidance. In winter, hit the slopes with Boulder Freeride, the largest collegiate ski club in America, which offers a fall camping trip (200 students and a DJ included).

Proximity to the outdoors: 4.8 | Culture: 3.3 | Academics: 3.0

Total: 3.7

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