Snowcapped mountains with trees under purple and pink star-filled night sky

Great Colleges If You Want to Live in the Mountains

If you're exploring your options and like the idea of being one with nature in college, consider these great colleges and universities in the mountains.

Breathe in the fresh air. Take in the glorious views. Watch the sunset over the peaks. This could be you every day if you attended a college or university in or near the mountains. And lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of them right here! Location is a huge factor for many students when conducting their college research, and why shouldn’t it be? You’re going to be there for at least four years, so you should go somewhere you feel comfortable and happy. If the wilderness is your thing, then check out these colleges that are all within less than an hour of a mountain (or a few). The best part is you can explore them further by clicking on any name or logo to visit the school’s CollegeXpress profile or press the green “Connect me” button to request information directly from this page—then they’ll reach out to you via email with more information. Happy college hunting! 

Appalachian State University

Appalachian State UniversityAppalachian State University is a public coeducational university with multiple campuses in Boone, North Carolina—95 miles from Winston-Salem and 100 miles from Charlotte. App State sits on a 1,300-acre campus surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, which attracts outdoor enthusiasts year-round for hiking, skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, and much more. The University offers 150 bachelor’s degrees and 70 graduate programs through the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Fine & Applied Arts, and Health Sciences as well as the School of Music.

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Colorado Christian University

Colorado Christian UniversityColorado Christian University is an interdenominational Christian university in Lakewood, Colorado—just 10 miles from Denver. CCU’s 26-acre campus provides easy access to downtown Denver, offering arts and sports scenes, and extreme outdoor adventure opportunities in the Rocky Mountains. The University’s 8,579 students pursue 100 majors, minors, and emphases while also benefitting from ministry hours, first-year discipleship groups, and student-led mission trips.

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Colorado State University

Colorado State UniversityColorado State University is a public land-grant university in Fort Collins, Colorado. CSU’s 586-acre campus offers over 300 days of sunshine per year and access to 35,000 acres of natural areas, 48 city parks, 10 miles of river, and 315 miles of bike lanes and trails in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The University’s 27,218 students benefit from over 70 undergraduate majors, over 100 graduate programs, and hundreds of concentrations to choose from as well as a 17:1 student-faculty ratio.

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University of Alaska Fairbanks

University of Alaska FairbanksThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public institution with a main campus in Fairbanks, Alaska—just 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Designated as a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution, UAF’s 2,250-acre campus sits only four miles from downtown Fairbanks as well as a 15-minute drive from mountain trails and snowboarding and ski slopes. The University’s 6,000 students can choose from 142 degree programs and benefit from an 11:1 student-faculty ratio as well as the surrounding wilderness that offers endless opportunities for research and fieldwork.

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University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado BoulderThe University of Colorado Boulder is a comprehensive public university in Boulder, Colorado—27 miles northwest of Denver. CU Boulder’s 600-acre campus sits at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, offering unique opportunities for research in focus areas such as Bioscience and Environmental Sciences, plus opportunities through the Outdoor Program for group adventure trips. The University’s 31,820 students can choose from 150 fields of study as well as more than 300 campus and community organizations.

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University of Idaho

University of IdahoThe University of Idaho is a public comprehensive land-grant institution in Moscow, Idaho—90 miles southeast of Spokane, Washington. U of I’s 1,354-acre campus and University farm are situated directly between the rolling Palouse hills and Moscow Mountain. The University’s 10,791 students benefit from 94 bachelor’s programs to choose from and opportunities to get in the lab or studio for hands-on research from their first semester on campus.

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University of Vermont

University of VermontThe University of Vermont is a public comprehensive institution in Burlington, Vermont—just 90 miles south of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. UVM’s 460-acre hilltop campus overlooks Burlington to Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains beyond, offering the forests, farms, and spirit of Vermont as a vast learning opportunity. The University’s 10,700 undergraduates choose from over 100 bachelor’s programs and benefit from unique learning opportunities like 500 study abroad programs in 70 countries.

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Western Washington University

Western Washington University logoWestern Washington University is a public comprehensive university in Bellingham, Washington. The 223-acre campus is situated on a hillside between the mountains and the bay, offering some of the most popular ski areas in the region. The University offers its 16,121 students over 175 academic programs as well as class sizes of 27 students on average, where professors strive to make personal connections with their students. 

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Not sold on attending college in the mountains? Check out these awesome schools by the beach instead, or browse colleges by other interests and locations with all our featured college lists.

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