College Campuses for Students Who Love The Outdoors

College Campuses for Students Who Love The Outdoors

College Campuses for Students Who Love The Outdoors


With college applications due this month, high school seniors everywhere will need to soon be making decisions about where they want to spend the next four years of their lives. While some kids are looking for the party atmosphere, smaller classes, or a diverse campus, other students are looking for opportunities to get outside as much as possible. If you’re one of those students who loves hiking, backpacking, and even camping with your new buddies, then perhaps you should check out one of these colleges:

Colorado State University

Nowadays, more and more people are moving to Colorado to escape the urban life and be closer to the outdoors. Prospective students can have that chance too, by applying at Colorado State University. Not only does the school have specific programs designed for people who want to study the environment, but they also provide students with easy access to hiking trails. Only an hour away from Rocky Mountain National Park, 15 minutes from Horsetooth Reservoir, and well over 300 miles of bike trails and hiking trails in the town, this is an awesome school.

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Evergreen College

If the name isn’t enough to intrigue you, Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington, is literally surrounded by nature. Nearby is Puget Sound where there’s dozens of hiking trails and opportunities for adventure, but most head to Olympia National Park which is just an hour away. In fact, this whole campus is dedicated to majors that involve helping the environment, and when you’re not too busy learning how to support it, you can take a break on the 1,000 acres of forest trails situated right on the campus.

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Hawaii would no doubt be a dream to study at; a place where you can literally be in paradise while you study. Though Hawaii of course has great weather and beautiful beaches, there’s also some of the country’s best hiking trails, volcanoes, lakes, and endless opportunities to connect with nature. Consider checking out the University of Hawaii if you want a different kind of college experience.

Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University in Arcata, California is perfect for anyone looking to have a career that involves being outside, such as Wildfire Management or Wilderness First Response. While a lot of your learning will take place in the classrooms on the gorgeous campus, students get take advantage of all there is to do nearby. The campus sits close to Redwood National Forest, as well as a variety of mountains and beaches with hiking trails in every direction. There’s a rock wall on campus, but many students will choose to head off campus to climb, hike, canoe, kayak, surf…anything!

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Montana State University

Montana State University is this state’s agricultural college, and it’s no wonder why. The campus is right in the middle of wide open wilderness, being hugged by mountain ranges. There’s trails here that are walking distance away which eventually lead to Yellowstone, and you’re also close to Glacier National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Getting involved on campus here means going off campus to explore the outdoors, to other states, and even other countries. It’s also a great place to ski in the winter!

Ithaca College

If the nearby Ivy League, Cornell isn’t quite one of your target schools, then consider Ithaca College. Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, here students can expect to find plenty of gorgeous gorges, lakes, mountains to hike, and beautiful scenery to make you put off that studying for just a few more hours. Robert H. Treman State Park is nearby, where you can explore trails, waterfalls, and some of the best outdoor adventures there are for the student who loves being outside.

University of Colorado

If you aren’t interested in Colorado State, then you come to Boulder and attend the University of Colorado. Boulder is a popular destination for backpackers and the campus here does a good job of promoting outdoor activities. And, how can it not? With a trail leading to the Flatirons just a few minutes’ walk from campus ,as well as Boulder Creek running through it all, there isn’t much that you can’t do here when it comes to being outside. There’s 42 state parks nearby, national parks, tons of biking trails, and you don’t even need to go home for the holidays since the best winter sports are right here!

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University of Vermont

The University of Vermont in Burlington is an absolutely beautiful place to go away to school if you want to explore much more than just your potential career options. There’s tons of gorgeous hiking areas surrounding the campus, including Lake Champlain. The university also has a decades-old outing club, which takes students away from their studies for day hikes and longer backpacking trips. People who come here fall in love immediately, and you probably will too!

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Paul Smith’s College

Paul Smith’s College was brought to us by one of our Twitter followers and after about three seconds of research it wasn’t hard to see why. Nestled right in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains in Northern New York, this school has a ton to offer students who love all types of outdoor activities. To quote our friend from Twitter, this campus boasts “a maple syrup operation, the Visitor Interpretive Center and unlimited access to about 3 million acres of public forests, lakes and mountains”. Definitely sounds like a great option for outdoor lovers looking for a great college!

So, now that we know where the best campuses are for outdoorsy-people, is it time to go back to school yet?

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.