At an altitude of 7,700 feet, Western's campus among the Colorado Rocky Mountains in Gunnison, is beautiful and inspiring- this valley is a destination for a different kind of lifestyle. You'll find many ways to test your limits in this breathtaking and rugged alpine playground. Our quaint mountain towns are safe and relaxing, and offer something for everyone. Crested Butte is known as Colorado's “last great ski town” and is the official Wildflower Capitol of Colorado not to mention it is only 30 miles from Western's campus.
Only minutes from campus is some of the world's best powder for skiing, granite faces for bouldering and climbing, a whitewater park perfect for kayaking, and miles of trails to hike and mountain bike.
At Western State College of Colorado, you will have an unmatchable opportunity to extend your academic experience beyond the classroom. Our environment in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is beautiful, inspiring and motivating. Live in paradise, get your degree, change your life!
Rafting, kayaking, boating, sailing, windsurfing, mountain biking, cycling and world class fishing are all within minutes of Western. As part of the Center for Outdoor Leadership, Western's Recreation and Outdoor Education majors annually host the Gunnison River Festival which includes kayak races, climbing competitions, food and music.
The 1.7 million acres of the Gunnison River Territory encompasses some of the wildest and most beautiful terrain in the world- perfect for getting out and enjoying the wilderness.
Western is a quick 30 minutes from some of the nation's best skiing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and Monarch Mountain ski resort. Enjoy the light-dry powder that Colorado is known for, without long lift lines and ski traffic.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort has 1,125 acres with 15 lifts, including 3 high-speed quads, and 121 trails. Beginners and intermediates find exceptionally varied terrain. Expert skiers know Crested Butte for its phenomenal backcountry area which offers the most lift-accessible extreme terrain in the country. Site of the U.S. Extreme Skiing Championships, this terrain was called “the best adventure skiing in Colorado” by Powder Magazine.
Monarch Mountain is 45 minutes from campus and sits on the Continental Divide, which means great powder days. They are known for some of the best tree trails in the state and offer 800 acres of skiable terrain including Mirkwood Basin for extreme enthusiasts and backcountry snow cat skiing.
Nordic skiers will also find outstanding trails, some that are right in Western's backyard. Snowmobiling, ice skating, hockey and ice fishing are also great winter activities.
Western State College of Colorado has one of the nation's most innovative outdoor education programs in the country. Our Wilderness Pursuits Program (also known as WP) offers students the chance to explore the region in a safe, non-threatening and affordable way. Wilderness Pursuits Staff are current students, all with incredible expertise and some great stories to tell. Some recent examples of trips include:
Check out WP's wiki site for some great photos, stories and inspiration.
Small Mountain Communities
Gunnison and Crested Butte both have Art Centers providing theater, music, dance, galleries, community classes, concerts, movies, special events and festivals. Enjoy the many annual festivals including the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, Reel Fest Film Festival, Art in the Park, Cattleman's Days and various Music Festivals.
Living here also provides great opportunities for world class outdoor races and events. Compete in the, 24 Hours in the Sage mountain bike race, Crested Butte to Gunnison Mountain Air Marathon, or the Crested Butte Land Trust's Caddis Cup Fly-Fishing Tournament.
The valley offers many dining options from breweries to fine dining as well as great small town mountain shopping in boutiques, galleries and recreational outfitters.