Approximately 7,500 people call Gunnison home. And, with more than 300 days a year of sunshine, our location provides a dynamic calendar of campus activities, amazing outdoor recreation and vast wilderness to explore. Pursue your passions or find new ones.

Wilderness Pursuits

Western adjoins national forests, canyons, mountains and rivers. It’s an adventurer’s paradise or a great place to tap into your inner explorer. Either way, there are limitless outdoor opportunities in the Gunnison-Crested Butte area.

Take advantage of our access and opportunity to form new friendships while backpacking in one of our nearby wilderness areas, snowshoeing, kayaking or experiencing an adrenaline rush rock climbing. Our Wilderness Pursuits Program (also known as WP) offers you the chance to explore the region in a safe and affordable way.

Wilderness Pursuits staff are current students, all with incredible expertise and some great stories to tell.


Skiing, Skating & Snowboarding

Active community clubs keep cross country skiing trails groomed all winter. Check out the trails at Hartman Rocks, Mill Creek or the Crested Butte Nordic Center.

You can also experience some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country at nearby Crested Butte Mountain Resort (30 minutes) and Monarch Mountain Ski Resort (45 minutes). Crested Butte is known to have some of the most extreme terrain in the U.S.

Speed skating enthusiasts consider heading out the Blue Mesa as soon as ice forms or you can skate on a rink that the Park Service maintains during good ice years. Gunnison is home to two public skating rinks and a hockey rink.

Hiking, Biking & Climbing

Take a leisurely stroll or tackle part of the Colorado Trail which skirts Gunnison County. You can also take advantage of the trails immediately behind our campus for some Frisbee golf or trail running.

The Gunnison Forest is home to many designated wilderness areas. You can find a remote mountain lake or search out one of trailheads to 10 of Colorado’s 14,000 ft. peaks that are within a two hour drive of Gunnison.

Mountain biking is a great way to explore the area. Hartman Rocks, just a five minute drive from campus has more than 60 miles of single track and jeep roads covering nearly 8,200 acres. Rides vary from rolling hills through sage brush and slick rock formations to cottonwood groves. Whether it’s a thigh-pounding mountain biking adventure or a mellow ride on a bike path, Gunnison and Western’s campus are accessible and very bike friendly.