The Valley

Western Colorado University is tucked in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains within the gorgeous Gunnison Valley, which serves students as both a backyard laboratory and outdoor-adventure playground.

Main Street in Gunnison, Colorado - Photo by Bill Bonebrake

Campus is situated in the City of Gunnison, otherwise known as the Base Camp of the Rocky Mountains. At an elevation of 7,700 feet with a population of 6,300, Gunnison offers a friendly small-town feel and an abundance of recreational opportunities—mountain biking, paddling, fishing, hiking, climbing, hunting, camping, snowmobiling, trail running and more—for which tourists travel thousands of miles to enjoy.

Just 28 miles to the north is the Town of Crested Butte, affectionately known as the Last Great Colorado Ski Town. At an elevation of 8,900 feet with a population of 1,600, Crested Butte offers world-class skiing in the winter—alpine at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Nordic in a town-wide network and backcountry in the West Elks. In the warmer seasons, spectacular wildflowers, colorful festivals and magnificent trails attract visitors from across the globe.

Crested Butte - Photo by Matt Berglund

In addition to the abundance of opportunities for outdoor recreation, both Gunnison and Crested Butte offer plenty of culture. Browse the many art galleries in historic downtown buildings. Gorge on dozens of films (and popcorn) during the four-day Crested Butte Film Festival. Savor the western way of life (and funnel cake) during Cattlemen’s Days, the “Granddaddy of Colorado Rodeos” that has been a Gunnison tradition for more than a century. And take in the sounds (and stars) at several local outdoor music venues, including the I Bar Ranch in Gunnison, The Center for the Arts in Crested Butte and the Quigley Band Shell on campus.

Both Gunnison and Crested Butte are located in Gunnison County. Nearly 80 percent of the county’s 3,239-square miles are federally owned between the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Curecanti National Recreation Area, including Colorado’s largest body of water, Blue Mesa Reservoir, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Come see for yourself! Lodging in the Gunnison Valley ranges from quaint B&Bs to hotel chains. Visit the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association website for lodging information.