With a beautiful campus, endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, and a laid-back campus vibe, it’s easy to see why the University of Utah consistently lands in our pool of finalists in the annual Elevation Outdoors Top Adventure School poll.

Take a look at what draws outdoor-loving students to this adventure school each year.

Where to Play:

A major draw for potential students at this university, is the world-class ski resorts less than an hour away. The University of Utah offers discounted lift tickets to students, making it more accessible for students to shred the Beehive State’s legendary powder in between classes. In the summer, the area offers up ample opportunities for river rafting and other water sports and Moab, an iconic outdoor adventure destination, is only hours away. The Outdoor Adventures program at Utah offers climbing, snowshoeing, canyoneering, ice climbing, camping, and many other trips throughout the year.

For students looking to stay closer to campus, the University of Utah’s hometown of  Salt Lake City is a hub for biking, hiking, and canyoneering, all located just minutes from the city center.

“I think one of the coolest aspects at the U in regards to outdoor recreation is our location,” says Keith Howells, a graduate assistant for the outdoors program. “We’re only a few hours from some of the best national parks in the world. Our backyard is some of the best ski resorts and backcountry you can ask for. You can do any sport you want to on the weekend. It’s super easy to access some of the world’s best recreation landscapes from the U’s campus.”

Photo courtesy of the University of Utah

Photo courtesy of the University of Utah


Every good adventurer knows it’s important to adhere to leave no trace principles, and students at the University of Utah are no exception. The university’s sustainability center has many educational programs as well as campus green teams. These groups work on promoting a more environmentally responsible campus. Students can study and earn degrees and certificates in sustainability as well. The University of Utah is also a research hub and helps to coordinate academics and research about climate systems.

Campus Culture:

The best part of the University of Utah might be the people that go there. The beauty of the state is not lost on students at Utah, and their passion for the outdoors helps transform them into more thoughtful individuals.

Trip leader Alysa Edwards remarks, “Being in the outdoors is both an adventure and a time for reflection and personal growth. The scenery of these wild places and the people I explore them with constantly inspire me to become a better climber, explorer, steward, and friend.”


Photo courtesy of the University of Utah

Photo courtesy of the University of Utah


Another trip leader, Haysun Choi, says that her adventures at the University of Utah have allowed her to meet amazing people, and “volunteering with them in awe-inspiring places has expanded my desire to explore, communicate openly, live vibrantly, and collaborate with and listen to others. Accessibility to wilderness and belonging in a community are some of the greatest benefits I have felt from being a student at the U.”


Are you a fan of this top adventure school? Cast your vote below for the University of Utah and your other favorite schools in our annual Top Adventure School poll.


Top Adventure School