Outside University: 25. University of Idaho

Moscow, Idaho

University of Idaho.   

First thing to know: Don’t mispronounce the name of this college’s town. The last syllable is “coe,” not “cow.” Also, the quaint village hosts a bunch of quirky events including an annual hemp fest.

Put a toe over the city’s western border and you’ll be in Washington—the nine-mile trail that connects Moscow and Pullman (home of Washington State University) is popular among cyclists and hikers. Moscow’s an easy drive (about 50 miles) from Idaho Panhandle National Forest—but attire yourself correctly. This is the Pacific Northwest, so the chance of rain is always: probably.

On campus, classes that can be taken for credit include “Outdoor Leisure Pursuits,” “Professional Involvement in Recreation,” and “River Reading and Whitewater Safety.” Dozens of academic courses require fieldwork, especially if you’re majoring in agricultural systems, American Indian studies, fishery resources, hydrology, plant science, or rangeland ecology. There’s also a minor called “Outdoor Recreation Leadership.”

In case you’d prefer to get your hit of sky and soil separate from your curriculum—and in case you’re as poor as college students usually are—get in on I.U.’s affordable (and sometimes female-only) trips. Offerings include whitewater kayaking ($30), sailing ($55), mountaineering ($70), and weekly mountain-biking excursions (just $4).

The equipment available to borrow is pretty stellar: sleeping bags and tents, skis and snowboards, catarafts and climbing gear. One-day rentals typically price in the single digits. (Need a pair of La Sportivas? That’ll be $3.50.) And a climbing center offers classes for all skill levels, plus a rock wall with a 55-foot pinnacle.

CONTACT: (888) 884-3246, uidaho.edu
STUDENT BODY: 9,330 undergraduates, 1,850 graduates
TUITION: residents $6,212, nonresidents $19,000, room and board $7,682

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