Proximity to the most visited national parks that offer tent and backcountry camping and the price of attendance were among the criteria used by the website College Values Online to develop the rankings. Closer proximity and lower price equaled a higher national ranking.
In its profile of WCU, the website noted that the university is just a 40-minute drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, adjacent to Nantahala National Forest and less than a two-hour drive from Pisgah National Forest. According to the profile, “When you’re not busy studying or working in an internship, you can join in the [activities] offered by Base Camp Cullowhee, WCU’s outdoor program. It offers the tallest collegiate climbing wall in North Carolina, roll clinics and reduced-price trips. Plus, with over six miles of single-track trail right on campus, you won’t be bored or out of shape during your college years.”
WCU is one of two higher education institutions in the eastern U.S. that made the list, with the remainder of the schools being located in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Washington.
Last spring, WCU was named the “top adventure college” in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions for the fourth year in a row through an online readers’ poll conducted by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine.
The full list of “best value colleges” for hikers, climbers and campers can be found at this website.