Menu
The West

The West

“Mr. Brightside” – The Killers (2001, Nevada)

Learn more about the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

Big cities

Denver

State: Colorado

Population estimate: 704.000

What it’s known for: the Mile High City 

Denver gets its name from having the second highest elevation above sea level in the U.S.

Locals love: The outdoors

Famous for its surrounding Rocky Mountains, Denver is the biking capital of the U.S.

Salt Lake City

State: Utah

Population estimate: 1.3 million

What it’s known for: Jello

Salt Lake holds the title for most Jell-O consumed per capita.

Locals love: Eccles Theatre

This recently opened theater is a new option for locals and has plenty of shows each month.

Las Vegas

State: Nevada

Population estimate: 650.000

What it’s known for: The Strip

MGM, Cesars Palace, and the Bellagio are some of the big hotels and casinos that line the famous Las Vegas Strip.

Locals love: Downtown Arts District

If you plan a long trip to Las Vegas, take some time to leave the Strip and visit the Arts District. Here you’ll find shows, galleries, and the annual Las Vegas Film Festival.

Boise

State: Idaho

Population estimate: 230.000 

What it’s known for: The Big Idaho Potato

Boise is the proud home of the four-ton Big Idaho Potato, which also travels across the country.

Locals love: River Greenbelt

Along the Boise River, this recreational and alternate transportation area is full of parks, theatres, and other attractions.

Cody

State: Wyoming

Population estimate: 10.000

What it’s known for: Buffalo Bill

This charming town is the gateway to Yellowstone National Park and was founded by the famous Buffalo Bill.

Locals love: Hiking and horseback riding

Surrounded by nature, it is easy to see why this little town has kept its old-world charm and has become a destination for outdoor activities. 

Road Trip Worthy

Las Vegas, Nevada

You cannot travel through Nevada without stopping in the City of Lights. Commonly referred to as just Vegas, this city has something for everyone from casinos to shows to art. 

 

Located in the middle of the desert, anyone who passes through marvels at its buildings, specifically on the Strip. Here, you can find famous casinos such as Caesars Palace, Bellagio, or The Cosmopolitan. This once deserted area now serves as a continuous show of lights, music, games, and fun. 

 

Although you may think Vegas is just a casino resort, there is so much more than just gambling. There are plenty of shops and delicious restaurants scattered around the city, making it a great destination if you love good food and outlets. Nightly shows are also available and offer everything from magicians to musicians to street performers. With entertainment available for all tastes, this is the perfect place to enjoy sunny days, the movement of people, and the light-filled streets.

 

If this is not enough to spark your curiosity, then take a drive to Area 51, located about two hours outside of Las Vegas. Famous conspiracy theories have all involved Area 51, and you can definitely see why when you visit. 

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Few travelers have had the pleasure to say they have been able to experience the most incredible mountain ranges on the planet. The Rockies is a mountain range that extends more than 4,000 kilometers, starting in the northern part of New Mexico and ending well above the border with Canada. 

Impressive as it may be, many of the most common attractions or destinations are located in the state of Colorado. 

 

Is it cold? Then why not go skiing in the well-known ski resort of Aspen. 

 

Is it warm? Then feel free to take your pick: 

 

a) Hike through the Rocky Mountains to see wild animals such as deer, snow rabbits, elk deer, and rare birds. 

 

b) Go tubing or rafting down one of the many rivers that flow out of the Rockies. Don’t miss your chance to let the water take you away under the warm sun. 

 

c) Bike up or down the mountain. Home to the biking capital of the U.S., Colorado cities and parks are waiting for you to enjoy a relaxing or thrilling bike ride.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The first national park in the U.S., Yellowstone has never stopped amazing those who visit. If you are passionate about wildlife, Yellowstone is never going to disappoint. Year after year, you can join others as they view its migratory animals come and go. Bison, bears, wolves, deer and migratory birds all travel to these incredible forests and grasslands for food and reproduction. Yellowstone is considered to have its own Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem due to the hundreds of rare and endangered animals that have been recorded to migrate here and the presence of rare plants native to the park. This unique ecosystem has been brought Yellowstone recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

 

It is not only famous for its animals and plants, however. The park sits on top of the largest super volcano in the world, and more than half of all the world’s geysers are in Yellowstone.

 

The most popular geyser you can visit is Old Faithful, an unforgettable spectacle definitely worth seeing. Be sure to pass through Cody, Wyoming, on your way to Yellowstone to learn a bit more about the history of this preserved region.

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park is located in the southwestern part of Utah and is home to Zion Canyon that is a spectacular 24 kilometers long with an average height of 800 meters. This beautifully diverse area is home to plants, countless bird species, and surprisingly more than 19 species of bats. 

 

The park has archaeological remains from Native American tribes who used to call this area home. It is believed the first settlers arrived to this area around 8,000 years ago. Similarly, Mormon groups who wanted to have their own communities, moved here at the end of the 19th century. This is significant because it was this reason the park was named Zion. It was believed it would attract a larger number of visitors than perhaps an unfamiliar Native American name. 

 

There are many attractions within the park, but one which is noteworthy is Keyhole Canyon. This canyon was created by the erosion caused by rainwater over the course of centuries. It leaves behind a reddish colored rock with sophisticated formations and curves. This rock, in addition to the little light that enters the top of the canyon, makes for an incredible visual experience that you should not miss on your visit.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, Colorado

Commonly known as simply Red Rocks, this open-air concert hall carved within the rocks is only 16 kilometers from the city of Denver. It has been widely recognized by musicians and rock bands as one of the best concert halls worldwide. 

 

The beauty of the amphitheatre is not the only attraction. Every year summer concerts are held in the evening with world-famous bands attending each year. Some big name performers who have been on stage at Red Rocks include Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles, U2, and Imagine Dragons. 

 

Make your way to Denver this summer to enjoy the perfect combination of music and nature at this immense rock formation. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to see some of your favorite artists in a location that is simply one of a kind. 

Las Vegas, Nevada

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Zion National Park, Utah

Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, Colorado

Words & Expressions to Know ​

  • N’nat: A shorter way of saying “and that.” Used typically in Wyoming, this expression is used at the end of sentences.
    • “We could go get some coffee after lunch n’nat.” 
  • Oysters: When travelling through the Rocky Mountains, be careful when ordering “‘oysters”. Here it refers to fried bull testicles, so order them at your own discretion.

  • Sluffing: This is a term used in Utah to describe the action of “not going to class or school”. 

  • “We, at Epro 360, hope you do not sluff and attend all your classes throughout the year.”

Regional Cooking

The West has a particular cuisine within the United States that relies heavily on the meat and fish native to the area. This includes beef, bison, trout and bass. It is also known for its “farm to table” mentality when it comes to produce; fresh ingredients or vegetables are always in the mix. To this, locals add spices and flavors influenced by Europen, Asian, and Mexican cooking styles. This creates a diverse range of flavors. When ordering beef, for example, it may come in the form of a burrito, meatloaf with mashed potatoes, or even as more expensive charcuterie and crudités.

A few popular dishes that you can’t miss are:

  • Chimichanga: This typical meal consists of a deep fried burrito. The burrito can be filled with your own choice of ingredients, usually chicken or pork with a mix of vegetables and cheese. Once fried, it is not uncommon to add some extra cheese on top, making your mouth water just by looking at it. 
  • Green Chilli: This traditional Colorado dish is made with chicken or meat, vegetables, and a mix of spices that create a spicy soup-like dish. This is a local  favorite, as there is an annual competition to find the “best” green chilli. When in Colorado, be sure to ask for this instant classic to warm your belly! 

Chimichanga

Green Chilli

Attractions

Boise River Greenbelt, Idaho 

What better way to view the city of Boise than by biking along the river? The River Greenbelt is a 30-kilometer, bike-friendly path on both sides of the river. The Greenbelt is a local favorite as its clean and maintained pathways are ideal to get out of the city and enjoy the tranquil and nature-filled surroundings. You can follow the path out of the city to neighboring towns and admire the man-made elements along the trail such as ponds, rapid waters for rafting, and open-air concert halls. 

Monument Valley – Utah/Arizona border

It is impossible not to think of Monument Valley when anyone mentions a Western film. This site is known for its standing rock formations that jut out of the land in a unique way. Few if any places provide a sense of admiration and wonderment as Monument Valley. If driving near Utah or Arizona, this is a must-visit attraction that is great for professional photos or the perfect selfie. As it is in an isolated location, be sure to plan ahead and make hotel reservations if you wish to spend the night close by. Availability is limited and there will be few options for last minute travelers. 

Oregon Trail – Multiple states 

Although the trail ends in Oregon, the majority of this trail passes through Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, and Utah. The now called Oregon trail was one of the original routes immigrants used to reach the West. It is believed that over a span of 50 years, more than 400,000 newly arrived Americans followed this trail to reach their destination. Farmers, miners, ranchers, fur traders, or business owners gathered together in wagon trains on this difficult journey to the West. Today, you can walk along sections of the original trail and see historic parts of this route. Important sites include Fort Laramie, Independence Rock, historic graves, and plenty of natural beauty. 

Climate

The climate throughout the West is dry and hot in summer. However, winters are extremely diverse, depending on the location. For instance, Denver is a wonderful place to be if you enjoy cold winters and hot summers. This is why so many people enjoy living in Colorado as it gives the opportunity to practice abundant snow-related sports in winter and outdoor or water sports in summer. 

If cold weather is not for you, then we suggest you stay between Utah and Nevada. In many of these states, it is common to practice outdoor sports, such as golf or hiking in the middle of winter, as temperatures are known to be mild. 

Our Preferred Universities

We would like to present a list of our favorite universities located in the West.  We have taken into consideration factors such as the quality of the education, the ratio of students/teachers, % of international students on campus, work on campus opportunities, etc..

University of Colorado Denver

Most significant Rankings: #205 in National Universities, #19 in Best College Locations in America, #57 in Best Colleges for Public Health

Number of students: 15.586

Statistics after graduation: The Median Earnings 6 years after graduation is $56.400/ year. 90% of the students are employed 2 years after graduation.

Insights and Advantages: Although the University of Colorado Denver is well known for their impressive healthcare programs, students can choose from more than 130 areas of study. Each field of study combines the innovation and academic excellence you look for in your education. 

The campus itself sits in an urban location which holds plenty of opportunities for hands-on experience for your major as well as opportunities to simply get out and enjoy your college experience.

University of Wyoming

Most significant Rankings: #183 in National Universities, #99 in Top Public Schools, #137 in Best Colleges for Math in America

Number of students: 9.791

Statistics after graduation: The median earnings 6 years after graduation is $47.300/ year. 93% of the students are employed 2 years after graduation.

Insights and Advantages: Not only is The University of Wyoming home to unique mountainous  landscapes, but the school also offers unique academic programs. Students can earn academic credit through outdoor leadership programs in which students can go exploring in courses such as Alaska Mountaineering, Himalaya Backpacking and Baja Sea Kayaking. It’s no wonder why the university mascot is an adventurous cowboy!

Colorado Mesa University college football

Colorado Mesa University

Most significant Rankings: #25 in Regional Colleges West and #6 in Top Public Schools

Number of students: 9.459

Statistics after graduation: The median earnings 6 years after graduation is $36.800/ year. 89% of the students are employed 2 years after graduation.

Insights and Advantages: Colorado Mesa University is the largest university located in Western Colorado. The school prides itself on serving as the main cultural and academic center the region. They believe in and encourage the exchange of ideas that are of regional, national and international importance. With this belief the university fosters an open and student focused learning environment.

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

Most significant Rankings: #113 in Most Diverse Colleges in America, #147 in Best Business Programs, and #118 in Best Big Colleges in America

Number of students: 25.279

Statistics after graduation: The median earnings 6 years after graduation is $45.000/ year. 90% of the students are employed 2 years after graduation.

Insights and Advantages: The University of Nevada—Las Vegas, also known as UNLV, is located in the entertainment capital of the world. The university uses this to their advantage by allowing students to thrive in one of the most visited destinations in the U.S. which brings lots of business. Because of this, the city and university are able to work together to provide students with many positions for internships and a variety of job opportunities.

University of Montana, the main hall

University of Montana

Most significant Rankings: #201 in National Universities, #92 in Best College Athletics, #127 in Business Programs

Number of students: 9.323

Statistics after graduation: The median earnings 6 years after graduation is $35.500/ year. 90% of the students are employed 2 years after graduation.

Insights and Advantages: The University of Montana is said to have one of the most scenic campuses in the U.S. In a survey, students were asked to describe their school in one word or phrase. The most common response was “Gorgeous.” Because of the gorgeous scenery, a number of the programs at the University of Montana combine academia with experiential learning in the great outdoors. The University of Montana was also honored along with only 80 other colleges in the U.S. as a “College with a Conscience.”

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

Most significant Rankings: #113 in Most Diverse Colleges in America, #147 in Best Business Programs, and #118 in Best Big Colleges in America

Number of students: 25.279

Statistics after graduation: The median earnings 6 years after graduation is $45.000/ year. 90% of the students are employed 2 years after graduation.

Insights and Advantages: The University of Nevada—Las Vegas, also known as UNLV, is located in the entertainment capital of the world. The university uses this to their advantage by allowing students to thrive in one of the most visited destinations in the U.S. which brings lots of business. Because of this, the city and university are able to work together to provide students with many positions for internships and a variety of job opportunities.