Colorado Rocky Mountain School

5.00 5 1 (8 reviews)
500 Holden Way
Carbondale, CO 81623
Colorado Rocky Mountain School Photo #1 - With 160 students, relationships are at the core of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School experience. This close-knit community resides on a 320-acre historic ranch, at the confluence of two rivers and base of Mount Sopris, providing not only an outdoor learning laboratory but a launch point for boundless outdoor adventure.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School Photo #2 - We provide endless opportunities to experience a broad range of mountain sports such as skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and kayaking this exposure to the outdoors helps our students to develop life-long passions.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School Photo #3 - As a small school, relationships are at the core of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School experience. Our faculty members are not only teaching classes but are mentors in our outdoor and active program in addition to serving as dorm parents.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School Photo #4 - Learning at Colorado Rocky Mountain School also means heading into the great outdoors three times a year. Our outdoor trips focus on the natural areas near the school for hiking, biking, climbing, and river sports.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School Photo #5 - From assisting in the garden or kitchen to making mugs in ceramics or trail building to repairing bikes or skis, you will positively contribute to the Colorado Rocky Mountain School community through service.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School Photo #6 - Robotics is one of several computer science offerings here at Colorado Rocky Mountain School.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School Photo #7 - At Colorado Rocky Mountain School, we focus on inclusion and access. All students have the opportunity to try a new sport or take their passion to the next level. Whether you are a beginner or ready to join our state championship climbing or mountain biking teams - there is a place for everyone!
Colorado Rocky Mountain School Photo #8 - The culture of music is organic and permeates so much of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School community. In addition to music classes, students can perform during All School Meetings, Coffee Houses orjam with teachers and peers during free time.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School Photo #9 - Whether discovering your creative side for the first time or wanting to pursue an art career in college and beyond, Colorado Rocky Mountain School enjoys a robust and unique range of offerings including glassblowing, blacksmithing, silversmithing, printmaking and more.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School Photo #10 - 100% of Colorado Rocky Mountain School graduates are admitted to 4-year colleges and universities.
  • Colorado Rocky Mountain School is an independent boarding and day school that challenges students to excel in an academic curriculum balanced within a program of the arts, athletics, physical work, service to the community, and enriching wilderness experience.
  • A college-preparatory curriculum taught by a committed residential faculty prepares students to enter the wide range of selective colleges and universities.
  • The 320-acre campus, located on a historic ranch outside of Carbondale, Colorado, makes this the ideal place for wilderness and experiential learning opportunities as well as a variety of mountain and river sports.

School News

  • Connected to the Community - 02/05/2020 - Colorado Rocky Mountain School fosters long-standing relationships with the Aspen Valley`s most impactful organizations

    It`s no secret that Aspen is home to some of the best outdoor opportunities in ...morethe world, but the valley that connects Aspen to Glenwood Springs - and Colorado Rocky Mountain School - is also home to world-class organizations that focus on the arts, environment, social justice and everything in between. Here are just a few of the ways students at CRMS benefit from these communities, both in and out of the classroom: hide
  • CRMS partners with Aspen Valley Land Trust - 01/24/2020 - CRMS partnered with Aspen Valley Land Trust to work on a Riparian Restoration Project on the north end of campus. 
  • An Individualized Approach to Mathematics - 01/24/2020 - Most high schools in the United States require all students to take algebra, resulting in a daunting spectrum of skill levels in the classroom. For math teacher Peter Benedict, that ...morechallenge came to a head several years ago with then-freshman Toby Meyer. hide
  • Tick Ridge Gets a Facelift - 11/21/2019 - Tick Ridge is a private parcel of CRMS land paralleling the school on the other side of the Crystal River. The property includes a new CRMS garden plot as well ...moreas over 3.5 miles of stacked loop trails. The trails start on the valley floor along the Crystal River and traverse meadows and pinyon-juniper woodland up 300 feet in elevation to the ridgeline and mesa above, which offer spectacular views of Mount Sopris and the Crystal Valley Ranch. The trails are used formally for the Oystermeister running race and informally by CRMS runners, winter athletes in dryland training, faculty looking for a quick workout, and an occasional mountain biker willing to navigate sketchy sections and tight switchbacks up to the top. hide
  • Student Spotlight on KDNK - 11/14/2019 - Student journalist Sarah Teague '20 joined KDNK station manager Gavin Dahl on Booked to talk about student publication The Olive Branch, her summer academy at The New York Times, and ...moreher column in The Sopris Sun entitled "To Trust the Media, Youth Must Help Shape It."Listen here to the entire interview. hide
  • Music and the Art of Its Education - 11/06/2018 - According to the National Association of Music Merchants, (The Namm Foundation), music has a biological effect on the developing nervous systems in children. The more one practices and plays, the ...moremore the neurons in the brain fire away paving new neural pathways. The brain grows, creating the strengthened circuitry that can end up benefitting one`s speech, language, reading skills, and overall learning. hide
  • Life in the Dorms - 09/13/2018 - For nine months out of every year, Colorado Rocky Mountain School is alive, filled with students tapping into their exceptional possibilities, working together, planning adventures, and for more than half ...moreof the student body living together. hide
  • Native Culture and CRMS - 03/29/2018 - The history of Native American culture of the Southwest has been incorporated into the CRMS learning experience since its founding days. These experiences were so powerful for alumni that ...morein the 1990s they stepped forward to support the creation of two scholarships for Native American students. The school continues to cultivate this connection today and has a special decades-old relationship with one family in particular. hide
  • Teaching with a Purpose - 03/15/2018 - A school is measured to a significant degree by the quality of its teachers.  CRMS ensures that the school can recruit and retain passionate and high-quality staff. 
  • The Teenage Brain - 03/01/2018 - The adolescent years are one of the most dynamic and often messy times in our lives as it is during these years the adolescent brain and body are reorganizing. During ...morethis time, the brain is going through a process in which it strengthens its connections from back to front, leaving the prefrontal cortex (the area where reason is located and often known as the "CEO of the brain") for last. The sequence makes evolutionary sense as it allows the prefrontal cortex to remain adaptable to its environment and allows for new ideas and learning that potentially will ensure that person's survival out in the world. hide
  • Oystermeister builds community among student-athletes - 02/27/2018 - What makes a school special? Beyond academics, it is the nurturing of a community, a place where traditions and ritual take hold and bring students and faculty together. At CRMS, ...moreteachers and students not only share in the learning and living experience but look also to bonding experiences through music, the outdoors and athletics. hide
  • Happiness - 02/27/2018 - As a nation, we seem more obsessed with being happy than at any time before, and research would suggest that this pursuit of happiness has only made us unhappier. It ...moreis a paradox that I am aware of, and yet, as a parent and educator, if I could desire one thing for my children and any student at our school, it would be health and happiness above all else. Complicating the matter, the notion of one's happiness does not come in a can that can simply be opened and distributed in short; we can't make our child happy. hide
  • CRMS returns to Climbing League State Championships - 02/27/2018 - The Colorado Rocky Mountain School Oysters are hoping for lucky numbers 7 and 3 this weekend in Colorado Springs, where CityROCK Climbing Center will again host the Colorado High School ...moreClimbing League State Championships on Feb. 24. If the Oyster boys come out on top, it will be their seventh championship in a row. If the girls do the same, they`ll be celebrating their third such victory. hide
  • Forging a new heritage along Rio Grande ArtWay - 02/27/2018 - magine having an entire week to dedicate toward an out-of-the-box intellectual pursuit - something you`ve always been interested in learning more about but for which you could never find the ...moretime. Every February, Colorado Rocky Mountain School ensures its students get just such a week in what the curriculum calls Interim. This year, seven students and one Spanish teacher opted to spend their week at the Francis Whitaker Blacksmithing School on the CRMS campus. They all left having created something permanent, both for themselves and the community: many of the student-crafted sculptures are destined for DeRail Park, one of three parks that are in the works along the Rio Grande ArtWay. hide
  • Needed: Native Doctors (Alumni spotlight: Yolandra Gomez Toya '84) - 02/27/2018 - Dr. Yolandra Gomez Toya `84 is emphatic "Native American communities need our help because there`s so much work to be done to make those communities healthy." 
  • more

Alumni Reviews
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  • Review Description
  • Currently finishing High School
    One aspect that CRMS has is that we are a very outdoors school. This means that twice a year we have trips into the wilderness based on the type of sport your interested in. This. . .
  • n/a
    One especially unique part of CRMS are our mandatory after-school activities-- twice a week, you have a Work Crew (internal community service), and twice a week you have an Active (intramural or team sports). Students. . .
  • N/A
    The atmosphere that CRMS has is one that values outdoor education as much as indoor education. We get outside in the wilderness more than any other school that I know of. . .
  • Show more reviews (5 reviews)

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Colorado Rocky Mountain School is listed among the top 10 schools with < 200 students (out of 93 schools) for:

Definition of Terms
 | 2020 School Data
Colorado RockyBoarding School Avg.
School FocusCollege PrepCollege Preparatory
Grades Offered9-129-12
School TypeCo-edCo-ed
Religious AffiliationNon-denominationalNon-denominational
Year Founded19531907
Campus Size320 acres125 acres

Student Body

Enrollment160 students310 students
% Students of Color
% International Students
% Students Boarding
Average SAT Score1250* National Avg. »View
Average ACT score26*National Avg. » View
Offers Post-Grad YearNoNo

Academics and Faculty

Saturday ClassesNoNo
Classroom Dress CodeCasualCasual
Average Class Size12 students12
*National School Avg. » 20
Teacher : Student Ratio1:51:7
# of AP / Advanced Courses Offered518
ESL Courses OfferedYesYes
% Faculty with Advanced Degree
Summer Program OfferedNoYes


Endowment Size$17 million$23 million
Yearly Tuition
(Boarding Students)
(Financial aid is available on the basis of need.)
Yearly Tuition
(Day Students)
(Financial aid is available on the basis of need. )
Yearly Tuition
(5 Day Boarding)
% Students on Financial Aid
Avg. Financial Aid Grant$29,600
(Financial aid is awarded on the basis of need. )
Merit Scholarships OfferedNoNo


Application DeadlineFeb. 1 / rollingJan. 15
Accepts Standardized ApplicationYesNo
SSAT RequiredYesYes
Average Percentile SSAT63%-
Acceptance Rate
Director of AdmissionsMolly Dorais
Associate Director of AdmissionsJulie Wiley

AP / Advanced Courses

# of AP / Advanced Courses Offered518
CoursesAP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP English Literature, AP Environmental Science, AP US History


# Interscholastic Sports Offered1716
SportsAlpine Skiing, Climbing, Cross Country, Cross Country Running, Cycling, Equestrian, Freestyle Skiing, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Mountaineering, Nordic Skiing, Riding, Rock Climbing, Snowboarding, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis


Total Extracurricular Organizations1224
ExtracurricularsWinter Travel

Club or Organization:
Community Service Club, Diversity Club, Peer Tutoring, Recycling, River Watch, Student Government

Arts and Music Programs:
Blacksmithing, Ceramics, Drama Production, Glassblowing

Recreational Athletic Programs:
Frisbee Golf

College Matriculation

Year: 2009 - 201310 Most Popular College Choices  (# Enrolled)
Univerity of Colorado at Boulder23
Colorado College6
Lewis and Clark College6
University of Puget Sound6
Whitman College5
Bowdoin College3
Santa Clara University3
University of Denver3
University of Oregon3
University of Vermont3
Link to Matriculation Data

School Notes

  • Our Mission: Colorado Rocky Mountain School cultivates a learning environment in which students discover their potential to excel as individuals, contribute to their communities, and participate thoughtfully in the world we share.
  • Academic Curriculum: Our academic curriculum features rigorous college-prep academic and visual and performing arts classes, with an emphasis on classroom discussions, hands-on work, and research and study. Our unique active curriculum embraces our afternoon work crews and sports, as well as backcountry trips.
  • Arts Curriculum: Visual and performing arts are an integral part of life at Colorado Rocky Mountain School. Together classes and experience in the arts enhance our students' abilities to enjoy and excel in all parts of our program. Students can try their hands at hand at blacksmithing, silversmithing, painting, drawing, photography, ceramics, music, drama, and much more.
  • Residential Curriculum: Boarding students live in age-specific, single-sex residences where they are cared for by dedicated residential faculty. Our six dorms are small for an independent school, with some housing as few as 11 students. Students here quickly feel part of a caring and supportive environment. We encourage our students to develop lasting friendships with each other and to get to know their teachers as mentors and role models.
  • Outdoor Program: We believe that the classroom must open out onto the world, that a scholar's life should encompass action as well as quiet study. In a tradition as old as the school, our students and faculty spend 21 days in the backcountry each year.
  • College Counseling: We offer a comprehensive college-counseling program to guide you and your parents through the complex process of applying for college. Through our college planning handbook and regular meetings with our college counseling staff, we'll work with you on a year-by-year plan. Some of our recent graduates have been accepted to Dartmouth, Pamona College, Smith, Swarthmore, Middlebury, Wellesley, New York University, Princeton, the University of Chicago, and Colorado College.
  • Colorado Rocky Mountain School accreditations: ACIS, AEE, TABS, NAIS, WBSA, SBSA
  • Sample of notable school alumni/alumnae:
    • Oliver Platt '78 - attended CRMS for three years. After graduating, he majored in drama at Tufts University where he made his professional debut on stage. His credits include: “Flatliners” (1990) as Randal Steckle; “Indecent Proposal” (1993) with Robert Redford/
    • Conrad Anker ’82 - is a leading figure in climbing. He is a professional mountaineer who has made breakthrough first ascents throughout the world, from the Himalayans to Antarctica, and Patagonia. He co-authored the book “Lost Explorer.”
    • Susan Meiselas ’66 - is an internationally acclaimed photojournalist. She has been published in Time, the New York Times, Life, and Paris Match. She earned a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. in visual education from Harvard University.

Profile last updated:

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  • School Location Miles Grades Students
  • Grades: 9-12 | 240 students 142.7 miles6155 Fountain Valley School Road
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    (805) 684-4127
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