Why High Mountain Institute?

Students come to the High Mountain Institute to connect with nature, develop as leaders and critical thinkers, and discover education at its best. HMI is entering its third decade as a leader in inspiring confidence, teaching leadership, and supporting the academic growth of adolescents and young adults. We prepare ambitious, motivated students to take risks, collaborate with peers, communicate with people who hold diverse perspectives, and build trusting, affirming relationships. We strive to be one of the most important, defining educational choices our students will make during their lifetimes. From our campus high in the Rocky Mountains to the wilds of Patagonia, HMI takes students into the wilderness and fosters communities of shared responsibility, thereby creating the foundation for rigorous intellectual experiences. When nature and minds meet, extraordinary academic and personal achievement often follows.

Our Programs

High School Semester

High School Summer Term


Gap Semester

Adult Programs


Students come to HMI for life-changing experiences during a semester or summer of high school, or in the years immediately following for a semester of a gap year. Our teacher fellowship program works with college graduates beginning a career in education, and our Educators Expedition offers summer professional development for teachers and school administrators.

HMI at a glance

  • HMI is an accredited independent school and an accredited gap year provider
  • Approximately 150 students and 30 adults participate in HMI programs each year
  • HMI programs are a combination of exploration of the natural world with intellectual pursuits and intentional community
  • All students backpack at HMI, while students in certain programs also backcountry ski or rock climb
  • HMI awards $800,000 each year in need-based financial aid

HMI is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that welcomes students of diverse racial, ethnic, social-economic, and geographic backgrounds.  We are a fully accredited school through The Association of Colorado Independent Schools, The Association of Experiential Education, and The American Gap Association. Further, we are a member of The National Association of Independent Schools, The Semester School Network, The National Business Officers Association, and The Colorado Diversity Network.