Cottonwood canyons road Resources //
To help you navigate the Cottonwood Canyons, scroll down for a milepost location map, public transportation information, roadside parking, overnight parking information and other road resources.
Milepost Landmarks & Roadside parking
The interactive map below highlights the locations of the points and landmarks in each canyon that are often referred to in road status updates and alerts. The blue dots provide the name and a link to the Google Street View.
All visitors, especially those who do not have a vehicle that is equipped with proper traction devices or are uncomfortable driving in severe winter weather conditions, are encouraged to utilize public transit and shuttle services, delay travel, or carpool in a properly equipped vehicle.
UTA SKI BUS
Utah Transit Authority (UTA) ski service begins on Sunday, November 26, and will continue through Saturday, April 13, 2024 for the winter 2023-24 season.
Ski bus fare is $5.00, and some student and employee passes may not be applicable for use on ski buses. Ski bus fare is free with your season pass to Snowbird, Brighton, Alta and Solitude, as well as the IKON Pass.
The Park & Ride lots closest to the canyons are full by 8:30am on most days – including week days.
Best Days of the Week to Avoid Crowds: Tuesday – ThursdayBest Times of Days to Avoid Crowds: 11am – 3pm
Best Park and Ride Lots:
- Route 972 – Midvale to Solitude/Brighton
- 6200 S. Wasatch Blvd
- Route 994 – Sandy to Snowbird/Alta
- Historic Sandy Station, 9000 South 165 East
- 9400 South Highland Drive
To locate a bus, use the vehicle locator tool here. Visit the Ride UTA website and follow @RideUTA on Twitter for real-time updates on public transit.
Cottonwood Connect Shuttle
The Cottonwood Connect Ski Shuttle will begin service on December 22, 2023 and run through April 14, 2024 on weekends and holidays, pick-ups and drop-offs at several hotels and public park & ride locations.
- Reservations are required to ride the Cottonwood Connect
- Cost is $10 per rider, one way.
- Morning departure times are 7:00, 8:00, 9:30 and 10:30 am
- Return times are 2:00, 2:30, 4:30, and 5:00 pm
- See the route list below and schedule information in the reservation link.
- Reservations are first come, first served
Shuttle service provided by Wasatch Backcountry Alliance on Saturdays for drop off in the upper canyons.
- Reservations are required and accepted until 5:00 PM Friday evening.
- Cost is $10 for non-members and $5 for WBA members
- Parking and Pick Up: Butler Elementary School (7000 S 2700 E, Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121)
- Drop off:
- Little Cottonwood: Alta Lodge
- Big Cottonwood: Solitude & Brighton
#TravelWise in the Cottonwood Canyons
TravelWise is a set of actions that encourage Utahns and visitors to reduce energy consumption, optimize mobility and improve air quality – ultimately improving quality of life. So what are the actions that apply to the Cottonwood Canyons to relieve the “red snake” and prevent unnecessary car emissions?
- Follow @UDOTCottonwoods on social media for road status updates
- Download the UDOT Traffic App for statewide road conditions
- Check the Cottonwoods travel dashboard
- Check resort parking status and cameras
- Don’t travel alone, ride with your recreation partners
- Find new carpool buddies headed to the same location you are through the TravelWise website
- Find a Ride UTA park and ride lot to carpool from
- Wait for the next available ski bus
- Plan your travel route in the Ride UTA Transit app
- Use a shuttle service like the Cottonwood Connect or the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance backcountry shuttle
- Adjust your visit to outside of peak travel times (7-9 am, 3-5 pm)
- Leave early when snow is forecasted for the afternoon
- Leave early when there is potential for an avalanche road closure
- Enjoy a different recreation activity when traffic congestion is high
- Walk or bike to your destination in the canyons (when it’s safe to do so)
- Walk or bike to meet your carpool, shuttle or to the bus stop
PARKING IN THE COTTONWOOD CANYONS
ROADSIDE PARKING TIPS
Roadside parking in the canyons is permitted in designated areas, please check all posted signage before parking and leaving your vehicle unattended.
Salt Lake County has a fine structure in place to discourage illegal roadside parking in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. When roadside parking, all drivers are required to park to the right of the white line.
Each resort in the Cottonwood Canyons has individual visitor management policies and parking systems, please check before visiting.
Town of Brighton parking
Roadside parking reservations are required from Dec. 15 through April 14, 2024 on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and during holiday periods from ¼ mile above Willow Heights Trailhead to the Guardsman Road intersection on SR-190 in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Holidays are Dec. 22 – Jan. 1, Jan. 15 and Feb. 19.
The Town of Brighton has designated areas where it is illegal to park on the SR-190 roadside. Parking is permitted in designated reservation zones only. The fine for parking in a restricted area is $150 and will be issued to the owner of the vehicle. Vehicle tires must be parked completely to the right of the white line. You will receive a violation if you are parked in the road’s drive lane, even with a valid parking reservation.
There is no overnight parking permitted roadside in Big Cottonwood Canyon from 12 a.m. – 7 a.m. (with exception to the 20 early morning parking reservations starting at 6 a.m.).
**This map from the Town of Brighton is for general guidance purposes only. Accuracy is scale-dependent, and cellphone GPS is notoriously inaccurate at the scale at which parking occurs. Please verify parking availability using surroundings, signage, etc.
Before planning an extended stay in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, make sure you are familiar with overnight parking and what is and what is not allowed at your destination.
- Overnight parking DOES NOT = overnight camping (sleeping overnight in a vehicle).
- Overnight parking is when you leave your car parked overnight while you are in the backcountry (backpacking, peak scrambling, etc.) or inside a building (hotel/lodge).
Overnight camping/car camping/sleeping in your parked car overnight in a vehicle is prohibited within 1/2 mile of any road in the Cottonwood Canyons, with exception to designated campgrounds due to Salt Lake City Public Utilities watershed regulations. This order is effective 100% of the time. Avalanche danger is high in Little Cottonwood Canyon so there are locations where any parking is not allowed during the winter.
There are three designated overnight parking areas in the Town of Alta, Utah. Overnight parking in the town outside of these areas is prohibited.
There are seasons during which designated campgrounds in Big Cottonwood Canyon (Spruces, Jordan Pines, Redman) and Little Cottonwood Canyon (Tanners Flat and Albion Basin) are open and closed. Visit the Uinta Wasatch-Cache National Forest (UWCNF) Salt Lake Ranger District website for campground status updates. The USDA Forest Service also has a specific order which prohibits camping alongside the roadway on Forest Land.
WINTER WEATHER MAINTENANCE AND SNOW PLOW INFORMATION
UDOT strives to provide the public with safe and clear roads. There are a variety of factors that may impact the condition of a road, including:
- Rate of snowfall
- Type of snowfall
- Anti-icing strategies
- Weather forecasts
- Winter storm maintenance standards
Actual plow routes and equipment assignments are determined by UDOT’s District Engineers using the winter storm maintenance standards. Maintenance stations will provide normal services as soon as available resources permit during unusual or extreme winter conditions.