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Nestled in the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta is one the most popular and convenient access points for early morning human powered recreation in the Wasatch. While there are no USFS developed and maintained parking areas in Alta, Alta Ski Area has allowed use of its parking areas and private lands for backcountry skiers and other users. Growth in the Salt Lake Valley, coupled with an explosion in outdoor recreation, has resulted in more vehicles coming to Alta than available parking capacity on many early mornings. When more vehicles arrive than available early morning parking it interrupts snow removal operations, becomes a public safety issue, results in illegal parking, consumes parking areas allocated for other users and impacts ski area operations.

The increase of people desiring to use early morning parking in Alta has reached a tipping point and has necessitated management of early morning parking. As of December 18th, 2021, no parking will be allowed in Alta’s parking lots between midnight and 8am daily, except in the designated early morning parking area where parking will be allowed starting at 6am. Since demand is expected to regularly exceed the capacity of this early morning parking area, reservations will be required. This dedicated early morning parking area and reservation pool will allow a limited number of early morning skiers to continue to recreate in upper Little Cottonwood canyon during early morning hours after 6am.

  • Early morning parking reservations will be required:

    • Monday-Friday from 6-8am​

    • Weekends & holiday periods from 6am-1pm

  • Users with reservations must park in the designated early morning parking area and adhere to "Early Morning" signage.

  • Reservations for parking in the early morning parking area are not required daily after 8am except during Weekends and Holiday periods. 

  • Reservations will be $15 on non-Holiday weekdays and $25 on Weekends & Holiday periods. 

  • Alta season passholders' parking codes cannot be used to for early morning parking reservations. 

The reservation system will require early morning skiers to reserve a parking spot in the designated parking area illustrated in the below map. Snow removal will be completed in this parking area by 6am.

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WHY is alta implementing an early morning paid parking reservation system?

  • The number of users desiring early morning parking has exploded and is significantly greater that available early morning parking. First come, first served parking creates an early morning rush to secure a parking spot and does not ensure that more vehicles will come than available early morning parking. 

  • When more early morning visitors come than available parking in designated early morning parking areas it impacts snow removal, parking areas allocated for other users and ski area and Town of Alta operations and facilities. It often results in illegal parking and public safety issues. 

  • A reservation system allows the ski area to provide early morning parking that is managed and minimizes the impacts of early morning parking. We also hope the limited number of early parking spaces and reservations will result in more carpooling which is better for our environment and reduce canyon congestion. 

Access to Public lands 

  • There are no USFS developed and maintained trailhead parking areas in Alta.  

  • Alta recognizes that its parking areas are some of the most popular and convenient access points to public and private lands in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon. Alta has allowed access to, and use of, its private lands adjacent to the ski area for decades. This has led many to believe these lands are publicly owned. It may be a surprise to some that most of the land on the North side of canyon from Mount Superior through Grizzly Gulch is privately owned and that private land must be crossed to access the ridgeline on the North side of the canyon. Click here to see a land ownership map. Alta’s parking management plan is designed to allow human powered recreation adjacent to the ski area on its private lands and use of surplus parking in a manner that is manageable and does not impact ski area operations, the Alta Community and Alta skiers.  

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While change is difficult, it is long overdue. We seek your understanding, patience and support of a parking management system that allows, but manages, ongoing use of parking areas and private lands in Upper Little Cottonwood canyon for a wide variety of users. Alta also has designated some early morning parking prior to 6am for user groups willing to establish a parking shuttle to use that parking.

If you do Not need an early morning reservation, you will still need a parking reservation to ski Alta on weekends & holidays.  

thank you for a great 2021-22 ski season!
information for 2022-23 coming soon.