Snowbird’s home in Little Cottonwood Canyon provides stunning views and expansive terrain, but getting here can prove challenging, particularly on holidays, weekends and powder days. Though it's typically a quick drive from Salt Lake City, visitors may experience delays due to road conditions on these days. To ensure you're prepared, we’ve outlined some tips and tricks to make getting here as simple as possible.
Access real-time weather, traffic and road condition information for Little Cottonwood Canyon via our Mountain Report.
Due to abundant and frequent snowfall, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) Traction Law is often in effect in the Cottonwood Canyons, which requires traction devices or 4WD on all vehicles entering the canyon. Learn more about the Traction Law and ensure your car is in compliance before heading to the mountain on snow days.
- Ensure you have a full tank of gas. Travel times can take longer than expected, and there is no gas station up Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- Make sure to have some snacks, water, warm clothing and a phone charger.
- Use the restroom before departing.
- Download the Snowbird App before departure and opt-in to notifications for the latest canyon road conditions, parking inventory and traffic updates.
As part of our Play Forever initiatives, Snowbird continues to encourage and celebrate carpooling with expanded carpool parking areas. Carpooling with 4+ people allows you to park in designated spaces located in prime locations. Carpooling on high-traffic days also qualifies you to win prizes through our new initiative Canyon Carpool Club.
Save money and time by using Canyon Transportation to get to Snowbird. Operating year-round, Canyon Transportation offers private and shared direct rides to and from Salt Lake City International Airport and is the fastest and easiest option if you're staying up at Snowbird.
New this year, Cottonwood Connect provides guaranteed transportation to and from Snowbird for $10 per person, or $20 roundtrip. Cottonwood Connect will begin operations on Friday, Dec. 22, 2023, and run daily through Jan. 1, 2024. The program will then run Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays from Jan. 5 through April 14, 2024. Reservations for rides to Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude are now being accepted. Full details, including routes and days of operation, are available at visitsaltlake.com/cottonwoodconnect.
Utah Transport Authority (UTA) provides the Ski Bus service to Little Cottonwood Canyon through Saturday, April 13, 2024. Snowbird season passholders ride for free. For UTA Ski Bus fares, routes and information, visit rideuta.com.
Rideshare and taxi services operate to and from Snowbird. Be aware of current road conditions & UDOT canyon driving requirements before using a rideshare service to Snowbird. Calling a rideshare or taxi service for down-canyon travel may be difficult.
Consider coming and going during non-peak times and making a parking reservation. The highest traffic volume in Little Cottonwood Canyon is around the scheduled opening (9 am) and closure (3:30-5 pm) of the resort chairlifts. You can avoid what locals call the “red snake,” aka the string of brake lights snaking up and down the canyon during heavy traffic periods, by:
- Heading up before lifts open on weekends and holidays, when parking typically fills up quickly. Spaces usually start to open up after 1 pm.
- Making an online parking reservation in advance, taking advantage of valet parking at The Snowbird Center or beginning your day after 10 am to avoid peak traffic.
- Skiing or snowboarding until lifts close and then spending the après-ski hour on Snowbird’s sunny Plaza Deck, or make a dining reservation for one of our restaurants, to avoid peak downhill times.
- Departing after canyon traffic has subsided, typically by 6 pm.
Over 60 avalanche slide paths bisect SR-210, requiring UDOT to occasionally close the road to mitigate avalanche hazards. In the event of a midday road closure, guests will be notified in advance through the Snowbird App, digital signage (located at lift bases, The Cliff Lodge, the Snowbird Center and Creekside) and the Mountain Report.
Overnight avalanche mitigation road closures, typically from 12:30-8:30 am, depending on conditions, are more common. When this occurs, day visitors often line up in their vehicles at the bottom of Little Cottonwood Canyon, waiting for it to open and for the powder that awaits. While queuing up like this is not encouraged, it is lawful as long as motorists comply with local law enforcement, pull over to the shoulder of the road and leave the travel lane clear for local traffic and emergency vehicles. Note: Attempting to travel in Little Cottonwood Canyon during a full road closure is illegal.
Uphill Road Restrictions
Infrequently, parking at the resorts, along the road and at trailheads in Little Cottonwood Canyon will reach capacity, causing UDOT to restrict uphill road traffic temporarily until parking becomes available. Uphill road travel exceptions are allowed for residents, buses and rideshare vans, in-canyon resort hotel guests, employees and adults picking up children from in-canyon activities.
Still Have Questions?
We can’t wait for you to explore Snowbird. (Spoiler alert: We think you’re going to love it.) If you have questions, email us at email@example.com or give us a call at 801.933.2222. We’ll do our best to make your first time at The Bird legendary.