Alta is a historic mining town and famed Utah ski resort nestled in the heart of Utah’s scenic Little Cottonwood Canyon, surrounded by the beauty and wilderness of the Wasatch Mountains. The Alta/Snowbird area offers an abundance of outdoor activities year-round with the “Greatest Snow on Earth” in the winter and miles of secluded and scenic wilderness in the spring, summer and fall.
Whether you’re travelling for world-class winter sports, spectacular spring and summer wildflower trails or breathtaking fall foliage, when you stay with Alta Chalets you don’t need to travel far to experience the best of Utah’s Cottonwood Canyon and surrounding areas.
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains is on a scenic road-trip and Alta is ideally based to explore some of Utah’s top scenic drives. Pack a picnic, load up your family and friends, wind down the windows, turn up the tunes and enjoy a safe, scenic and socially distanced day trip to discover Utah’s top attractions, all within easy driving distance from your Alta Chalet.
Alta to Salt Lake City
Distance from Alta to Salt Lake City: 30 miles
Travel from Alta through the Little Cottonwood Canyon to Salt Lake City. This scenic drive takes you through the rugged cliffs of the glacier carved corridor, past the historic site where Mormon settlers quarried massive granite slabs for the iconic Salt Lake Temple, and onto I-215 to Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake City is a vibrant city that offers outdoor activities, city attractions and unlimited adventures for each of its visitors. Discover inspiring architectural beauty, historical museums, impressive religious attractions, world-class dining and shopping, scenic urban parks and kid-friendly activities that will wipe the kids out for the journey home. Take a break from the car, rent an electric bike or scooter or take in Salt Lake’s top attractions on a Salt Lake Trolley Tour.
If you’re exploring Salt Lake by car, the scenic drive from Parley’s Canyon to Emigration Canyon takes you on a scenic tour of the Red Butte Gardens, University of Utah, Hogle Zoo and This is the Place Heritage Park.
Alta to Big Cottonwood Canyon
Distance from Alta to Brighton Ski Resort: 40 miles
From Alta travel back through the Little Cottonwood Canyon and follow the road to the UT-190 intersection into Big Cottonwood Canyon. The canyon is dotted with old mines, historic trails, picnic areas, granite walls for rock-climbing and some of Utah’s best fly-fishing spots!
About 9 miles up the canyon is the Donut Falls Trailhead and an easy hike for both young and old to the scenic Donut Falls.
Next stop, snacks and drinks on the patio of the historic Silver Fork Lodge, overlooking Honeycomb Canyon. At the end of Big Cottonwood Canyon lies the resorts of Solitude Mountain and Brighton Resort, both offering exceptional year-round activities for the whole family.
From here you can head back to your Alta chalet through the canyon, or in the summer months continue your scenic road-trip via Guardsman Pass for more adventures in Park City, Heber Valley and Provo River Canyon.
Alta to Park City
Distance from Alta to Park City via the I-215 and I-80: 45 miles
Distance from Alta to Park City via Guardsman Pass: 39 miles
Road-tripping to Park City from Alta is easy!
Head out of Little Cottonwood Canyon to the I-215, then east on the I-80. If you’re up for a slower, scenic drive in the summer, Guardsman Pass is a spectacularly scenic backcountry mountain pass that connects Big Cottonwood Canyon with Park City.
There are scenic lookouts at almost every turn as the pass weaves its way from Brighton Ski Resort over the Guardsman Pass Summit at 9,700ft and through Deer Valley Resort to Park City.
You’ll have to think carefully when compiling your itinerary of things to do in Park City!
Spend time exploring historic Main Street and Old Town with a true old west ambiance, enjoy world-class alpine inspired activities at Park City, Deer Valley and Canyons Resorts and set time aside to visit Utah Olympic Park. The 400-acre adventure center includes the Alf Engen Ski Museum, Eccles Salt Lake Olympic Museum, adventure courses and ziplines.
Alta to Provo Canyon
Distance from Brighton Ski Resort to Bridal Veil Falls: 33 miles
Guardsman Pass also connects the Big Cottonwood Canyon with the Heber Valley, Utah’s Swiss Alps!
At the end of Big Cottonwood Canyon, turn right onto Pine Canyon Drive and travel south through the Wasatch Mountain State Park to the charming Swiss-themed town of Midway. Stop for a swim, soak, snorkel or scuba dive at the one-of-a-kind Homestead Crater, take a ride on the historic Heber Valley Railroad and enjoy endless recreation activities at Deer Creek State Park.
Continue south following the Provo Canyon Scenic Byway (US-189) along the scenic Provo River (a premier trout and fly-fishing river if you packed your fly rods!) to Bridal Veil Falls, a 607-foot double cataract waterfall easily accessible on a paved trail.
Stretch your legs and hike to the upper section of the waterfall or bring your bikes and ride the Provo River bike path alongside the falls.
Alpine Loop Scenic Byway
Midway between Deer Creek State Park and Bridal Veil Falls is the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, voted one of Utah’s best scenic drives. At the intersection of UT-189 and UT-92 turn onto the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway to begin your journey on a winding paved road through the aspen groves of the Uinta Wasatch-Cache National Forest to American Fork Canyon.
The first highlight along the way is the well-known Sundance Resort with year-round activities and events, scenic lift rides, crafts in the quaint art studio and restaurants and cafes if you need to refuel. If cool alpine waters sound appealing, look for the signage for Cascade Springs (UT-114) and Tibble Fork and Silver Lake Flat reservoir a little further on (UT-144).
The next stop on this epic Utah road-trip is Timpanogos Cave National Monument, an underground world of captivating and colorful canyon caves. Guided tours are available but must be booked in advance. The road loops back onto 92.
Where to Stay in Alta, Utah
Whatever the season, whatever the occasion, Alta Chalets offer the perfect base to explore the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains, discover Utah’s top natural attractions and day-trip with friends and family, knowing you’re returning to the comfort of an Alta Chalet.