Cottonwood Canyons Avalanche Information //
UDOT uses remote avalanche control systems (RACS) and artillery to trigger avalanches that threaten public roads throughout Utah. Avalanche mitigation cannot take place if people are near targets so UDOT will temporarily close specific backcountry areas and roads, working with local law enforcement.
Cottonwood Canyons Avalanche Slide Paths: No Parking
From November 1 – May 15 there is NO parking allowed in designated avalanche zones. This applies to both sides of the road within the posted areas.
Please avoid parking in these zones as it inhibits our canyons crews from doing their job safely and effectively and puts your safety at risk.
LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON SLIDE PATH ZONES
There are 64 slide paths in Little Cottonwood Canyon alone, with over half of SR-210 threatened by avalanches. Over 50 buildings and 76% of the road passing through Snowbird and the Town of Alta are in avalanche paths. The road is fully closed to the public when avalanche mitigation is in progress.
Do's & Don'ts for Avalanche Road Closures
UDOT LCC Avalanche Cycle Part 1: Feb. 6-8, 2020
UDOT Avalanche Cycle: April 1-8, 2023
UDOT LCC Avalanche Cycle: Feb. 12-18, 2021
UDOT LCC Avalanche Cycle Part 2: Feb. 6-8, 2020
Please respect all UDOT avalanche closures to protect yourself, the public, and future access for backcountry users.
- Check for backcountry closures before heading up the canyons.
- Backcountry closures begin before planned avalanche road closures to ensure complete evacuation, with a typical backcountry closure starting at 10:00 p.m. the night before.
- Overnight road closures typically begin the night before, typically beginning at 12:30 a.m. Avalanche closures may also occur during the daytime as conditions warrant.
- Parking in trailhead areas is restricted daily from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. in the winter season for snow removal operations. After large storms, UDOT may close the gates to the Spruces (Big Cottonwood Canyon) and White Pine Trailhead parking areas (Little Cottonwood Canyon) during this time.
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.