Utah Voices: What would you change about the Cottonwood Canyons?

Share your perspective with The Salt Lake Tribune.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Traffic at a standstill in Big Cottonwood Canyon on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023.

As Utahns speak out about traffic, traction, parking and a controversial gondola plan, we asked to hear from you: What changes would you like to see in Utah’s Cottonwood Canyons? The answers below came from our Top Stories newsletter subscribers and our social media followers.

Let us know what you think here or in the form below, and subscribe to Top Stories to share your insight.

  • “Mandatory reservation system for all parking in the canyons, whether in designated parking lots or otherwise, with strict enforcement and stricter penalties for violations; designated bus lanes; snow sheds across the road in places that are prone to avalanches to prevent or reduce the incidents of road closures due to avalanches.” — David, Salt Lake City

  • “This is such a complicated issue. Obviously there is no perfect solution. I no longer participate in skiing, but I did when I was younger and these problems were not an issue … I do not 100% support the gondola, but I also don’t have much in the way of offering a better solution. In The Salt Lake Tribune’s recent story about the conflict between Alta and Snowbird I tend to lean toward the view of Alta. My conclusion is that Snowbird is just plain greedy and too corporate. I believe that requiring reservations would help alleviate some of the canyon congestion. This canyon should be accessible to ALL, not just those who ski and recreate in the canyon. Some people simply want to take a drive and enjoy the scenery, not sit in hours-long traffic!” — Jill, Holladay

  • “Gondola benefits everyone who uses the canyon … those that are not bound for Alta or Snowbird will have much less traffic! Alternative solutions (bus lanes, etc.) increase pollution, do not resolve canyon closures due to avalanches and the additional pavement will be much more environmentally unappealing than towers.” — John, Salt Lake City

  • “I would like to see a drastic reduction in the number of cars in the Cottonwoods. To support year-round bus routes to popular trailheads, there should be a tolling system that encourages carpooling with a sliding fee scale based on car occupancy. I also would want those tolls to support increased enforcement of parking violations and most importantly, serious enforcement of traction law. Fines from enforcement could add to the pool of funds that ultimately provide free bus fares within the canyons. It should go without saying that a transit system based on a single node like the gondola is absolutely off the table.” — Josh, Salt Lake City

  • “Use an electric light rail like they do from Visp to Zermatt in Switzerland. No pollution, no lines of cars, no frustration.” — Paul, Salt Lake City

  • “They should put toll booths at the mouth of both canyons with two entrance lanes. In one lane, if you have a monthly, quarterly or yearly pass on your windshield (purchased for a TBD sum), a gate will detect it and permit you to pass. In the other lane, if you are on a bicycle, motorcycle, are a senior or have three or more individuals in your vehicle, there is no charge. Vehicles with fewer than 3 people will pay a toll of at least $5. Lodging guests at facilities up both canyons should receive a pass from the facility that they can print and redeem at the toll booth — and that fee should be charged to the property.” — Paul, Cottonwood Heights

  • “Reserved parking at the resorts. Only up the canyons with a reservation or permit for backcountry activity. Improved roads & bus service.” — Jim, Syracuse

  • “More buses! Traction law in effect 12/1-5/1 continuously and enforced.” — Sam, Salt Lake City

  • “I think the gondola idea is great. But whatever the solution, something needs to be done. The Cottonwoods are a favorite place for many. I personally avoid them because if the vehicle restrictions in the winter, parking issues, traffic jams, etc.” — Chuck, Centerville

  • “Build the gondola!!!!! We know what buses and cars do to congest the canyon. We have watched this congestion for years. So what are the people who are against the gondola for? All I’ve ever seen is they want buses and cars. We know that reality. Give the gondola a chance!” — John, Park City

  • “The resorts should limit the number of daily visitors and require advanced reservations.” — Jacob, Syracuse

The Salt Lake Tribune is committed to creating a space where Utahns can share ideas, perspectives and solutions that move our state forward. We rely on your insight to do this. Find out how to share your opinion here, and email us at voices@sltrib.com.