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Town of Alta, Utah
The Town of Alta, Utah is a small mountain community located at the head of Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Little Cottonwood Canyon is a west-facing break in the Wasatch mountain range which rises from an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level at the mouth of the canyon to over 11,000 feet at the top of the watershed.
State Highway 210, a designated Scenic Byway, provides access to Alta from the Salt Lake Valley. The Town itself ranges in elevation from 7,500 ft to 9,500 ft. above sea level. The Town harbors aspen, spruce, high alpine meadows and lakes, long-lasting snowfields and rocky tundra on granite cliffs. The vast display of over 170 varieties of wildflowers offer a colorful sight between July and September. There are over 40 varieties of birds in the canyon. Deer, moose, coyotes, and a rare mountain lion are the largest of the animals that roam the high country during the year.
An annual average of 500” snowfall provides for enthusiastic powder pigs and spectacular downhill skiing extending from November into May. Cross country skiers enjoy an even longer season. Hikers and bikers use the extensive network of trails through meadows and forests to lakes, snowfields, mountaintops and over passes. Alta is located in a National Forest and within the Salt Lake City watershed area. Alta shares that watershed and is dedicated to protecting it, along with support from Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, the Salt Lake County Sheriff and the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
The Town of Alta administration recognizes the importance of educating the public regarding natural resource issues and has spent considerable effort to mount interpretive signs, build restroom facilities, hire personnel, and develop trails. For more information about the Town of Alta watershed area, please read the Salt Lake City Watershed Management Plan.
To know Alta, it helps to know it’s rich history. For a timeline of significant events, click here to see The Alta Historical Society’s website. The first verified silver claim in Alta was staked in 1865. By 1872, eight thousand seasonal residents lived in the unincorporated Town of Alta, which had grown to 180 buildings, 26 of which were reportedly saloons. In 1873, population and activity declined due to numerous economic factors. New discoveries made in 1904 prompted a second mining boom that eventually dwindled out with the onset of the depression in 1927.
In 1937 “Mayor George Watson deeds 1800 acres of surface rights to the U.S. Forest Service for development of a ski area. The first Collins lift was constructed in 1938 out of pieces of old aerial mining tram. As home to the second chairlift in US history, Alta played a major role in the creation of the modern day ski resort model. Skiing remains the main industry in the Town as Alta Ski Area remains a top destination.
The Town of Alta was incorporated in 1970. Lee Bronson was appointed as first president of the Town. In 1972, Bill Levitt became the first elected president and the first Alta Planning Commission is appointed. In the early 1970s, a sewer line was installed the length of Little Cottonwood Canyon. The Town established an emergency dispatch center to provide support for the Alta Marshal’s Office. The Alta Justice Court began operation in 1975; the first justice court in Alta since the 1870s.
In 1978 Alta developed it’s first sate-approved culinary water system, providing town water through the Bay City Mine tunnel. The Alta Fire Station was completed to house the volunteer fire department. In 1981, the Alta Defense Fund, a non-profit organization, formed to assist the Town’s efforts to manage growth. Later, the group incorporated as The Friends of Alta. Priorities include preservation of Alta’s environment and heritage, protection of the watershed, and acquisition of lands in Albion Basin to remove them from unnecessary development.
About Alta, Utah
Alta UT Town Government
Alta Utah Town Services
Visitor Services - Alta, UT
Town of Alta -- Official Site
Contact the Town of Alta
Setting of the Town of Alta
What's New at Alta
Calendar of upcoming events at Alta, UT
Demographics of the Town of Alta, Utah
Salt Lake City Watershed Area
Lone Peak Wilderness & Twin Peaks Wilderness Area
History of the Town of Alta, Utah
Friends of Alta | Alta Arts Council
Town of Alta Mayor and Town Council
Agendas & Minutes
Town of Alta, UT -- Administrative Staff
Planning Commission - Alta, UT
Alta General Plan
Board of Adjustments - Alta, Utah
Alta Municipal Newsletter
Marshal's Office - Town of Alta
Local Ordinances - Alta, UT
Federal & State Partners - Alta, Utah
Town Municipal Services - Alta, UT
Visitor Services - Ski Alta, Utah
Due to the limited amount of public, overnight parking and numerous restrictions during snowstorms, it is advised to avoid taking a private car up the canyon to Alta unless needed. There are shuttles available from the airport, as well as taxi service from anywhere in the valley. The Utah Transit Authority serves Little Cottonwood Canyon with specially-equipped buses that can maneuver our mountain road even in the most challenging conditions. There are numerous bus stops around the valley. To get more information and see a complete bus and Trax schedule, visit the www.rideuta/com website. There are numerous taxi and shuttle companies who serve our canyon visitors to and from the Salt Lake International Airport in four wheel drive vans. The following is a list and contact information for these Alta-licensed businesses.
Alta Shuttle 866 274-0225 or www.altashuttle.com
Canyon Transportation 800 255-1841 or www.canyontransport.com
City Cab 801-363-5550
Park City Transportation 435-649-5466
Ute Cab 801-969-6909
Wasatch Mountain Service 801-295-4666
You may also access the Town by private vehicle. Please be aware that due to limited parking space and snow removal issues, we have regulations that are strictly enforced. So take notice of where you park, look around for parking signs and check with someone who knows before you leave your vehicle. The Town of Alta helps fund the Alta ByPass Shuttle that makes a continuous loop from 8:30-11:00am along numerous stops on the ByPass Road up to the Alta Ski Area during the winter ski season. The white Alta ByPass Shuttle bus sits at the bottom of the Collins Chair from 3-5pm & returns skiers immediately to their condos or houses.
The Alta Resort Association is a tax-supported department of the Town of Alta. It’s mission is to promote Alta businesses and provide visitor information to both newcomers and seasoned travelers. The newly-hired director of ARA is Meghan Sitcoske. We welcome her to her new post and look forward to seeing exciting results! Take a moment to look around the ARA website at www.altaresortassociation.com or give them a toll-free call at (888)258-2840. The ARA staff members are ready and waiting to answer any questions you might have!