The 10 Best Things to Do in Alta, United States

August 4, 2017 Kandra Bartel

Alta is a town in eastern Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. It is part of the Salt Lake City, Utah Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 383 at the 2010 census, a slight increase from the 2000 figure of 370.
Restaurants in Alta

1. Alta Ski Resort

State Highway 210, Alta, UT 84092 +1 801-359-1078
Excellent
82%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 556 reviews

Alta Ski Resort

Alta turns 70 next winter. Alta's place in the ski world is unique, its history storied. Alta's culture blends this past with the future as it presents, along with Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, America's first lift-served interconnect. Alta and pure, unspoiled skiing are synonymous. Alta's wide variety of terrain, breathtaking alpine scenery and superb snow conditions combine to create a unique setting. Alta continues to offer a ski-only experience.

Reviewed By ivanhoe19 - Melbourne, Australia

If, like most people visiting the closer Utah slopes, you end up staying in the outer suburbs of SLC and driving up, you have a few options to chose between every day - depending on what tickets you bought.

If you just want the best skiing at the cheapest price, simply buy your passes for Alta. If you want more flexibility and variety then go for the Ski City Super pass which gives you access to Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, or Solitude. But you will pay around a 30% premium for this flexibility. Another option if you know how much time you want to spend at each resort is to buy that combo of tickets for each resort. In Utah for whatever reason you don't get significant discounts for buying 6+ days as is common at other resorts (Ski City drops from $92/day for 3 days to $88 for 7 - pretty minimal.)

Have a look on the Liftopia website to compare and for additional deals and discounts that can be available. And I would encourage having a look early before the season starts, discounts are often better then.

We just happened to be there in the worst opening to a season in 40 or so years, so snow cover became a key factor. Despite the fact that they are adjacent resorts and Alta is only a few minutes further up the road, the snow conditions were noticeably better in Alta. Even putting that aside, the entire family agreed the skiing at Alta was better on the whole. But we thought the food was better at Snowbird.

Out of the 5 days we had, we ended up skiing 5 at Alta, 2 at Snowbird and a day at Solitude/Brighton (split between the two) for the variety. Similarly to Alta/Snowbird, Brighton was only a couple of minutes further up the road, but had noticeably better snow conditions. But really only go here if you want the variety - its a further drive around the other side of the mountain for much smaller slopes.

2. Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort

9385 S Snowbird Center Dr, Snowbird Lodge, Snowbird, UT 84092-6249 +1 801-933-2222
Excellent
67%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 473 reviews

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort

Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort is a ski-in, ski-out retreat that offers a variety of lodging, dining and most especially year-round sporting activities. In the winter, the resort is known world-wide for it's skiing and snowboarding terrain. In the summer, they have a number of amusement park attractions, along with a variety of hiking and mountain biking trails. The Bird is also known for their large Oktoberfest celebrations, that run each weekend from Mid-August through Mid-October. Location: Snowbird, Utah is in the heart of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Little Cottonwood Canyon, one mile down canyon from Alta. Lifts: One Aerial Tram, 10 chairlifts including six high-speed detachable quads and four doubles (most with arm and leg rests) and two conveyer lifts. Uphill Capacity: 17,400 skiers and snowboarders per hour. Runs: 169 Acreage: 2,500 acres. Terrain: Beginner: 27%, Intermediate: 38%, Advanced: 35% Elevation: Top of resort is 11,000-foot Hidden Peak, lowest point on the mountain is bottom of Baby Thunder chairlift at 7,760 feet. The 125-person Tram covers 2,900 vertical feet in approximately seven minutes. Longest Run: Chip’s Run, 2.5 miles. Longest Descent: Gad Valley, 3.5 miles. Terrain Park: The Snowbird Terrain Park is located on the lower part of the Big Emma run. It is accessed by the Mid Gad or Gadzoom lifts. Snowfall: Snowbird averages approximately 500 inches of low-density, “dry” Utah powder annually. Thanks to ideal geography and a phenomenon called the Lake Effect, Little Cottonwood Canyon powder is known worldwide. Season: Utah’s longest ski and snowboard season, mid-November through May (conditions permitting). Mountain School: Snowbird’s Mountain School offers a plethora of instruction from class lessons to women’s ski and snowboard camps. Accessibility: Snowbird is 29 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport with more than 600 daily non-stop flights from most major U.S. cities and 25 miles from downtown Salt Lake City. Snowbird is a scenic 45-minute drive from the airport, making same-day skiing and flying a reality. Lodging: Four slopeside lodges – The Cliff Lodge, Lodge at Snowbird, The Inn and Iron Blosam – offer rooms by the night, week or longer as well as timeshare opportunities. Snowbird offers 882 total rooms. Restaurants:15 serving everything from fine dining to burgers and beers. Bars: Five. Spa: The luxurious Cliff Spa on the top two floors of The Cliff Lodge offers massages, wraps, yoga, weight room, full service salon, exclusive rooftop pool and hot tub. Winter Mountain Tours: Every morning at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 the Snowbird Mountain Hosts lead a complimentary orientation tour of the mountain departing from the Plaza Deck. Depending on the weather conditions the tour will show all three drainages of Snowbird, how to easily get around the mountain, where all the important facilities are located, and the notable landmarks. The tours are aimed at the lower level intermediate through advanced skiers and riders. Meeting Space: Snowbird’s mountain village includes 50,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space that includes contemporary A/V equipment, conference services and catering and an outdoor tent with a 1,000-person capacity.

Reviewed By GyrFalcons - Orange County, CA

Conveniently close to SLC, will satisfy a diverse mix of skier abiliites, and can really challenge those seeking complexity. With numerous lifts starting at varying levels of the mountain, lift line lengths were very tolerable and the lift speed was appropriate for the distance. Staffing all around was adequate and very courteous and helpful. The Tram was quite crowded, but expected for those venturing to the popular summit. We also ventured to the Mineral Basin area for a change and found it uncrowded and manageable for mid-level skiiers. Skiiers can access it from the Tram or take the Peruvian lift and access it via the tunnel , which highlights a moving "Ski-walk" - unusual for an alpine people mover. While standing on our skis we enjoyed the string of historical photographs and vignettes documenting early settlement and development of the tunnel and surrounding region.

3. Big Cottonwood Canyon

Uintah-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Salt Lake City, UT 84123 +1 801-521-6040
Excellent
82%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 937 reviews

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Located in the Wasactch Mountains, this wilderness region offers a limitless range of recreation for outdoor enthusiasts.

Reviewed By Motivator535 - Kaysville, Utah

Big Cottonwood canyon is picturesque year around including winter with tons of powder, spring and all the green, hiking on the cool during the heat of summer, and the fall colors!

This area is great for hiking, biking, all types of skiing, and snowshoeing to say the least. Check at the beginning of the canyon for restrictions, or seasonal access.

Great place to enjoy. Have fun!

4. Brighton Ski Resort

Hwy 190 Star Rt, Brighton, UT 84121-9740 +1 801-532-4731
Excellent
63%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 294 reviews

Brighton Ski Resort

Brighton is Utah’s only resort that can boast that 100% of its terrain is accessible by high speed quads. Our five quads, one triple and magic carpet service 1,050 acres and 1,875 vertical feet of incredible Utah skiing. Other amenities include The New Millicent Chalet, three additional day lodges, high quality rentals, top notch ski and snowboard school, lockers, cafeterias, a pub, frequent public bus transportation from many points in downtown Salt Lake City and park & ride lots around the valley. What’s more, kids 10 and under ski and ride free. DAYS/HOURS OF OPERATION Seven days a week from mid-November through mid-April. Daily Hours: 9 am – 4 pm Night skiing: 4 – 9 pm Monday through Saturday early December through March.

Reviewed By zuckmeister - Park City, Utah

We’ve been skiing Brighton for over 20 years now, and it has gradually become overrun with snowboarders and a younger crowd. The snowboarding definitely carves and scrapes both the groomed runs and the bump runs quite severely, in comparison with either Deer Valley or Alta, where it’s skiing only, or even Park City, where there are skiers and boarders in more equal numbers. The predominance of younger kids and adolescents translates into a large percentage of people on the mountain who are either unaware of or choose to disregard safety and etiquette.
All that being said, it’s a nice little mountain with some great, unique terrain, and the prices are reasonable. The food is adequate, nothing more, and the base lodge (especially the restrooms) are in severe need of upgrade. The lift operators are essentially useless, most just stand around doing nothing and not even paying attention to various circumstances, like people smoking in the lift lines or on the chairs.
As the years have gone by, we ski here less and less, choosing other local resorts with a more adult atmosphere.

5. Solitude Mountain Resort

12000 E Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd, Solitude, UT 84121-9790 +1 801-534-1400
Excellent
65%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 357 reviews

Solitude Mountain Resort

All ski resorts have chair lifts, but ours take you to new heights. That’s what we mean when we say,” Refined by Nature.” Solitude Mountain Resort is located a short 40-minute drive from the Salt Lake International Airport. With over 1200 acres of skiable terrain, Solitude is one of Utah’s most intimate and inviting winter resorts. Over 500 inches of annual snowfall covers: 65 named trails, three bowls and groomers for every ability level. We also offer a Fun Park, as well as a Nordic Center. And don’t forget Honeycomb Canyon. It has some of the most awe inspiring, lift-served terrain in the country.With hardly any lift lines you won’t have to wait to find your Solitude. You’ll be deep in powder before you know it.

Reviewed By tigershark6 - usa

Yes, please put signs on the lifts so skiers know where they are! Hopefully this note reaches the right person

Solitude is now my favorite ski resort. The smart service, zero lift lines, empty trails, lots of groomers, intelligent village planning, great skiing, nice staff, and reasonable prices were all this intermediate skier from NJ could ever ask for.

I have skied most of the Utah resorts. Now you know why this is my favorite.

6. Donut Falls

Big Cottonwood Canyon, North Salt Lake, UT
Excellent
64%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 67 reviews

Donut Falls

Reviewed By turbotrevor

This is a great and wonderful hike. The hike is pretty easy to the falls and less than a mile. Once you get there, the scramble up to the actual falls and small cave can be pretty tough, especially if there has been recent rain. Take shoes for wading if you want to get close to the falls. And get there early if you go on the weekend. Only bathrooms are pit toilets.

7. Cecret Lake Trail

Alta, UT
Excellent
84%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
5%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 18 reviews

Cecret Lake Trail

Reviewed By Marci H

Easy hike with great views. We went early but were told there is usually a lot of people and no parking. The trail isn't marked great and we ended up doing a little rock climbing but found our way. We went after wildflower season so we missed out.

8. Wasatch-Cache National Forest

Salt Lake Ranger District, 6944 S 3000 East, Brighton, UT 84121 +1 801-943-1794
Excellent
84%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 54 reviews

Wasatch-Cache National Forest

Mountainous forests, great for hiking and biking.

Reviewed By cglow9 - San Diego, California

2 families with a set of 10 y.o. And 2 teenage boys (14). Did a 2 hour snowmobiling tour, had a BLAST. Perfect activity for a non-ski day.

Tour guide Walt was great, let us play around on the sleds in a large open area before we started trekking. We were in a larger tour group with 4 additional sleds, and were hampered by one driver who continuously got stuck and turned the sled over once. Walt managed to keep them upright and still show the group unbelievable views.

Our 10 yo (the speed demon) LOVED it when mom caught some air, and the littler kids got to "drive" with their dads (well, sort of. THEY thought they were driving).

Afterwards, hot cocoa at their lodge, and the kids got to check out 3 dog sleds prepping for their run - and play with the 2 husky puppies kept next to the lodge. Had to drag them away. And discuss why we are NOT buying a snowmobile in San Diego. Definitely going back!

9. Christy Sports Ski and Snowboard

Third Level Plaza, Snowbird, Snowbird, UT 84092 +1 801-742-2871
Excellent
68%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
3%
Terrible
7%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 26 reviews

Christy Sports Ski and Snowboard

At Christy Sports, we strive to provide our customers with the right gear and equipment for their needs. We carry several ski and snowboard rental package options for adults and children of all ability levels. Our demo rental packages are great for putting this year's latest gear to the test on the renowned Snowbird terrain.

Reviewed By DougcpW - Portland, OR

This iconic ski shop at the base of Snowbird offers your typically ski gear and merchandise, as well as rentals. What sets them apart are their trained ski boot fitting and customization staff. In 45 minutes they can have you in highly customized ski boots molded just to your feet.

10. Powderbird

Alta Bypass Road, Alta, UT 84092 +1 801-742-2800
Excellent
78%
Good
4%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
18%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 22 reviews

Powderbird

Powderbird offers private and small group helicopter skiing opportunities in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, the coastal ranges of Greenland, and to other exotic locations worldwide.

Reviewed By gsmason - oklahoma city

sensational ski day for my grown children and me. kind attentive staff whether you're a 26 and 30 young adult (my kids) or a mid age 57 year old man (me) who is a good but not great skier. skiing was awesome. our guide, mike...MoreThank you so much for the review. As your experience showcases, Heli-skiing is not only for the pros, it's for anyone who loves the sport! We hope to ski with you and your family again. Sincerely, -The Powderbird Team

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