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Park City Says No Changes to Bonanza Flat Access This Winter

Leslie Thatcher

Park City’s recreation and trails staff is hoping to offer fat bike and cross country skiing opportunities up in Bonanza Flat this winter, but you’ll still have to get up there under your own power. All they’re waiting for is a little more snow.

Bonanza Flat above Park City has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike hoping to take in the views and experience the trails. With Guardsman Pass closed above the Montage in the winter, however, getting up there with snow on the ground is no piece of cake.

There is a small parking area at the closure gate that has space for about two dozen vehicles, but it fills up fast, especially on the weekends. Another option is taking Park City’s purple bus line up to the Montage. Even then, you have to climb the final three quarters of a mile on foot, skis, or bike.

If you do make it to the top, Park City Manager Matt Dias told KPCW the city is planning on offering fat bike and cross country skiing opportunities once the snow fills in.

“Obviously, our continued challenge is sort of the gap in access to this area in terms of the guard road that continues to be somewhat of an impediment,” Dias said. “Our staff is looking that in the event that, God forbid, we should be short on snow or have a light year in terms of snowfall, that perhaps we will be able to provide fat bike trails, some nordic trails up in Bonanza this year. It’s something we’re working on and we’re doing the preparation for.”

Twisted Branch Road, which parallels the upper section of Guardsman Pass, is currently private and the owner, Redus LLC, has so far refused to grant public access. 

Dias said despite a push from the community for public use of Twisted Branch, winter vehicle access to the top of Guardsman Pass has not changed and the only way to access Bonanza Flat is through human power. He said congestion at the trailhead is expected to die down some with Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley now both open.  

“I think this winter the public should expect sort of status quo access that they had last year,” he said. “But once they do make it to the top, staff and mountain trails team have been working to stake out some nordic trails and some fat bike trails. It has been very congested on the weekends, particularly after a snowfall, but now that the resorts are open, we hope that will dissipate a little bit.”

Park City’s purple bus line to the Montage leaves every 30 minutes from the Old Town Transit Center, starting at 6:10am. The full public transportation schedule can be found here.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.
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