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Bonanza Flat visitor data shows a lot of scenic drivers

Bloods Lake in Bonanza Flat.
Parker Malatesta
Bloods Lake in Bonanza Flat.

Out of the more than 100,000 visits, the city determined that nearly half of them lasted under half an hour.

Park City Municipal used the software program Placer.ai to study cell phone location data in order to find out who’s visiting Bonanza Flat.

Between July and October, residents of Salt Lake City were the most prevalent, accounting for almost 20% of visits. Park City residents came in second at around 9% of visitors. Hundreds of visitors from around the country also came through, from Dallas to LA and New York.

Out of the more than 100,000 visits, the city determined that nearly half of them lasted under half an hour.

Heinrich Deters is the city’s trail and open space manager.

“Those are scenic drivers, Park City Trails and Open Space Manager Heinrich Deters said.

"Those are people that are coming up, they’re seeing the beautiful area, they’re at one of the viewpoints, taking a picture, maybe they’re using the restroom. Maybe they get out of their car and go in the meadow for a little bit and take a family photo, and they’re out.”

The city collected the data to study how people use the area, not for a specific initiative.

Traffic has increased in the area since trailheads opened in Bonanza Flat, particularly during the pandemic when people were looking to get outside.

Looking for ways to lessen the number of cars on the road, Park City started its Transit to Trails program in 2021. The service shuttles hikers and bikers from town up to trailheads at around 9,000 feet.

That has proven popular.

This year, Transit to Trails ridership was up more than 150% over 2021. A substantial majority of the nearly 2,500 total riders were mountain bikers. Deters presented the data during a city council work session about a similar transit service to Bonanza Flat they plan to offer to winter recreationists starting in November.

The city brought on four park rangers this year, and they increased parking enforcement at popular trailheads such as Bloods Lake. So far the rangers have issued over 280 parking citations this year. 145 of those were issued in October, when the fall colors were at their peak.

Deters mentioned that Guardsman Pass scenic byway, which cuts through Bonanza Flat, was ranked number one on travel publication Fodor’s list of best spots to go in the fall.