Editor’s Note: Everybody Loves a Crowd

You can spend decades delving into the place you live and keep finding more. Utah’s national parks are well-trod turf for me. But I took a seven-day road trip to rediscover them—in winter. The otherworldly landscape of Southern Utah is transformed. Yes. It’s cold. Yes. It snows. Who thinks of hiking up the Virgin River in Zion National Park when it’s 50 degrees and the water’s edge is rimmed with ice? Well now, hopefully you will. Follow my trail with our detailed guide to winter in the national parks (“Explore the Mighty 5 in Winter”) With planning, decent gear, plenty of weather-dictated improvisation and a healthy dose of internal fortitude, you too can witness these wonders without the main drawback in warmer times of year, the crowds. 

Oh, Right. Crowds. During peak seasons, the line to get into Arches spills out into the highway, and, up north, the highways become a parking lot nicknamed the “Red Snake.” It has become a universal lament. I don’t blame the many, many visitors drawn here from around the globe to experience our mountains and red cliffs—heck, I’m one of the folks spilling the tea. But it does become wearisome and it’s an easy kvetch. 

It was with this in mind that we asked writer Tony Gill to tackle the thorny issue of transportation in the Wasatch (“Big Trouble in Little Cottonwood”). The gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon appears to be moving forward, but the plan has plenty of detractors and has generated more than a lot of confusion. We all agree that winter traffic on Utah Highway 210 is untenable but is a Gondola the answer? We don’t know. But hopefully, our look at the history, the players and the uncertain future will give you some ammo for your next dinner-party debate.

Jeremy Pugh
Jeremy Pughhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Jeremy Pugh is Salt Lake magazine's Editor. He covers culture, history, the outdoors and whatever needs a look. Jeremy is also the author of the book "100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die" and the co-author of the history, culture and urban legend guidebook "Secret Salt Lake."

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