The fastest way to get to Park City is by air. Okay, that isn’t strictly true. The fastest way to get to Salt Lake City is by air. Park City doesn’t have its own airport, so any flight you take is going to touch down in the Salt Lake Valley, instead. Depending on what part of Park City you plan on staying in, that means the tarmac is between 30-40 miles from your vacation rental.
Speaking of tarmac, Salt Lake City International Airport recently got a brand-new look. The brand-new terminal is a forward-looking travel hub with room to grow. Watch out, though—walking from the gate to the curb is a workout. Like the Mormon pioneers who settled the Salt Lake Valley, you are in for a lengthy trek before reaching the Promised Land of baggage claim.
Once you have your suitcases and skis in tow, you will need to ascend from the valley floor to the Wasatch peaks. You have a few options. You can take public transport, you can grab a shuttle, you can use a rideshare service, or you can rent a car. Each approach has its merits and its drawbacks.
The Canyon, the central artistic element in the new SLC airport // source: slcairport.com
Public transit is the cheapest and most environmentally friendly choice. Salt Lake City’s TRAX light rail system runs right out to the airport. Arriving guests can jump onto the Green Line (Route 704) and head right downtown. Riders then jump off the train at the Gallivan Plaza Station before hiking to the north side of the block, where they can transfer to the PC-SLC Connect bus (Route 902). Once on the bus, commuters go straight to Park City, where the bus deposits riders at the Kimball Junction Transit Center.
If heading straight into Main Street or to Park City Mountain Resort, travelers can take one more connection. High Valley Transit operates the bus line that connects to the Park City Transit station downtown. Hopping onto the Spiro/224 Local line (Route 101) is the most direct route.
That whole journey will cost you less than a single burger at most fast food joints. And it’s great for Mother Earth. All of Park City’s buses are now electric! But a public transit voyage will cost you time. All told, the trip from the airport takes about two hours by bus and train.
While a bit more expensive, there are some excellent airport shuttle services that will carry you all the way to Park City—without the need to transfer from the light rail to a bus—for a reasonable fee. Our favorite service, Canyon Transportation, will schedule your ride and be waiting at the curb for you. Shared service or a private vehicle are available.
Renting out a whole van is obviously the more expensive option of the two, but preferable if you don’t want to make any new friends or make extra stops along the way. A shared ride will cost you less than half of an Uber or a Lyft, but will be both a little more crowded and take a few minutes longer. You might spend north of $100 taking a rideshare from SLC to the resort during peak times, but it is a more comfortable experience than the other options so far. You can bring the cost down considerably by choosing both your travel dates and transit times carefully, but good luck snagging a cheap fare during the Sundance Film Festival.
If you prefer maximum independence during your stay, a rental car is probably your best bet. You can pick up your rented ride just outside baggage claim and be on the road in no time. Between the daily fee and the gas, you will spend more on transportation this way. But you do get ultimate freedom. Go where you want, when you want.
Renting a car isn’t a perfect solution, though. We already mentioned the cost, but parking can be a major headache in Park City. During peak ski season or holiday dates, there just aren’t enough spots to go around. You might end up orbiting the resort lot like the world’s smallest, gas-guzzling-est moon in search of a spot. Be mindful of the parking situation when planning your excursions by car.