The bigtooth maple is found in many of the Western United States. It is found from southeastern Idaho, western Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico to western Texas. In Utah the maple is found on mountain slopes in the mountain-brush zone, usually between 5500 and 7800 feet. They grow in canyons ravines, bases of lower slopes, and on north and east exposures. Because it grows in canyons it is also called the "canyon maple." The map below shows the distribution of the maple in Utah.
The bigtooth maple can grow in both moist and dry soils. In moist soils it is a tree with one or more trunks. In dry soil or fire prone areas it is usually a shrub with many stems. The trees can grow up to 40 or 50 feet.
Gambel oak is commonly found with maples, but many other trees and shrubs grow along with them as well. These include white fir and aspen trees. The shrubs include service berry, ninebark, snowberry, Wood's rose, Oregon grape along with many others. Most of these shrubs have edible berries attractive to wildlife and humans.
The communities of trees and shrubs provide permanent shelter and food for many small birds. In City Creek Canyon these birds are the California quail, robins, scrub-jay, black-billed magpie, black capped chickadee, and rufous-sided towhee.
Bedding and hiding for mule deer can be found in maple and shrub communities. Both oak and maple, as well as other associated woody shrubs, provide important winter browse for the deer at low, foothill elevations now occupied by homes surrounding the mouth of City Creek Canyon in Salt Lake City.