The Ultimate Guide to the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
Are the Bonneville Salt Flats
The ancient remains of Lake Bonneville are 110 miles west of Salt Lake City Center, and include the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The flats cover 30,000 acres of land that stretches across western Utah.
Try to imagine miles and miles of densely packed salt against the backdrop of the Silver Island Mountain Range.
Its unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Enjoy the flats on foot and experience one of nature’s unusual triumphs!
Sometimes the Salt Flats show reflections of the mountains and sky, depending on the heat rising off the salt.
And, in winter, when there’s a layer of water covering the flats so it looks like you are walking on glass.
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Why is Bonneville famous?
How to get to the Bonneville Salt Flats
Put Wendover Salt Flats Rest Area in your GPS.
Don’t drive past it because the next turn around is several miles down the road.
The rest area has parking, bathrooms, and perfect access to the Salt Flats.
When is the best time to visit the Salt Flats?
Evenings are cooler and much more pleasant, and the sunset is gorgeous!
If you go during the winter months, you’ll experience a layer of water covering the flats which makes them softer and more fragile.
During that time, you can expect cold temperatures below zero degrees fahrenheit and high winds.
Can you walk on the Salt Flats?
I was worried about wearing favorite shoes on the surface, but didn’t need to be concerned.
The salt was dry and smooth, and while my shoes had a little salt on the bottom, it was easily wiped off.
I even went barefoot for a while!
The rest stop provides a water spray station to wash the salt from your shoes and feet!
Can you drive on the Salt Flats?
Don’t attempt to bring your rental car on the Flats!
The salt corrodes the vehicle and a lot of the area is just thin salt on top of soft mud which makes it fragile under the weight of a car.
Cars and trucks get stuck in the mud and salt.
We saw several people zooming around and doing donuts in their cars and it was loud and seemed disrespectful to the pristine environment.
Can you camp on the Salt Flats?
There are private and public campgrounds are available in Wendover.
I recommend the Hilton becasue its location is perfect in downtown Salt Lake, close to all the sites, restaurants, and shops. Prices start at $229.
Bonneville Salt Flat Fun Facts
~ The federal government owns most of this land and portions are used for military testing.
~ An excavation at Danger Cave proved that people occupied the area over 10,300 years ago!
~ In 1846 the famous Donner Party crossed the Salt Flats as a “shortcut” to California.
~ In 1910, the Southern Pacific Railroad was built to cross the Salt Flats and reach San Francisco.
~ Lake Bonneville was originally the size of Lake Michigan!
~ The Bonneville Salt Flats is designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
~ The surface is made of potassium, magnesium lithium and your basic table salt, sodium chloride.
Here’s a map to the Wendover Rest Area
Plan on a visit with a camera in hand and just roam and hang out for as long as you like!