Bonneville Salt Flats is a unique destination in the vicinity of Salt Lake City. It was on our radar for a long time and finally, we made it there during our Utah exploration trip. There are so many amazing things to see in this state that this gets overlooked for some reason. In our opinion, it is a must-see. It is so much fun for kids and an amazing place for pictures.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are a densely packed salt pan in Tooele County in northwestern Utah. The area is a remnant of the Pleistocene Lake Bonneville and is the largest of many salt flats located west of the Great Salt Lake. The property is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and is known for land speed records at the “Bonneville Speedway“. Access to the flats is open to the public.
The salt flats are about 12 miles long and 5 miles wide with total area coverage of just over 46 square miles. Motor vehicle use is limited by seasonal closure during the spring when the salt is moist or has standing water on the surface. We did drive for a short time on one of the sides for few pictures. Coming from Salt Lake City you first see the dry side and many people just turn back after that. You have to remember that few more miles down you actually get to see the side with the water. It is definitely worth the drive. Essentially you drive until you reach this sign:
The Bonneville Salt Flats are quite famous also for the last speed events held there. Since 1914 at the part of the salt flats known as the Bonneville Speedway. We had no idea about these events really. Next time we will plan so that we can experience at least one of them.
There are five major land speed events that take place at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Bonneville “Speed Week” takes place mid-August followed by “World of Speed” in September and the “World Finals” take place early October.
We stayed in Salt Lake City and drove to the Salt Flats and back. It was an awesome opportunity to experience the capitol of Utah. We loved the city. The view of the mountains surrounding it is hard to beat. Lovely city. Great food as well. If you are Utah Jazz fan then you do not want to miss taking a photo next to the arena or even go to one of their games! The restaurants in the downtown were quite booked and for some there was 2 hours wait time for takeout! Plan accordingly.
Things to have in mind
There are few things to have in mind before going. During the day it is quite hot and sunny. Sunscreen and hats are a must. You need a lot of water not only for drinking but to wash the salt from your clothes and skin. Our son was completely soaked and had salt on his arms and feet. You would need to wash sooner rather than later. Wet napkins help a lot! Shoes soaked with this salt are quite hard to wash. It would take a few wash cycles to get them back to normal. It goes without saying but be mindful of others and keep your eyes salt-free.
There are bathrooms at the first stop but not where the sign is so have that in mind. Be careful driving, only do off-roading if your car can take it. It is not uncommon for cars to get stuck and deal with roadside assistance. Car rentals do not like off-roading with their cars.
Must see destination. Plan for 1 full day and bring lots of water and some food if you do not want to drive back and forth for food. It is a common practice to buy a temp cooler and store sandwiches for the trip there. The drive is not that much overall and the views on the way are also worth seeing. Since this is not national park drones are allowed. You can also walk as much and as far as you want on the salts.