When I drove through Utah last fall from Indiana to my new home in California, it was the first time I had ever seen the beautiful landscape of the western US. I always dreamed of what this area would look like, piecing together visions from Wild E. Coyote cartoons and old John Wayne movies, but there was one specific section in Utah that I really had no clue existed. I fell in love with it immediately.
Here are The Salt Flats of Utah:
Where are the Salt Flats?
Headed eastbound on Interstate 80 just past the Nevada-Utah border is Tooele County, the site of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Wendover is the first town in Utah once crossing the line and is also where the famous Bonneville Speedway is, a Race Track known for hosting the fastest land speed records in the world.
Why Are the Salt Flats Here?
Good question because I wondered the same! I really had no clue how this salt even began to exist here. Maybe I didn’t pay attention in science class that day? I went ahead and did a little research on the Salt Flats and here’s the gist of it: Salt Lake City has a lake just north of the city that is HUGE. Well, apparently that lake must’ve been much, much bigger thousands, if not millions, of years ago. The salt flats are essentially what comes of a lake in a desert environment. When the rain falls in this area, it’s trapped and unable to drain so it evaporates and, in a desert environment, the water that evaporates leaves behind the salt and the minerals and —Ta Da!— I present to you, The Salt Flats.
In the winter, the abundance of snow around SLC falls off the surrounding mountains and melts, creating about an inch-deep standing water on top of the salt.
The First Time Seeing The Salt
It was in the fall of 2017 when I was moving the rest of my belongings from Indiana to California and my route took me directly through Salt Lake City. At the time, I reasonably thought the white substance coating the ground was snow, except for the fact that temps were in the 60s. Not long after driving through Salt Lake City I noticed a Morton Factory off into the distance and it hit me… that’s not snow, it’s salt!
Seeing the Flats for the Second Time
Recently, we embarked on a road trip back to our home town, from California to Indiana, making our way through the Salt Flats again. My hubs has never been through this area so I was really excited to get across the state line of Nevada into Wendover where the Bonneville Salt Flats begin.
My hubs really couldn’t believe this all was salt and, in his defense, it is a little overwhelming to think this white stuff goes on for as far as your eye can see and it’s actually all salt. He decided he wanted to try it, I guess to prove that it really was what I said (ya know, men) so he did and the look on his face when the potency of the salt hit his tongue was absolutely priceless!
This time visiting, I had ample opportunity to catch some shots of the area so I tried to be graceful and do some barefoot twirling out here but realized that 1: I can’t control my facial expressions and 2: twirling on salt is nearly impossible (and kind of hurts too).
Read More: A Roundtrip I-80 Road Trip
The Third Time Going Through the Salt Flats
There are rest areas on both sides of Interstate 80 where travelers are able to stop and walk out onto the Salt Flats. If you’re headed eastbound into Utah from Nevada, the view from that side isn’t as good as the westbound side. The backdrop is stunning, the salt flats are whiter and cleaner and it’s much larger, expanding out miles and miles only stopping at the mountains in the distance.
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