Discover the Astonishing Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah is a destination that will transport you to an otherworldly landscape. This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know before embarking on your visit to this mesmerizing natural wonder. From how to get there to insider tips and compelling reasons to explore, we’ve got you covered!

Unveiling the Enigma: What are the Bonneville Salt Flats?

Situated approximately 110 miles from Salt Lake City, near the Nevada border, the Bonneville Salt Flats cover an extensive area of over 30,000 acres. These captivating salt flats lie west of the Great Salt Lake and can be easily accessed via Interstate-80 when traveling between Salt Lake City and Wendover.

The Bonneville Salt Flats originated from the remnants of the once-massive Bonneville Lake. When the lake dried up, it left behind mesmerizing salt deposits, creating the extraordinary flats we see today. In fact, traces of the old Bonneville Lake can still be found at the Great Salt Lake.

A Tapestry of Contrasts: Exploring the Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats boast an intriguing blend of microenvironments. While certain areas appear barren and devoid of life due to the high salt content of the soil, other parts are home to thriving vegetation, plants, and animals. It’s important to note that the salt flats are a delicate ecosystem that demands our utmost respect.

Interestingly, parts of this land are utilized for military testing and storage depots, adding an element of intrigue to the allure of the Bonneville Salt Flats.

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Unlocking the Experience: Can You Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats?

Yes, visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats is not only possible but highly recommended, especially if you have more than one day in Salt Lake City. The salt flats are generally open to the public throughout the year, with no entrance fees. However, it’s important to note that they may be closed for private events or races, such as Bonneville Speed Week in August and World of Speed in September.

Sign of Bonneville Salt Flats

A Journey to the Bonneville Salt Flats: Essential Information

Where are the Bonneville Salt Flats?

Located approximately 110 miles from Salt Lake City, close to the Nevada border, the Bonneville Salt Flats offer an exceptional day trip from Salt Lake City. Alternatively, you can opt to spend the night and find accommodations in Wendover, a charming small town in Nevada that offers an array of options.

How to Get There

To access the Bonneville Salt Flats from Salt Lake City, take Exit 4 off Interstate 80. Follow the signs to the Speedway, heading north, and take a right on Leppy Pass Road. This will lead you directly to the flats, where a convenient parking lot awaits.

Can You Drive on the Salt Flats?

Driving on the salt flats is allowed, but there are seasonal considerations you need to be aware of. For safe driving conditions, the salt flats must be completely dry. It’s crucial to check the weather and road conditions before embarking on your adventure.

On the road to the Bonneville Salt Flats

Best Time to Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats

For optimum exploration, plan your visit to the Bonneville Salt Flats during summer and fall. Although July and August can be scorching hot, you’ll be greeted by the dry salt flats. Winter and spring, on the other hand, are characterized by wet and soggy weather, transforming the flats into salt ponds.

Additionally, it’s crucial to check for any scheduled events that might restrict public access. Speed Week, taking place in August, and other events throughout the year, typically require temporary closure of the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Immersing in the Bonneville Salt Flats Experience

As you immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of the Bonneville Salt Flats, you’ll discover an unparalleled opportunity for photography and observation. The flats offer a truly mind-blowing landscape, making it a photographer’s paradise.

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Aside from savoring the breathtaking scenery, one of the most exciting activities at the Bonneville Salt Flats is driving along the International Speedway or witnessing others racing on it. The Bonneville International Speedway, located northeast of Wendover, is renowned for setting land speed records.

Bonneville Salt Flats at Sunset

The Legendary Bonneville International Speedway

The Bonneville Speedway, also known as the Bonneville Salt Flats Race Track, holds a significant place in motorsports history. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its first motorsports event took place in 1912.

Each year, the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association organizes prominent events such as SCTA/BNI Speed Week in August, World of Speed in September, and SCTA/BNI World Finals in October. Speed Week, in particular, attracts numerous visitors, providing the opportunity to witness fast cars, meet the drivers, and delve deeper into the world of land speed racing.

It’s worth mentioning that the Bonneville Salt Flats has an astounding speed limit of 1,000 mph, effectively meaning that it has no limit at all. This feature attracts speed enthusiasts from all corners of the globe, who strive to set new records.

Bonneville Salt Flats sign

Bonneville Salt Flats Kayaking – Debunking the Myth

While there have been photos circulating of people kayaking on a vibrant turquoise stream in the Bonneville Salt Flats, it is important to note that these images are likely photoshopped. In reality, the canals seen in the photos are associated with potash production and are situated just east of the Bonneville Salt Flats. These canals are not safe for public use and should not be accessed for swimming, kayaking, or any other activities.

Canal near the Bonneville Salt Flats

Prepare for the Ultimate Adventure: What to Wear and Bring

When planning your trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats, keep in mind that there is no shelter available, and you will be fully exposed to the sun. In summer, temperatures can soar above 100F, so it’s essential to come prepared. Here are some items you should pack:

  • Sunscreen
  • Shoes that can handle getting salty and messy
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Ample water supply (consider using a reliable water bottle like Klean Kanteen)
  • Snacks

Remember to apply sunscreen to less-obvious areas like the bottom of your chin and nose, as the salt flats can reflect sunlight upwards. Additionally, keep in mind that your shoes will inevitably become salty and messy, so it’s wise to bring a spare pair or a bag to store them in after your visit.

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Finding Accommodation Near the Bonneville Salt Flats

While there are no lodging options directly at the Bonneville Salt Flats, you can find suitable accommodations in the nearby town of Wendover, Nevada. Here are some of the top hotels and motels in the area:

  • Best Western Plus – Wendover Inn (Wendover, UT)
  • Quality Inn Stateline (Wendover, UT)
  • Super 8 by Wyndham Wendover (Wendover, UT)
  • Peppermill Wendover (West Wendover, NV)

Alternatively, if you’re short on time, you can opt for a day trip from Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City offers a wide variety of accommodation choices that cater to different preferences and budgets.

How to plan to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats

Camping Near the Bonneville Salt Flats

While camping at the Bonneville Salt Flats themselves is not permitted, you can find suitable campsites in and near Wendover. A couple of recommended options include Rishel Peak Campsite (0.798505, -113.939071), which is free to use, and Wendover KOA Journey located at 651 North Camper Drive in West Wendover, NV.

Are the Bonneville Salt Flats Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! However, it’s important to consider the time of year when planning your visit. The months between July and October offer the most favorable conditions, ensuring a memorable experience. Be sure to add a trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats to your itinerary if you’re in Salt Lake City or exploring the nearby areas of Ely, Nevada.

We hope this comprehensive guide provides you with all the essential information needed to plan your visit to the captivating Bonneville Salt Flats. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out. Happy exploring!

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