The Bonneville Salt Flats are located on Interstate 80 at the Utah-Nevada border. It is a unique area of Utah that is known for its alien beauty, car racing tracks, and speed records.
The Bonneville Salt Flats encompasses 26,000 - 30,000 acres of salt flats. The area is an expanse of hard, white salt matter. The salt flats are located on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin. It is an hour and a half west (or 110 miles west) of Salt Lake City.
There is a signboard or plaque at the Bonneville Salt Flats which was erected by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 1972 which reads,
Welcome to the Bonneville Salt Flats and Utah's Famed Measured Mile-Site Of World Land-Speed Runs.
Here is what you can expect as you visit the Bonneville Salt Flats.
What to Expect
The salt flats are rated as the number one place to see in Wendover. The flats were named after Lake Bonneville which dried up many years ago. When the water evaporated, salt was left behind.
You can walk or drive on the salt flats with certain restrictions. It is not recommended to drive on the salt flats at night or when the flats are wet from the rain.
The scenery on the flats is all white. There is white salt everywhere and it feels surreal to be in the middle of all the whiteness.
The salt flats have been used by speed racers to drive and race at maximum speed since there are no obstacles.
While the public can easily visit the salt flat, sometimes it can be closed due to private events.
You can also choose to camp or hike in the area.
Camping / Hiking near the Bonneville Salt Flats
There is no overnight camping allowed on the salt flats. According to the camping nerd website, the best place to camp is the Silver Island Mountains area which is away from the busy road. Depending on where you camp, you can get some fantastic views of the salt flats and the mountains. The best part of camping here is that it is free. Please note that there are no campground facilities. You just have to rely on what's available on nearby public lands. Basically, it's all about primitive camping here.
Although, campers do leave trash behind in the area, it's still a beautiful place for camping. At this location, you would also be a few hours away from Wendover which is a little casino town.
You can also hike on the flats year-round. There are rest stops. No permits are needed and you can bring your pets.
For hiking on the salt flats, it takes about 1-2 hours to complete. It is about a 1 mile hike out and back.
The Bureau of Land Management Salt Lake Field Office
The Bonneville Salt Flats are managed by the Bureau of Land Management Salt Lake Field Office. The government field office provides group permits and permits for filming on the flats.
The bureau is also trying to save the Bonneville Salt Flats from deteriorating. The Salt Laydown project is attempting to replenish the flats with salt.
Here is what the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has to say about the flats and how they are protecting it,
Managed by the BLM as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and Special Recreation Management Area,the Bonneville Salt Flats are a 30,000 acre expanse of hard, white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin in Utah. Bonneville is also on the National Register of Historic Landmarks because of its contribution to land speed racing. - quote from the Bureau of Land Management website
If you are in the Salt Lake City area, don't miss this national treasure.