Thousands of people drive past it every day. Most don’t give much thought to stopping to see it though. And admittedly, the barren landscape of the west desert between the western side of the Great Salt Lake and the Great Basin never really appealed to me growing up. But as with many places I previously considered “boring”, I am discovering places like the Bonneville Salt Flats are actually quite fascinating and beautiful in its own unique way.
The salt flats are a stretch of 30,000 acres of salt crust left over from the prehistoric Lake Bonneville which covered much of the region over 14,000 years ago, leaving the Great Salt Lake the only sizable body of water that remains. The salt gives the appearance of snow on the ground, even if it is 100 degrees outside. Up close though, you see it is anything but. Occasionally, after heavy rains or melting snow, the flats are flooded with a thin layer of water. The water creates a mirror-like reflection of the peaks surrounding the flats.
The Salt Flats has drawn interest from casual tourists to filmmakers and enthusiasts seeking to break world land speed records at the Bonneville Speedway. About a 15 minutes drive east of Wendover and the Utah-Nevada border, the salt flats easily accessible to people passing through westbound on Interstate 80 at the rest stop along the freeway. From there, you can walk out onto the flats. If you are driving eastbound from Wendover, there is a rest stop on the opposite side of the freeway which allows you to see the flats, but there isn’t much to walk around on. You’d be better off following the signs from Wendover to the Speedway if coming from that direction.
The Bonneville Salt Flats opens up a lot of fun opportunities for photography. I’ll be back many times to come.