The last stop on our road trip to Utah was the Bonneville Salt Flats. This was not really one of our destinations, but since it was on the way back home to California, we wanted to stop to take some photos. This was not our first time to Bonneville, but previously we were there on a cloudy day, and it didn’t look as amazing as in pictures we had seen. So when we left Vineyard in Utah, I crossed my fingers hoping, that once we reach Bonneville the sun would be shining.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are on the border of Utah and Nevada on Interstate 80. This so called salt pan was born when a lake evaporated and left behind a layer of salt. At its thickest, the salt layer at Bonneville is 1,8 metres (70.86 inches) thick, but looks can be deceiving as it is fragile, since there is often mud under the salt. Bonneville Speedway is famous for record breaking land speeds during Speed Week and it gets televised to many countries. However, in the last few years they had to cancel due to the salt layer getting too thin.
The beginning of our trip didn’t look very promising regarding the sun because right after we left, it started snowing. Everywhere we looked the sky looked grey. It wasn’t before we had passed Salt Lake City (which I wrote about a couple of years ago by the way), and we were driving along the Great Salt Lake, that we would see some glimpses of the sun. The first sign of the salt flats ahead was the Morton Salt Factory which we saw by the road. Morton is a popular salt brand in the U.S.. When we finally reached the salt desert, the sky was crystal clear. Woohoo! But then there was another little obstacle: it was crazy windy and the wind had blown some sand on top of the salt. So now when the sky was not grey anymore, the salt flat was.
Finally we managed to find a spot where the salt was shining pure white under the sun. And it happened to be right at the rest area so we parked and headed out. Instead of parking, many people drove further on top of the salt. That is what we did last time too, but this time we wanted to spare our car from the salt. We walked a little bit to take some photos. We probably would have spent a little more time there if the wind wasn’t so bad. By looking at the photos one probably can’t imagine how freezing cold it actually was at the salt flats. And here is one tip to everyone: If you see a spot to stop, use it! There is no way to turn back unless you drive miles and miles ahead or make an illegal turn.
The closest town to the Bonneville Salt Flats is West Wendover where we stopped for lunch. You really know you have arrived in Nevada when the only Starbucks in town is at a casino! But we did manage to get our coffee too and continued our drive toward Winnemucca where we had a hotel reservation. The salt flats always look amazing, but there really isn’t anything else there. So I don’t think I would drive all the way there just to see the salt. If you want to feel like a tourist, the gas station close by sells some souvenirs and postcards. But we were happy that we had something to see on our drive back home to California!
We arrived home the next day tired but happy. Next time some more Christmassy topics!