The Bonneville Salt Flats

Helloooo! It’s been a long time since my last post. In the travel blogging world, this usually means the blogger is tired, out of money and content, or traveling. And sometimes, all of the above! Lucky for me, I’ve been traveling. It’s been a fun few months and I have lots to share with you very soon — southern Portugal and Spain, Morocco, and a few other places I’ve been to on recent road trips in the U.S.

For today’s post, I’m easing back into the blogging routine with photos from the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. I was there last month. This place looked so cool while traveling along the eastbound lane of I-70 that we made a hard left turn, illegally crossed the median (in a U-Haul, no less) and pulled over to check it out. There’s something magnetic about the flats — inspiring endless photos and, for many people, the desire to drive across the flats at high speed (which is legal). This is how the Bonneville Speedway came about and all of the land speed records since then.

In the winter the salt flats are covered by a thin layer of water but as summer arrives the water evaporates. Nearly all of it was gone at the time of our visit but a few pools remained. We stepped across them onto the dry skin of the flats. The matte finish was a network of paths where the water had collected and evaporated leaving behind a crystalline grit that felt firm underfoot and tasted as salty as it looked. The sun eventually came out, bringing the entire landscape into focus at an almost unbearable brightness against the blue sky.

The history of the salt flats starts in the Pleistocene era. During the glaciation of the Ice Age, Lake Bonneville was a “pluvial lake” — filled by rainwater, without an outflow. The lack of an outflow caused the lake to become salty (just like Salt Lake, the Dead Sea, etc.) because the naturally occurring amount of salt in the water couldn’t be released as it normally is when water flows downstream.

Lake Bonneville was nearly 1,000 feet deep, with a shoreline about 1,000 feet higher than the current elevation of the salt flats. At one point Lake Bonneville overflowed, releasing an enormous volume of water and lowering the shoreline considerably. In the millennia since then, the climate has become more arid causing the remaining lake to evaporate, leaving behind a salt pan that was once the bottom of the lake.

So here we are, on the top of the bottom … a natural wonder from thousands and thousands of years ago.

More posts coming soon — including a series that’s very dear to my heart, starting tomorrow!

34 comments

    1. Hey! Thanks for the welcome back! Happy you enjoyed this post. Have enjoyed your recent posts on BC hotels. Headed to Rockwater Secret Cove on the Sunshine Coast soon — not lux enough to make your list, but looks pretty cool! Will post some photos when we’re there. Thanks!

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      1. I have stayed at Rockwater Secret Cove a couple of years ago. In fact, I loved the setting and the tented accommodations. We even spotted some killer whales while there. However, the overall experience was not good, because a wedding party was taking place at the time of our visit and the music kept us awake all night. Although they did refund our stay, it did not meet my high expectations πŸ™‚

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  1. Welcome back! I have always thought of these flats as merely a car racing place rather than a travel destination in and of themselves. They are beautiful in the simple way I love most – whites and blues and a little texture – a perfect combo! (And having driven many a U-Haul in the last few years, I know what that U-turn entailed!)

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    1. LOL! Totally laughing at our shared U-Haul moment! It was not easy and I was sure we were going to get pulled over. But the risk was worth it. I had no idea how cool this place is when it’s not covered with water. So great when traveling surprises us with unexpected delights like this one. Thanks for the welcome back! I need to catch up on my reading — will stop by and see what you’ve been up to. Hope you’re enjoying your summer! Hugs! ~K.

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    1. Hey beauty! Thanks! Plenty of time to look at ALL the photos from here when you come to visit in August!! Can’t wait to hang out, catch up and take more photos! See you soon! β™₯ K. P.S. Need to catch up about Wanderlust. Booked a room in Whistler for Fri/Sat with miles — was soooo $$$$$ otherwise. Will shoot you an email!

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  2. Good to know you’ve been traveling. Judging from your photos, the Bonneville Salt Flats remind me of Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia — I’ve never been to either place, though. I like when you said you’re on the top of the bottom, which technically is also the case with the Himalayas. Great photos, Kelly! and looking forward to more posts from your recent travels.

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    1. Bama! Wonderful to hear from you! Thanks for your comment. Alison mentioned Uyuni as well — I need to look it up. I’m not familiar with it but it sounds cool. Hope you’re doing well! I need to catch up on my reading. Will hop over to your blog and see what you’ve been up to. More coming soon! πŸ™‚

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    1. Good question, Diana. My guess is that unless someone is familiar with the Bonneville Speedway, they probably haven’t heard about the Salt Flats. I sort of knew about them but it wasn’t until we were driving through them that I really grasped what a cool place it is. Thanks for your comment!

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      1. It’s a seasonal salt marsh. Stunning during the day as well as in moonlight. It’s on my bucket list – hopefully, I’ll go there next summer. It’s definitely worth a visit!

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  3. Earlier this year, I posted about my trip there in July 2015. It is fascinating so see the same images from another month. The venue is so striking and peaceful. As I wrote in my post, If I had a comfortable chair, I could just sit out there for hours and just stare.

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