ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Four Don't-Miss Utah Attractions, with a Pinch of Salt

Updated on March 27, 2016

Bonneville Salt Flats and Bonneville International Speedway, on I-80, near the Nevada/Utah Border

I know, I know. You're on I-80 and you're making good time and you already stopped for snacks 4 times. But trust me, it's totally worth it to get off the interstate and take a walk on the salt flats, if only for a few minutes. I found it quite humbling to walk out a way and marvel at ALL THAT SALT. They say that if the Donner party hadn't crossed the salt flats and lost so many animals on the trek, they may not have needed to resort to cannibalism to survive.

To the west of the salt flats is the Bonneville Speedway and yes, you can drive out on the flats and yes, it is a BLAST. But a word to the wise: The MOMENT you get back to civilization, go to a car wash and wash all that salt off (and none of it falls off, not even going 80 mph on the interstate). Not a drive-thru car wash, but a car wash with a super sprayer and I would even recommend laying on the ground and making sure you get all the salt off! It WILL mess up the electrical system on your car.

Build salt castles!
Build salt castles! | Source
Where salt meets sky.
Where salt meets sky. | Source
Bonneville International Speedway; many speed records were broken here.
Bonneville International Speedway; many speed records were broken here. | Source

Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, north shore of the Great Salt Lake

So it does take effort to get here and yes, you do really need either a 4-wheel drive vehicle (a sedan will not make the trip) or the will to walk (possible running into rattlesnakes along the way), but this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

My friend doesn't really get out and moving until mid-afternoon, so after visiting the Golden Spike Historical Site around 3 pm, we decided to at least try to get out to the Jetty. At first we took the wrong fork in the road - we went right instead of left, with a flat tire on the way back - but we quickly found the right way and made the slow journey to the Spiral Jetty. It turned out perfectly; we got there as the sun was beginning to set, and the sky was a perfect reflection on the still, salty water. It was such a calm and magical instant, standing there on Smithson's earthwork, isolated from humanity.

Again, it is a tough road and there are rattlesnakes. We saw one. Once we got to the Jetty, we didn't have problems with snakes or bugs (unlike at Antelope Island, which was a buggy nightmare). You can walk along the earthwork without any trouble, but to walk in the water you will need sturdy shoes. Our flip flops were eaten up by the mud in some places; in others, the salt was so hard and sharp it was impossible to walk any further in the inches-deep lake.

On the way to the Spiral Jetty, be sure to stop at the Golden Spike National Historic Site. This is the point where the railroad coming from the west and the railroad coming from the east finally connected and made a continuous track from one end of the country to another. Imagine all those people working out here in the middle of nowhere!

Artist Robert Smithson's earthwork, the Spiral Jetty.
Artist Robert Smithson's earthwork, the Spiral Jetty. | Source
That's not ice; it's salt!
That's not ice; it's salt! | Source
A salt crystal found in the Great Salt Lake.
A salt crystal found in the Great Salt Lake. | Source
Steam Locomotive at the Golden Spike National Historic Site.
Steam Locomotive at the Golden Spike National Historic Site. | Source

Kennecott Copper Mine

A testament to what unbridled greed and a total lack of concern for the environment can create. Reality check: This is the largest open-pit mine in the world. IT MAKES ITS OWN WEATHER. It is a marvel. It is humbling. And it is pretty terrifying and horrific. Be sure to watch the "We're Totally Not Ruining The Environment" video in the visitor center that even my ultra-conservative, card-carrying Republican girlfriend had trouble swallowing.

And if it's a hot day and you have an option? Well, even if you don't have an option, leave the dogs at home. They are strictly prohibited outside your car. At all. Even to pee.

Kennecott Copper Mine.
Kennecott Copper Mine. | Source
Kennecott Copper Mine.  And that dump truck isn't small, it's just *really far away.
Kennecott Copper Mine. And that dump truck isn't small, it's just *really far away. | Source

Temple Square, Salt Lake City

I love the Mormons, and I think Utah is beautiful. Temple Square is really something. No, really. And just because you're not Mormon doesn't mean it's a huge waste of time.

If you're not a Mormon, you're probably rolling your eyes. Dumb, right? Nope, this place is great. From the giant Jesus in space (actually a beautiful statue of Jesus Christ, Thorvaldsen’s Christus) to the pagan symbols all over the Temple (sorry, heathens, you can't go in) to the reflective pool on the east side of the Temple, Temple Square is a beautiful, spiritual location, even for non-Mormons.

Brigham Young is buried a few short blocks to the east of Temple Square. Again, worth the short walk to see the final resting place of a man who was so dedicated to his faith he led his followers to a dead sea and created a new language!

Salt Lake City Mormon Temple.
Salt Lake City Mormon Temple. | Source
In Temple Square.
In Temple Square. | Source
Thorvaldsen’s Christus statue.
Thorvaldsen’s Christus statue. | Source
The reflective pool and entrance to the Temple.
The reflective pool and entrance to the Temple. | Source
Brigham Young's grave marker, just east of Temple Square.
Brigham Young's grave marker, just east of Temple Square. | Source

© 2015 Carrie Peterson

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      3 years ago from USA

      Utah is definitely a state we would like to visit again. There is so much to see (including the wonderful National Parks!) that one visit just isn't enough. We did get to see Temple Square, the salt flats and spent a day on Antelope Island enjoying spectacular views of the Great Salt Lake. Wish we had known about the Spiral Jetty as it looks so interesting! Our next visit will be sure to include some of the special places mentioned in your article.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We visited all 5 national parks in Utah as well as some of the state parks. Of the things you mentioned worth seeing, the only one we got to see was the Salt Lake City Mormon Temple (what was allowed to see as a non-Mormon). It is indeed beautiful! That is an amazing state with so much to see and do! We loved every minute of our vacation trip there many years ago. Up votes and sharing, pinning and tweeting.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)