On our 9000 mile road trip between Seattle and Chicago the Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah was top on my list to see! Re-routing didn’t take us terribly far our of way as we were able to see other once-in-a-lifetime stops!
I didn’t know much about the Bonneville Salt Flats before visiting other than it is famous of course for breaking records in racing.
I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find the location but it was easy peasy! There are some things you’ll want to know before going.
How far are the Bonneville Salt Flats from Salt Lake City?
The Bonneville Salt Flats are approximately 100 miles west of Salt Lake City and roughly 1.5 hours of driving away. It’s a pretty straight drive out there getting more desolate the further away from Salt Lake City you go!
How do I get to the Bonneville Salt Flats?
Take Interstate 80 west of Salt Lake City and get off on Exit 4 – just before you reach the Nevada State Line. You’ll be able to see them before you get to them! It’s AMAZING! Once you exit the freeway turn right and drive north past the truck stop.
Can I drive on the Bonneville Salt Flats?
Yes! You can drive on the Bonneville Salt Flats as long as there is no sign telling you not to. But you do so at your own risk. It’s easy to get stuck around the edges where it tends to be wet and anywhere there’s water.
When we visited there were standing puddles of water everywhere, a sign restricting vehicle access as well as police presence to enforce it.
Does it cost anything to go to the Bonneville Salt Flats?
No! There are no fees for visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats! The road you turn on to get to this Salt Flats International Speedway is LONG! Seriously though – it’s an incredible feeling driving out there surrounded by stark white amazing views.
I should have known it but you WILL GET SALTY! Walking out on the salt flats is an experience like none other but you will get absolutely caked in salt. Most of us were wearing flip flops and were met with immediate salt streaks and cakey white dust on our legs.
Looking over the white stretch of land tricks you into thinking it might be amazing to take your shoes off – it’s not! As you can imagine clumps of salt are very rough and don’t feel the best on bare feet!
The day we went the temperature was well over 100*. Just roasting hot. My poor van AC couldn’t keep up with the heat. So be prepared depending on when you are there for unbearable heat and sun glare off of the white flats.
What to Bring with You to the Salt Flats:
We only had 2 pairs of sunglasses between the 4 of us and quickly realized at the time that there was no way we were going to be able to open our eyes for a long period of time without them! I’ve been to white sandy beaches my entire life and the glare off the salt flats was no joke!
We had one gallon of water in the car which we quickly ran out of! I wish we’d had 3 gallons. Not only did we all drink a full water bottle each while we were out there (warm water – bleh!) but we also used some of it to clean the salt residue off of our feet and cuts.
Also, if you’re going to hike out on the salt flats or spend any length of time out there I highly recommend putting on sunscreen first. You’ll quickly burn with that salt sun glare!
You are absolutely going to want to bring your camera! If you’re taking special photos make sure to bring any props you want! As long as you take them out with you!
Try photo props like balloons, bright colors, big floppy hats, long flowing dresses, etc.
I was by myself and the 3 kids, my youngest was 4 years old, on a 9000 mile road trip – otherwise I would have LOVED to set up an awesome photo shoot out there!
I mentioned that most of us had flip flops on when we visited which allowed us to walk through the salty waters. It was also nice that we didn’t have to wash off sneakers after our visit.
I don’t recommend shaving your legs or having any cuts on your legs/feet if you’re going to wear flip flops! Just something to think about! One of my boys had blisters from previous adventures and it didn’t feel so great on the salt.
We honestly didn’t stay more than 15 minutes….and it took us a lot longer than that to get there! It was cool to see, although some of the nearby rest areas could have provided us a close up to salt flats.
If you’re making the trek out have a game plan handy! It’s a cool place no doubt but the heat can be ruthless if you don’t plan ahead!