Best time to travel to Utah

Dry Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah

The safest time to explore white infinity and the only time when you can drive

Best time: late July–October

Dry Bonneville Salt Flats
Dry Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats are listed among most outstanding landscapes in North America. It is one of Utah's most visited nature spots. These magnificent white carpets cover 1,214 square km and contain 147 million tons of salt. Despite huge area and volume, the salt crust is rather fragile and might be easily broken down under the pressure of a vehicle.

In winter and spring, the flat is covered with water, which makes salt crust softer and particularly vulnerable. Therefore, vehicles aren't allowed to the area. If you want to ride across the flats, you're welcome to come between late July through October. The water evaporates and the wind creates a perfectly smooth and hard surface again. In case of thunderstorms that also occur in the dry season, the area gets closed for vehicles.

No vegetation grows on this extremely salty soil and the climate here is desertlike, critical for any animals or plants. Note, that in summer the temperature rises to 40°C. However the heat has its benefits as well—when it gets really hot, heat waves and salty soil can create amazing mirages.

The best spot to view the Salt Flats is located along I-80, east of Wendover, where you can also find a rest stop, offering restrooms and water. To the east and south, the flats extend seemingly forever. But a little farther to the north and west, low mountains break this neverending flat landscape and look as if they were floating.

Practical info

When is the ideal period to visit Bonneville Salt Flats for vehicle riding?

For vehicle riding on Bonneville Salt Flats, it is better to visit between late July through October. The area becomes hard due to the evaporation of water over time, which makes it perfect for rides. In winter and spring, the roads are submerged by water, so vehicles are not allowed on the salt flats during such periods. Show more

What is the ideal location to view the Salt Flats at convenience?

On I-80 east of Wendover, there is a rest stop which is the best location for viewing the Salt Flats conveniently. The rest stop provides facilities such as restrooms and water. The flats appear to extend endlessly to the east and south, but to the north and west, there are low mountains that create a stunning contrast with the flat landscape. Show more

What are the figures showing the size and volume of Bonneville Salt Flats?

Bonneville Salt Flats covers an area of 1,214 sq km and contains 147 million tons of salt. Even though it is vast, the salt crust is fragile, which can be broken due to the pressure of the vehicles. In this extremely saline soil, there is no vegetation growth, and desert-like climate conditions prevail that are not suitable for living organisms. Show more

What unique attribute of the Bonneville Salt Flats makes it outstanding?

The Bonneville Salt Flats is renowned for its status as a natural wonder and the vast white carpets that extend over millions of salt quantity. The time period between late July through October is the only time when vehicles are allowed to roll on the flats, offering limited period where tourists can enjoy the view. Also, the lack of vegetation and desert climate prevailing in the area add to its mystery and exceptional quality. Show more

What optical illusion is created by the heat in summer at the Salt Flats?

On Bonneville Salt Flats, during summer when the heat rises to 40°C, heat waves and salty soil cause an optical illusion called mirage. Light waves are bent due to heat, resulting in a bending effect on the radiating surface, creating an illusion of a receding lake or shimmering pool of water. Despite their incredible beauty, it's crucial to stay hydrated while witnessing these optical illusions. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin