One of the greatest achievements of the 19th Century, the Golden Spike NHP commemorates the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The linking of the East and West lines was an important step in uniting the country together.
Places to See
Doubling as the Visitor Center, Promontory Station is the location of the Golden Spike and where the two trains met. In 1869, Leland Stanford held a celebration where the last spike, the Golden Spike was driven connecting the two railroad companies together. The actual Golden Spike is not here, but instead housed at Stanford University in California (although you can see various replicas). The Station and the various exhibits discuss the work, construction, and area of the station. Much of the tracks were built by Chinese laborers and only a few of those sites still remain. Be sure to check out the difference in tracks coming from the west and east based on the construction from the various railroad companies.
Jupiter Steam Locomotive
Located outside the Visitor Center, the Jupiter Steam Locomotive is a replica of the original Jupiter trains that met during the wedding of the rails ceremony. Each day you can watch the Jupiter Steam train make a pass across the area of the golden spike. Definitely one of the highlights of any visit to Promontory Point.
Daily May 1st – October 11th
- 10:00 AM – Arrival of the Jupiter
- 10:30 AM – Arrival of the No. 119
- 1:00 PM – Demonstration run with both locomotives
- 3:50 PM – Departure of No. 119
- 4:30 PM – Departure of Jupiter
October 12th – April 30th, the Locomotives remain within the Engine House. Ranger talks at the Engine House are available.
Winter Ranger Talks: 10:30am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm, Thursday through Monday.
There are two auto tours that stop at various historical points around the Golden Spike National Historical Site. The east tour is two miles and the west tour about 7 miles. Each shows you various interesting sites for the construction of the railroad including the Chinese arch, areas for blasting, cutting, and siding. The roads are dirt, narrow roads so you need to be sure your car is ok traveling. I had a few spots that were a bit tricky, and you should go in one direction. Roads may be closed during winter or other inclement weather.
Visiting the Golden Spike NHP
Visiting the National Historical Site was definitely high on my list of places to visit. The Station, located at nearly 5,000 ft along with the various exhibits were super interesting to view.
There is also a movie (which I recommend) that covers the place and the history of the Spike.
The highlight for me was watching the Jupiter Steam Train in action. I would recommend planning your visit around these times. There’s not a lot to do in the area, so you won’t have a lot going on if you come too early or too late for the train. Be sure to take a look at the differences in tracks from the east and west that represent the wood that was available to each of the railroad companies.
The Exhibits are worth viewing, but TBH they don’t take a long time to actually get through, and many of the artifacts are probably most interesting for hardcore train people.
The auto tours were probably my least favorite thing on the visit here. If you are limited in time they are definitely worth skipping. Actually you could probably skip them anyway. The areas to view were not the most scenic and there definitely were a few places I was worried for my car.
6200 North 22300 West Promontory, Utah, UT 84307
There is a Visitor Center located at Promontory Station at the address above.
Spring-Summer: Open daily, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM MT.
Mid-October to mid-April: Open Thursday-Monday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM MT
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Day
The hours of the Visitor Center are the hours of the activities and exhibit at Promontory Station.
Otherwise, The Auto tour and other areas of the ground close later in the day. Generally around 6 for the auto tour and dusk for other sites. There are gates for the auto tour roads that may close at other times as well.
- Private Vehicle Fee – $20.00
- Motorcycle Fee – $15.00
- Per Person Entrance Fee – $10.00 (for those walking, bicycling)
- Under 15 Free
Are Pets Allowed at Golden Spike NHP?
Pets are allowed at Golden Spike National Historic Site, however they are not allowed in the Visitor’s Center and must be kept on a leash at all times.
Be sure to be aware of the loud noises and movements of the Locomotives though.
National Park Passport Stamp
Website: Official NPS Site
Getting To the Golden Spike NHP
Golden Spike NHP is located in Northern Utah not close to any major area. So be sure to pay attention when you go as cell phone reception is spotty (at best).
Take I-15N to Exit 365 onto UT-83. Follow the road about 20miles and follow signs to Golden Spike NHP (on Golden Spike Dr.)
Take I-15S to I-84W to exit 40 (UT-102 W). Drive about 25 miles (UT-102W to UT-83N to Golden Spike Dr). You’ll see signs for Golden Spike NHP as you go.
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