What are the Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats, are one of the most impressive natural wonders in Utah. Covering 30,000 acres, the flats are about 12 miles long and 5 miles wide covering about 46 square miles.
The salt flats are an exceptionally hard and exceptionally flat natural wonder. Most of the surface is actually regular table salt! You can also basically drive in any direction as fast as you want! Actually the Salt Flats are known as the place where a lot of land speed records were broken.
Up until recently all of the recent land speed records were broken in Bonneville. However, the fastest current record was broken at the Black Rock desert in Nevada. All of the recent records have been rocket powered.
Is there a Fee to use the Bonneville Salt Flats
No, the salt flats are free and open to the public. So there is no fee to use the flats. However, during times of races or other events, there may be restrictions or fees. Especially fees to join races.
Can Anyone Drive on the Salt Flats
Yes, anyone can go and drive on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Just drive your car onto the flats and go. However, be sure to do it from the entrance at the end of the Bonneville Speedway Road as some areas close to the highway are private property.
Racing Events on the Salt Flats
Racing has been a history of the Salt Flats since the early days. The first race was scouted in 1896 by W.D. Rishel for a Bike race between San Francisco and New York.
There are several racing events held at the Bonneville Salt Flats around the year. The most famous is Speed Week, 6 days of racing in August (weather permitting). There are a lot of other events too. Utah Salt Flats Racing Association has others listed too.
Best Time to Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats
Early Summer and Fall are the best times to drive on the flats.
Summers are great and very popular, although the heat can be pretty intense. Be sure to bring lots of water and make sure your car doesn’t overheat.
During the winter and early spring, standing water causes the flats to get less stable. So they recommend people not drive during that time.
You are at your own risk regardless of the time. Be aware that even during the Summer, rainstorms can make the area muddy and unstable.
What to Bring
You need to be prepared for the weather when you come to the Salt Flats. Some things you should definitely bring.
- A Car: Obviously, but one you can drive on the flats. If you have a rental car, it may be prohibited. You can check or go at your own risk
- Sunglasses: The reflection from the salt can be intense
- Sunscreen: Especially during the Summer
- Water: Be sure to have lots of water
- Folding Chairs: If you are coming for any special race or event
- Hat: Definitely to protect against the intense sun
- Shoes: Ones you don’t mind getting salty
Getting to the Bonneville Salt Flats
The Salt Flats are located off I-80 in Utah on the border of Nevada. Getting here is pretty straightforward
Coming from the east on I-80, you’ll pass by a Bonneville Salt Flats Rest Stop (Not a bad spot to use the bathroom). After the rest stop, take exit 4 to the right and follow the signs for the Bonneville Salt Flats Raceway.
There are few major towns in Nevada close to the Salt Flats. It’s about a 5-6 hr. drive from Reno and Las Vegas.
Where to Stay Near the Salt Flats
There is no camping on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Due to the fragile nature and instability at times, it is not allowed to camp on the flats. There are also no bathroom or other facilities located on the Salt Flats.
However there is camping and other lodging in the vicinity, especially in nearby Wendover.
While I haven’t stayed in any yet. There are hotels available in nearby Wendover. This is a popular town to stay in for those coming for Racing Events at the Salt Flats.