Great Salt Lake and Salt Lake City
I have been to Salt Lake City couple of times now, but just because it’s a great starting point to explore the beautiful Utah natural parks and get to the world class skiing resorts. Last time we ended up here on a Ski weekend and before getting back to the airport we had couple of hours to kill and were thinking of what to see in the city. Searching for an inspiration online and looking at the map, our friend pointed out the Great Salt Lake and it’s Antelope Island.
To be honest, I had never thought where the city’s name come from and that here is an actual Salt Lake. Glittery salt flats are stretching as far as eye can see. 35 miles wide and 75 miles long it’s the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere. It has been on the map longer than America has been a nation. Its size and depth vary greatly with seasonal evaporation and precipitation.
Antelope Island State Park
Antelope Island is the largest island on the Grand Salt Lake. The only way to reach the island is through a causeway 35 minutes north of downtown. Plenty of wildlife to watch, including bison, antelope, sheep, deer and more than 250 bird species. Beautiful scenery all around with snowy mountain peaks and salty waters.
Why is the Great Salt Lake salty?
The lake is salty because it does not have an outlet. Rivers and streams constantly bring small amounts of salt in their water flow. Once it gets to Great Salt Lake, most of the water evaporates, leaving the salt behind. In some areas of the lake the salt water is so dense that it buoys at least 25% of the human body above its surface, allowing bathers to float like a cork.
Antelope Island’s Bison
Something we learned already on the trip to Yellowstone, despite their calm appearance bison are wild and can become aggressive if they feel threatened. So always keep a safe distance. Every October, the public is welcome to join in the Antelope Island Bison Roundup. They check their health and to keep the herd in a manageable size of 200 – 250 bison, few hundred excess animals are sold. Even helicopters are used to move the animals during the roundup. That should be so interesting to witness.
Things to do
Numerous hiking trails from easy to moderate and difficult. Kayaking, sunset watching, floating in the salty water, bird watching, horseback riding and many more activities. No matter if you are experiences hiker or family with kids, there is something to do for everyone.
The only downside? The park is full of small mosquitos that are particularly interested in your scalp. No bug sprays work for those so be sure to bring a hat with you.
Fun Facts about Salt Lake City and Great Salt Lake
- The Great Salt Lake is 4 times saltier than any of the world’s oceans. It is so salty because the ancient Lake Bonneville dried out leaving salt and other minerals behind.
- Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah all meet at four corners. This is the only place in the country where four states come together.
- Out of all US states Utah has the youngest population and one of highest birth rates.
- Utah has 5 National Parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce and Capitol Reef.
- Less than 50% of Salt Lake City residents are Mormon, which is much lower proportion than the rest of Utah.
- The 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics were considered one of the most successful Winter Olympiads in history with record broadcasting and financing support.
- There are 14 ski mountains to choose from in the Salt Lake City area, home to the greatest snow on earth.
- Utah is the second driest state in the country after Nevada.
- Bars and restaurants in Utah serving alcohol are required to have a 7 feet high partition to keep bartenders who prepare the drinks out of customer’s eyes. The aim is to prevent excessive drinking by keeping alcohol out of sight.
Salt Lake City is a fun place to visit. If you are in the area for a ski vacation or road trip to one of Utah’s national parks, check out the Great Salt Lake. More info here.