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Remnants of an Ancient Inland Sea.

The Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake offers a unique opportunity to see the curvature of the earth.

Elevation: 
4,206 Feet
Great Salt Lake State Park is an outdoor oasis tucked away in the northwestern corner of Utah. It offers a unique landscape filled with miles of golden shorelines, stunning mountain views, and plenty of opportunities for exploration and recreation. The park offers visitors a variety of habitats to explore, including salt flats, mudflats, marshlands and freshwater wetlands, providing a plethora of activities to enjoy.

The park's centerpiece is the famed Great Salt Lake, North America's largest natural lake outside of the Arctic Circle and the world’s largest saltwater lake. It covers some 2,000 square miles (5,200 sq km) and has a maximum depth of 33 feet (10 m). At times, the lake can appear to be a sea of shimmering white salt crystals and is home to numerous species of fish as well as brine shrimp.

geology

The Great Salt Lake is also rich in geology, with a variety of features that are unique to the area. The lake's south shore is composed of salt flats and mudflats which were formed when water levels dropped due to the evaporation process. The lake's north shore is made up of rocky cliffs and towering bluffs created by the continual erosion of sedimentary rock. On the lake's east side, visitors will find a variety of salt mines and crystal formations which are home to some of the rarest minerals in the world.

history

The lake was used by many native tribes including the Ute, Shoshoni, Goshute and Paiute who relied on its resources for food, trading and travel. It was also an important stop along the Oregon Trail for thousands of settlers who crossed the lake in search of a better life. In 1978, it became an official state park and has since become a popular destination for visitors looking to experience the diverse landscape and wildlife found here.
Photo gallery

Wildlife

Great Salt Lake State Park in Salt Lake City, Utah is a haven for wildlife, with over 300 species of birds, including the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and great blue heron. The lake is also home to many mammals such as badgers, beavers and muskrats. Additionally, the park is home to numerous reptiles and amphibians including the western painted turtle, spadefoot toad and tiger salamander. One of the most well-known creatures that live in the Great Salt Lake is the brine shrimp, a small shrimp-like creature. With over 50 million pounds of these creatures being harvested, the Great Salt Lake is responsible for nearly half of the supply of brine shrimp in the world. Not only is brine shrimp responsible for 70 to 100 million dollars worth of money annually for the fishing industry, they are great food for fish and shellfish that are then raised for human consumption.

Points of Interest

ISLANDS

Counting the exact number of islands is complicated due to the dramatic changes in water level dependent on rainfall in a particular year. There are 11 islands that have been named.
  • Antelope Island 
  • Stansbury Island
  • Fremont Island 
  • Black Rock Island
  • White Rock Island
  • Goose Island
  • Hat Island
  • Carrington Island 
  • Egg Island 
  • Dolphin Island 
  • Browns Island 

Antelope Island

Antelope Island is 30 minutes north of Salt Lake City and is the most visited of the Great Salt Lake islands. Antelope Island is a great location for wildlife lovers. The island is home to one of the largest herds of free-roam bison amongst other interesting creatures. Visitors come to Antelope Island for a time filled with outdoor adventure, mountain biking, hiking, floating, swimming, picnicking, camping, and more.
Oolitic Sand: The west beach of Antelope Island offers a unique opportunity to experience oolitic sand. This sand is tiny rounded pieces of sand with a core that is often made of the fecal pellet of a brine shrimp. The sediment rolls along the bottom of the lake collecting layers and developing an interesting rounded sand so different from the fragment sand found on most other beaches.

THE GREAT SALTAIR

The Great Saltair is situated along Interstate 80 on the Great Salt Lake between Salt Lake City and Tooele Utah. The Great Saltair has a rich history of entertainment from swimming to amusement parks. Today this structure stands as the third and is most frequently utilized as a concert and event venue.

Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats, also referred to as Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway, is near the Nevada border on the western side of this state park. They are salty and they are flat, attracting visitors from all over the world with their jaw dropping, bright white, salt crust layer that appears to go on forever. This landscape makes for some incredible photography, cinematography, and driving really really fast. Many of the highest land speed records have been made here in Utah at the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway.

GREAT SALT LAKE STATE PARK

There is a visitors center, boat slips, and the Great Salt Lake Campground with RV hookups. See the website for fees and availability that can be affected by water levels. Visitors to the Great Salt Lake State Park utilize the area for short hikes, camping, sailing, and boating.

Sprial Jetty

The Spiral Jetty is a 1,500 foot earthwork rock sculpture that has been constructed on the edge of a northern portion of The Great Salt Lake. It is made out of black basalt rock and was created by Robert Smithson in 1970. On your way to the Spiral Jetty it is hard to pass up the opportunity to see the Golden Spike National Historic Site, where the transcontinental railroad was connected in 1869.

WHALES OF SALT LAKE CITY

While driving around the Salt Lake area, you may run into some seemingly out of place whale sculptures or artwork. These art pieces are a tribute to a rumored release of 2 whales into The Great Salt Lake in 1875.

LAKE MONSTER

There are several legends of lake monsters in The Great Salt Lake, from horse headed crocodiles to dolphin like creatures, The Great Salt Lake is an adventure not to be missed.

Planning your trip to the great salt lake

Great Salt Lake State Park in Salt Lake City, Utah is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The park offers a variety of activities including camping, boating, fishing, bird watching, hiking and more. There are several campgrounds located throughout the park with amenities such as flush toilets, showers and picnic areas. Many visitors also enjoy exploring the lake via boat, kayak or canoe. Fishing is also a popular activity in the park, with rainbow and cutthroat trout being some of the most sought-after species. The Great Salt Lake State Marina in Salt Lake City, Utah features a boat ramp and an area where you can keep your boats when you travel to this state park.

lodging/camping

If you are looking for lodging near Great Salt Lake State Park, there are several options to choose from. The park offers a variety of campsites as well as rental cabins, perfect for those who prefer the convenience of having their own private accommodations. Additionally, there are plenty of nearby hotels and motels in the surrounding cities such as Salt Lake City, Tooele, and Ogden, Utah.

dining

There are several dining options near Great Salt Lake State Park. Visitors can enjoy a variety of local eateries, fast-food restaurants and cafes in the nearby cities. Guests can also take advantage of the shops and restaurants in Salt Lake City and other nearby cities.

Fees/permits

There are fees for day-use access to the state park as well as camping and the campground. For more information about fees and permits, visit the state park website to get all the proper amounts for Great Salt Lake State Park in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Pets

Pets are allowed in the park but must be on a leash that is a maximum of six feet in length at all times and owners must clean up after them. Pets are not permitted in any of the buildings or on the beach area.

Anasazi

Anasazi

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Antelope Island

Antelope Island

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Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

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Bear Lake

Bear Lake

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Camp Floyd

Camp Floyd

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

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Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point

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Deer Creek

Dear Creek

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East Canyon

East Canyon

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Echo

Edge of the Cedars

Edge of the Cedars

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Escalante Petrified Forest

Escalante Petrified Forest

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Flight Park

Flight Park

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Freemont Indian

Freemont Indian

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Frontier Homestead

Frontier Homstead

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Goblin Valley

Goblin Valley

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Goosenecks

Goosenecks

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The Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake

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Green River

Green River

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Gunlock

Gunlock

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Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail

Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail

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Huntington 

Huntington

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Hyrum

Jordan River Off-Highway Vehicle

Jordan River Off-Highway Vehicle

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Jordanelle

Jordanelle

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Kodachrome Basin

Kodachrome Basin

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Snow Canyon

Snow Canyon

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Yuba

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