Bonneville Salt Flats
One of the natural wonders of the west is the Great Salt Lake, one of the saltiest bodies of water on earth. Left behind as it has shrunk are the Bonneville Salt Flats. Located at the base of Pilot Peak at the western edge of the Great Salt Lake desert just minutes from Wendover, the salt flats are a fragile crust of salt on more solid clay. They can be startling white and are so large and flat you can see the curvature of the earth. The reality of their size creeps up on you when you walk any distance on them. You walk and walk and never seem to gain any ground. Sometimes the mountains in the distance look like they are floating due to a mirage effect. During the winter they are often covered with a thin layer of water which evaporates in the dry spring air renewing the salt for another year.
Every year in late summer during speed week (of which I think there are several), racers and cars and motorcycles come to test themselves against the salt, to see how fast they can go. The end of the 10 mile track is not visible from the start. Cars line up, having been inspected and approved for trial, waiting for their turn and then have a chance to show they can go fast enough for a second trial.
The fastest cars were raced here for years. The land speed record was last set on a similar playa in Nevada, but Utahns can still recall Ab Jenkins Mormon Meteor and Craig Breedlove's Spirit of America which were on display at the State Capitol.
The movie "The Fastest Indian" is a wonderful tale of an Aussie who came to race his Indian Motorcycle.
The salt flats can be seen in commercials and movies. "Independence Day" has a particularly wonderful scene there. On our last visit it was being used as a backdrop for wedding pictures.
Driving on the salt is not recommended without some idea of the strength of the salt and the general area. The race track itself may even be off limits except during race weeks in order to preserve the best surface.
There is a rest stop just east of Wendover on both sides of the freeway to see the salt flats. The one on the north side (going west) is slightly better due to the fact the best part of the salt flats are on that side.
You can also drive to the beginning of the race track from Wendover.