Great Salt Lake Sightseeing

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The Great Salt Lake is a fascinating sightseeing attraction for visitors traveling through Utah; even still, it falls far short of the number of tourists who visit other attractions in Utah, such as Temple Square in Salt Lake City and Utah's five national parks in the southern region of the state (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands National Parks). So what is so fascinating about a lake that many locals will tell you is dead? Well, it IS America's Dead Sea!

The Great Salt Lake is the biggest lake west of the Mississippi River, stretching 70 miles in length and 30 miles in width. Though a little known secret is that this massive lake has an average depth of just 12 feet! In the beginning, it was over 1,000 feet deep, so what happened?! Great Salt Lake is the saltiest lake in the western hemisphere, but it wasn't always that way. Today it can reach a salinity of up to 30% salt in the northern region by the end of the summer, which is nearly ten times as salty as the oceans. 10,000 years ago it was a freshwater lake that was ten times as large as Great Salt Lake is today. We call this prehistoric lake, Lake Bonneville (perhaps you've heard of the famous Bonneville Salt Flats where land speed records have been set for decades, or even the Pontiac Bonneville car). Over time Lake Bonneville began to evaporate and 90% of the water disappeared, with all of the salt staying behind it then became the salty lake we know today as Great Salt Lake.

Today Great Salt Lake is so salty that you simply cannot sink in it! A century ago, it was a popular swimming destination, with beach resorts dotting the shores, including Saltair - "the Coney Island of the West." It has been several decades since the lake was known as a desirable destination to most locals, but it has a rich history and a fascinating science to it that many tourists and visitors will find worth the time to discover.

The stories and science of the Great Salt Lake can be experienced best with a knowledgeable guide provided on our Great Salt Lake Sightseeing Tour, which is offered several times a day, Monday through Saturday, at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:30 PM, and 5:00 PM for the 2018 tour season.