Bonneville Salt Flats / Bonneville Speedway – Wendover, Utah - Atlas Obscura
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Wendover, Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats / Bonneville Speedway

Come for the speed, leave in love with the desert. 

The Bonneville Salt Flats are all that remains of Pleistocine Lake in Utah – and are a densely-packed salt pan located west of the Great Salt Lake.

This area is wide open and extremely flat, thus it’s an excellent natural location for The Bonneville Speedway. Five major land speed events take place at The Bonneville Salt Flats yearly, and thousands flock to the area to witness them.

This barren desert is an oasis of adrenaline – racers and spectators come from all over the world to experience the natural speedway. Several land speed records have been recorded over the years with certainly more to come, as long as the natural tracks exist. The area includes 2-3 tracks set up every year depending on the condition of the salt, and is home to Speed Week every August, World of Speed every September, and the World Finals annually in October.  These events are open to cars, trucks, and motorcycles, though some events are restricted to one or the other. Admission to the raceway varies depending on the event and visitors must bring their own supplies and pack them out upon departure.

The Bonneville Salt Flats are also extremely beautiful, and a favorite location for filming commercials, movies, and television shows. Documentaries and films about the area and the races are widely available and each features the stark beauty of the land. The salt flats are maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and are open year round to the public.

The Bonneville Speedway is a slightly different course every year and is steadily shrinking, due to the extraction of salt from the area. Geologists estimate that up to 55 million short tons of salt have been removed from the area since mining began in the early 1960s. All major event promoters contribute to maintaining, replacing, and prepping the salt in the soil.

 

Know Before You Go

Take Exit 4 off I-80. Proceed North on SaltFlats Rd for 1.2 miles. Turn East at "The Bend in the Road" (stay on the only paved road) proceed East for 2.7 miles to the end of the road.