One of Utah’s most popular locations, The Bonneville Salt Flats and all the insider info for pictures.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are one of Utah’s many popular photo locations and hidden wonders! Learn everything you need to know about taking pictures here. Everyone needs to visit the Salt Flats at least once – better yet, everyone needs to have professional photos taken at the Salt Flats. You will definitely want to learn about the Salt Flats before trekking out there and you can find out everything you need to know about visiting and having your photos taken below.
Here are all the Insider Tips:
When is the Best Time to Visit?
You can visit the Salt Flats year-round but just as any location, the Salt Flats look different based on the time of the year. Sometimes the salt is covered in a layer of water, while in the summer it’s dry and rock hard. The best months are June-August if you want the completely dry look. However, my personal favorite time to visit is between September – November with the reflective water. If you’re wondering what it looks like on the day you want to visit you can view the live camera that shows you exactly what it looks like!
Before you leave your House
Beware! Whether you are coming from Salt Lake, Ogden or Provo you are in for a 1.5-3 hour drive each way with limited towns to stop for gas, snacks or bathroom breaks. Be sure to fill up on gas and take a potty break in Tooele or at the Bonneville Speedway Exit. I learned this the hard way, while carpooling with my pregnant assistant and having to stop on the side of the road. You are also going to want to pack some snacks for your hangry passengers.
Getting to The Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats are located about 122 miles from Salt Lake and 20 miles from the Nevada border at Wendover. Prepare for a 1.5-2 hour drive if you are coming from Salt Lake or Provo. You can put Bonneville Salt Flats into your GPS app and it will take you to the rest stop, it’s pretty hard to miss.
After you pass the Saltair you will drive and drive and drive and probably be asked “are we there yet” at least 17 times by your passengers. You will start to see some brown to white ground and wonder, are the Salt Flats really as white as everyone says? And then you’ll finally arrive at the most wondrous rest stop you’ll ever park in aka The Bonneville Salt Flats. You will have arrived at the magical white wonderland everyone raves about!
What you need to Know About the Actual Salt
The salt is messy and can be painful on your feet! I would recommend a pair of flip flops or a pair of shoes you’re okay to trash. Whether there’s water on the salt or it’s completely dry the salt turns into a chalky substance on the bottom of your shoes and anything that touches the ground. You might be surprised just how sharp and painful the ground is on bare feet, especially if there is water. Walking on shards of glass is the closest comparison. I always bring a spare pair of shoes and a couple trash bags to put my shoes into after visiting the Salt Flats. I don’t know about you but the only salt I want to take home with me is in the photos.
Finding your Way Around The Salt Flats
You can either stay and park at the rest stop or keep driving to the next exit at the Bonneville Speedway. There is a dead end road that takes you around the backside of the Salt Flats.
***Be careful you don’t drive past the rest stop if you want to end up at the truck stop. If you keep driving and take the Bonneville speedway exit you can get back on the freeway, but you won’t be able to turn around to get back to the rest stop for over an hour each way! I made this mistake once…. we ended up parking on the side of the road and running across both freeways (definitely not recommended).
What to Know for Photos
Choose a Professional Photographer
As I mentioned above, you will definitely want to choose a photographer who is very familiar with the area and how to photograph in harsh light. This location is the type of spot that can look flawless or awful. Choosing the right photographer will ensure it is flawless every time!
Plan for Sun
The Salt Flats are in complete open sunlight! Be prepared for bright sun unless it’s an overcast day. The best photos always come out the last 30 minutes of sunset. Be sure to check what time sunset is at when planning your session because it is about 30 minutes later than other areas in Utah.
Plan for Weather
Plan for weather, better safe than sorry! It’s more windy and cold than expected. More times than not, the Salt Flats can be pretty windy! Keep this in mind as you prepare your hairstyles.
Don’t Miss Sunset!
Be sure to stick around past sunset, the sky frequently turns into a magical pink! Some of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen have been on the Salt Flats (and trust me, I’ve seen A LOT of sunsets)!
Extra Insider Tips
This hidden treasure location hosts special events like the infamous speed week. Whether you want to attend an event or steer clear from crowds of people you can find more information here.
Driving on the Salt Flats
You can drive on the Salt Flats, but be careful! If you visit in the summer months, you’ll most likely see other cars out on the salt. You can drive on the salt! However, make sure you’re driving on areas that are completely dry. I’ve seen countless cars get stuck in the salt and it can corrode the underneath of your car!
Yikkesss, have we scared you away yet?! It sounds intimidating but if you use the advice above your trip should be well worth the adventure!
If you want to see more of Utah’s incredible photo locations make sure to take our quiz and receive our free guide of 40 Utah Locations. I would LOVE to photograph your special moments! Please contact me to book your family session! To view more of my work, follow me on Instagram.