Time for a detour! We drove about 690 kilometers out of the direction, from Rocky mountain national park via Dinosaur national monument to Salt Lake City. We didn't do that for fun, of course. It was time to find a solution for our camper engine that kept getting a little too hot in the mountains. We also had to pick up the new laptop (it was broken after 3 weeks and was being repaired…). Not fun, but a good reason to discover the city and its surroundings!
Salt Lake City is located in the north of the state of Utah on a (how could it be otherwise), large salt lake called The Great Salt Lake. West of the city about an hour's drive with our camper you will find a large salt flat; the Bonneville Salt Flats. In this blog I will tell you more about the city, the salt flats and what there is to do.
Table of contents
The ultimate tour of North America
This article is part of a large one-year tour the United States en Canada in 2022, with a Dutch 4×4 camper that we shipped ourselves… It is a bucket list worthy and a once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten.
We wrote almost 100 articles about this ultimate tour. Below is a handy overview in 5 expandable categories.
2. Highlights & Itineraries
3. Cities & places of interest (AZ)
- Tour America | Amelia City
- Tour America | Amelia Island
- Tour America | Annapolis
- Tour America | Ice Lake Trail
- Tour America | Kennedy Space Centre
- Tour America | KeyWest
- Tour America | Miami
- Tour America | New York City
- Tour America | Ouray
- Tour America | Salt Lake City
- Tour America | Savannah
- Tour America | Seattle
- Tour America | Silverton
- Tour America | St Augustine
- Tour America | Washington DC
- Tour America | Wynwood
4. National Parks & Monuments (AZ)
- Tour America | All National Parks (list)
- Tour America | Black Canyon of the Gunnison
- Tour America | Death Valley
- Tour America | Dinosaur
- Tour America | Everglades
- Tour America | Glacier
- Tour America | Grand Teton
- Tour America | Great Sand Dunes
- Tour America | Mesa Verde
- Tour America | Rock Mountain
- Tour America | Yellowstone
- Tour America | Yosemite
5. Plan your vacation to America here
- Itineraries compare | TUI, Americaplus, sawadee en Djoser.
- Motorhome rental companies compare | WorldWideCampers.com
- Fly & drives compare | Americaplus.
- Cruises and city trips compare | Travel deal.
- Flight tickets compare | Skyscanner, TUI, KLM. as KAYAK.
- Rental cars compare | Sunnycars, Alamo en rental cars.
- Tours and Activities compare | GetYourGuide.
- Camping sites reservation| RECREATION.gov
- Hotels & Resorts reservation | Booking.com.
- SIM cards order | USAsim en International sim.
- Parking at airport | Parkos, Central parking of park care.
- travel items (suitcases, world plugs, etc.) | Bol.com.
About Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is the capital of the state of Utah and it is a large city. The entire region has about 1,2 million inhabitants. There are many Mormon moved to the city along with miners and railroad builders. Today it is a green, left-wing and multi-cultural city.
Driving through Salt Lake City, you can see that there are many churches. Churches of ´Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saintsor Mormons. In addition, we also saw a lot pride flags. On the one hand because it was June (pride month in the United States) and on the other hand because the city has a large LGBTQ+ community.
Remark: It was mostly the flag above. I had not seen this often and I was curious, so I looked for information on the internet. It is the so-called Progress Pride Flag. This one was designed by Daniel Quasar. He added the five-colored triangle to the classic rainbow face. The black and brown stripes represent the LGBTQ+ communities of color and the pink, light blue, and white stripes represent transgender people.
To be honest, we didn't see much of the city. It was 35+ degrees and our time was occupied by driving to garages and the electronics store. Comfortable and cool from the car, we did drive past the main sights!
Salt Lake Temple
Salt Lake Temple (location here ) is a grand and imposing building. The eye-catcher of the city! It is the largest and most famous temple built by the Mormons. Temple Square, which the building stands on, is worth walking around and feasting your eyes on. Unfortunately, the temple was under scaffolding, but for the idea I added an image of the beautiful building.
The great salt lake
The lake just outside the city is not to be missed. You can go fishing, swimming, boating or have a picnic by the water. You will also find many hiking trails and can spot wildlife. Do you want to discover the possibilities and the environment? Then it is wise to go to Great Salt Lake Visitor Center (Location here ) to go.
Utah State Capitol
Did you know that there is a State Capitol building in Salt Lake City that resembles the one in Washington DC? Another imposing building! You can visit the building and from the building there is a good view of downtown Salt Lake City.
French fries and Frikandel
Long before we planned to go to Salt Lake City, I had a restaurant saved on my Google Maps, namely Bruges Belgian Bistro (Location here ). This restaurant would serve frikandellen! After more than three months without having to go, it was nice to taste something from home again.
Admittedly, it was not cheap (36 dollars for 2 fries special with 2 frikandellen and 1 Belgian beer…), and the taste was not quite like the frikandel in the Netherlands, but it still put a smile on our faces. The Frikandels are specially handmade by a woman in the US, so no factory work. Chris was extra happy, because he found Belgian specialty beer!
About the Bonneville Salt Flats
The salt flat (location here ) is easily accessible and open to the public. Via a rest stop on the Lincoln Highway (location here ), you can ride or walk on it. Please note (!), it is not possible to get there via the other side of the highway.
It is a very large and flat country, 19 km long and 8 km wide. A salt flat is created by the drying up of a salt lake. The water evaporates, but the minerals remain. The landscape is then covered with a dazzling white salt crust. If it has just rained, the crust is mirror-smooth and if it has been dry for some time, you will see that cracks appear in it.
Note: We've also included footage of the Salt Flats in our new intro video for YouTube. Watch the short video below!
Some of the flat and expansive area of Bonneville is regularly used for racing. The plain of the Bonneville speedway lends itself to being able to drive very fast.
Many speed records have been broken with various cars and motorcycles. The fastest speed was driven by Ken Duttweiler in a Speed Demon. He went no less than 749 km per hour! ?
We don't like wild camping in a big city like Salt Lake City. Not only because of the risk of being turned away at night, but unfortunately also because a large city is often a gathering place for the homeless and addicts. These are people who have nothing to lose. The iOverlander app does provide some options, such as parking spaces and parks, but we did not use them.
Just outside Salt Lake City we found a beautiful wild camping spot in sand dunes! On iOverlander it seemed that only truckers used this piece of land along the highway for a short night's sleep, but that was different. The Knolls Recreation Area (location here ) turned out to be a very nice place. We had to pay a small fee of USD 10. Others use this land to cross with motorcycles and quads.
Although the Bonneville Salt Flats are managed by BLM (Bureau Land Management), camping on the flats is not allowed. Just west of the salt flat, near the border with the state of Nevada (location here ), however you can. There is plenty of BLM area here for wild camping. There are no facilities here, so make sure you have enough water in your car or camper and a shovel?. It is more than worth it because the surroundings are beautiful and you have a good view of the salt flats!
In the short video below we make a small tour of our camping spot with the drone.
If you spend the night in such a special place, you should of course take the drone into the air. Chris climbed the rocks at sunset, while I enjoyed a hot shower in our motor home. See more drone photos and a short video below.
If you prefer an official campsite, you have little choice in Salt Lake City. In the north of the city you will find a KOA campsite. You pay between 45 and 80 euros for a camping spot and can then use many facilities. However, people complain about noise pollution and police activity at night just outside the campsite. That's why we didn't stay there…
The cost of hotel accommodation is above our budget, but that doesn't stop me from taking a peek, right? Below are three options for around 100 USD.
- Little America Hotel, right in the city center with indoor and outdoor pool!
- 8th South Apartments, a full apartment 20 minutes walking distance from the city center.
- Salt Lake Plaza Hotel at Temple Square, a luxury hotel in the middle of the city center with a swimming pool.
Incidentally, there was a temporary solution for the car… We searched town and country for parts (the most important: a radiator) for the Mitsubishi L200, but these could not even be found at the two Mitsubishi dealers in the city, provided we had three would wait up to six months. Another company cleaned our radiator and showed how worn it is. We can now move forward with the old radiator for some time, but not for long! Do you want to know more about the car? Then read this blog.
Salt Lake City is a special city. Although it is a large city, it is different from the other major cities in the United States, thanks to its inhabitants. The environment of the city is even more special and above all exceptional. There is so much to discover here! The Bonneville salt flat is a unique piece of earth and it's really cool to drive around here yourself and take some nice pictures.
Plan your vacation to America here
- Itineraries : TUI, Americaplus, sawadee en Djoser.
- Motorhome rental companies : WorldWideCampers.com
- Fly & drives : Americaplus en Travelworld.
- Cruises and city trips for America you book with Travel deal.
- Flight tickets for America you book with TUI, KLM, KAYAK en Skyscanner.
- Rental cars : Sunnycars, Alamo en rental cars.
- Tours and Activities in America you book via GetYourGuide.
- Camping sites in National Parks you book on RECREATION.gov
- Hotels & Resorts in America you book with Booking.com.
- SIM cards : USAsim en International sim.
- Parking at the airport you can arrange via Parkos, park care of iParking.
- travel items (suitcases, bags, world plugs, etc. can be ordered at Bol.com.