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The Best Time to Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2023

The Best Time to Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2023

The Bonneville Salt Flats are a popular tourist destination in northwestern Utah. They were named after Benjamin Bonneville, a U.S. Army officer and an explorer from the 19th century. The salt flats create an incredible landscape that rivals the other beautiful national parks in Utah.

Located just a few hours outside Salt Lake City, the Bonneville Salt Flats is a vast expanse of white salt known for its historical use in land speed records and the annual Speed Week racetrack event.

Whether you’re an avid drag racing fan, a history buff, or just looking for a unique outdoor adventure, you’re in for a treat when you visit the Flats.

Keep reading to learn about the best time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats. You’ll also pick up some tips to make the most of your trip while you’re there!

Why You Should Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats

Aerial view showing why you should visit the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah

Jeremy Christensen/Shutterstock

If you’re unfamiliar with the Bonneville Salt Flats, you might wonder why to make a trip to Utah to see some salt on the ground. That perspective sells the Bonneville Salt Flats short.

The Bonneville Salt Flats offers a variety of activities for visitors. It’s one of the flattest places in the world, and the salt produces a mirror effect that will capture your imagination.

If you’re still not sold, there are many more reasons why you should visit the Bonneville Salt Flats! 

  • The wide open spaces are perfect for outdoor activities like hiking and camping
  • If you’re into photography, the salt flats are an opportunity to take some incredible photos
  • Learn about the area’s rich history, including its use in land speed records and the annual Speed Week event
  • Enjoy exciting activities at the salt flats, including drag racing, photography, and exploring the surrounding area

If you’re looking for an unforgettable outdoor adventure in beautiful Utah, plan a trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats. You won’t regret it!

Overall Best Time to Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats

Wide view showing the best time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats during summer with mountains in the distance

Guillermo Olaizola/Shutterstock

If you plan a trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats, the best time of year to visit depends on what you want to do while you’re there. Generally, mid-June to late August are the best times to visit.

If you want to do any outdoor activities, you should definitely plan a visit between mid-June and late August. The weather is warm and dry with temperatures typically ranging from the mid-60s to the high 80s.

If you hope to see some of the best land speed records, you should visit between late August and early October. The weather is ideal for racing in the early fall. You’ll also have the best chance to see many of the vehicles at work on the salt flats.

If you are a photographer or just looking for a chance to capture some incredible photos, the right time to visit is early fall. The salt flats look stunning this time during this season.

The drag races and time trials are a great photo opportunity, and since the temperatures are lower, you don’t have to worry about the heat shimmer impacting your photos.

Cheapest Time to Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats

Volcano peak near the flats indicating the cheapest time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats

Sathish Raj PR/Shutterstock

If you’re on a budget, you can visit the Bonneville Salt Flats without breaking the bank by going during the winter months from December through February.

The Bonneville Salt Flats are affordable at this time of year since the most significant appeal is exploring or driving your car around this unique geographic feature.

You’ll have very few visitors sharing the area during winter and the landscape is just as beautiful in the snow. Plus, you can drive to the salt flats without dealing with heat and traffic during peak season.

You can still enjoy all attractions while saving money simultaneously. If you’re looking for a unique outdoor adventure on a budget, plan a trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats this winter.

Least Busy Time to Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats

After winter rains during the least busy time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats, the flats flood with water

Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

If you want to avoid the crowds, you should visit the salt flats in the winter (December through February) or the spring (March through May). 

The weather is cooler in the winter and spring, so you don’t have to worry about dehydration and heat stroke as much as you do in the summer.

If you visit during the winter, you’ll have plenty of space and time to explore the area independently. Exploring the salt flats during this time of year can almost send you into a meditative state because of how quiet it is.

If you visit during the spring, the temperatures can get quite cold. Plus, many attractions shut down during this time, so you must bring your supplies.

Worst Time to Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats

Wide angle view showing the worst time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats with blue skies and clouds overhead

Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats is typically late March through early July due to the potential for flooding and mud. 

During the late spring and early summer, the salt flats can be pretty rainy. The temperatures are also increasing during these times of year.

As a result of all that rain, the salt flats can get quite muddy. It’s easy to get your car stuck in the mud if you go in late March through early July. 

Due to the remote nature of the Bonneville Salt Flats, if your car gets stuck, there may not be anyone around to help you. You may want to avoid visiting during this time of year.

On the flip side, many people love to come visit when the flats flood because of the mirror effect they take on.

You’ll see the mountains reflected in the pristine flats, so if you must visit at this time, you’ll have something cool to look forward to! 

Things to Consider

Empty road with yellow lines showing the best time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats with blue skies overhead

Marquicio Pagola/Shutterstock

Planning a great trip starts with knowing the best time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats, but there’s more to it! These are some essential things to consider while visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats.

  • Transportation. The Bonneville Salt Flats are best accessed by car, so you need to ensure that you have a reliable vehicle before your visit. If you plan on flying into Salt Lake City, you can easily rent a car and drive the rest of the way to the salt flats.
  • Food and water. Be aware that the salt flats can get quite hot during the summer months. There may not be many places to stop for food or water along the way, so bring plenty of supplies.
  • Customs and culture. The Bonneville Salt Flats are in a very rural area of Utah. It’s a conservative state with Mormons accounting for two-thirds of its population. As such, it’s polite to respect their values and avoid public displays of affection. You should also not wear revealing clothing.
  • Accommodations. It’s best to plan your trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats well in advance, as there are few hotels or campgrounds near the salt flats. You may need to stay in Salt Lake City and make a day trip to the salt flats instead.
  • Food options. If you plan on spending a lot of time at the Bonneville Salt Flats, it may be best to pack some simple and easy-to-prepare meals. This way, you can have a full day of exploring without having to worry about finding somewhere to eat. There are no restaurants on the salt flats.
  • Festivals. The Bonneville Salt Flats hosts the famous Speed Week event every year, where drag racers from all over the world come to compete. If you’re visiting during this event, book your accommodations well in advance and expect larger crowds.
  • Travel. The easiest way to get to the Bonneville Salt Flats is to fly into Salt Lake City. The airport has direct flights to most major cities in the United States.

Activities to Consider in the Bonneville Salt Flats

There are so many fun activities you can do in the Bonneville Salt Flats! Here are our recommendations for the best activities to experience while on your visit.

  • Watch a rocket launch
  • Throw a frisbee or a football
  • Rent an ATV or dirt bike
  • Drive your car on the flats
  • Fly a kite
  • Try windsurfing on a skateboard
  • Watch a speed trial or a drag race
  • Ride a bike
  • Make a salt castle

Attractions to Consider in the Bonneville Salt Flats

Now that you know about the crucial considerations while visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats, here are some of the most popular attractions you can check out on your vacation.

  • Bonneville State Park
  • Danger Cave State Historical Monument
  • Volcano Peak
  • Danger Cave State Park Heritage Area

Frequently Asked Questions

Reflective mirror surface for a frequently asked questions section on the best time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats

Ashley Hadzopoulos/Shutterstock

Want to learn more about the best time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats? These are some of the commonly asked questions on the topic. 

What's the best time of year to visit Salt Lake City, Utah?

The best time of year to visit Salt Lake City is during the spring or fall. The weather is mild and comfortable and there are fewer crowds at this time of year.

You can also enjoy various outdoor activities in the area, including hiking, camping, and exploring the many national parks. You can catch late-season spring snow if you want to ski or snowboard.

Can you go to the Bonneville Salt Flats in winter?

Yes, you can visit the Bonneville Salt Flats in winter. The area can get quite cold during this time of year with temperatures dropping below freezing and snowfall common.

However, if you’re visiting during the winter, there is a good chance that the salt flats will be covered in snow and ice, making driving difficult.

Is it worth visiting the salt flats in Utah?

Yes, the salt flats are worth visiting. The area is beautiful and full of unique geological features, including craggy cliffs, spiky rock formations, and vast stretches of white salt.

In addition, there are many fun activities on the salt flats, including hiking, cycling, and drag racing.

Where is the best place to see the Bonneville Salt Flats?

There is no best place to see the Bonneville Salt Flats, as every vantage point offers a unique and beautiful view of this area.

However, many people think that the area near the Bonneville Salt Flats Rest Area is the most picturesque part of the area.

What's the weather like in the Bonneville Salt Flats?

The weather in the Bonneville Salt Flats can vary quite a bit, depending on the time of year. The summer temperatures are scorching hot, often reaching over 100 degrees.

In the winter, you can expect cold and snowy conditions. However, even during the colder months of the year, the salt flats are often relatively warm and windy.

Are the Bonneville Salt Flats worth visiting?

Yes, the Bonneville Salt Flats are definitely worth visiting if you're in the area. This expansive area is full of fascinating geological features and natural beauty.

When's the best time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats to get the mirror effect?

The best time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats to get the mirror effect is during late fall or early winter when conditions are clear, and the area is free of snow or ice.

You'll have a good chance of seeing the salt flats in all their reflective glory, making for some truly stunning photos and a memorable visit.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit the Bonneville Salt Flats?

If you want to make the most of your trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats, try going sometime between mid-June and August. During this time, you can explore the many attractions and activities in the area, including hiking, cycling, and windsurfing.

December through February are generally the cheapest and some of the least busy months to go. That’s great to keep an eye on if you’re watching your travel budget or want to avoid the big crowds! 

March through May can also be a good time to go with fewer crowds. The busiest time of year at the flats is generally late August through early October, when the racing events take place. 

Try to avoid going in the winter if you can, when heavy rain tends to flood the flats. It creates the famous mirror effect, so you might enjoy going in winter – just make sure you’re driving a car capable of making it through mud. 

No matter when you’re planning on going, you’re prepared with the cheapest, least busy, worst, and – of course -the best time to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats. You’re sure to have a wonderful time and get lots of great photos!