Circling the mountains that rise behind the iconic Bonneville Salt Flats, the Silver Island Mountains Back Country Byway provides the perfect opportunity to turn a visit to the salt flats from a day trip into a weekend adventure. Dispersed camping speckles the first 14 miles of the loop and is popular among groups and solo campers alike. If you're feeling extra adventurous, explore the area caves formed by wind and water tens of thousands of years ago when the mountains were an island surrounded by Lake Bonneville. The Silver Island Mountains Back Country Byway also accesses the historic Hastings Cutoff of the California National Historic Trail. The infamous Donner-Reed party passed through the area on September 2, 1846, on their grueling journey to California, having lost 36 oxen and several wagons.
The Bonneville Salt Flats, a 30,000-acre expanse of hard, white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin, are a remnant of prehistoric Lake Bonneville that covered over one-third of Utah from 10,000 to 32,000 years ago. Today, the Salt Flats are a BLM special recreation management area open to the public and motorized vehicles and even hosts the annual Speedweek land speed races.
Driving on the Bonneville Salt Flats when wet and camping directly on the Salt Flats is expressly prohibited by the BLM, as stated on the Salt Flats website and signage posted on the Bonneville Speedway Access Road. Please respect management agency regulations and help to protect the top layer crust of the Salt Flats for many decades to come.
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