The Golden Spike National Historic Site was formed in commemoration of the golden spike. This railroad spike was driven by Amasa Leland Stanford a business man and politician who founded Stanford University. The ceremonial golden spike marked the completion of the world’s first Transcontinental Railroad.
Those who were present at the Golden Spike National Historic Site witnessed one of the most important accomplishments of the 19th century, when, on May 10, 1869, officials of the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad met here to drive four symbolic spikes to celebrate the railroad’s completion. Every year on the same date this event is re-enacted at the Golden Spike National Historical Site. The annual Railroader's Festival is held at the Golden Spike in Utah on the second Saturday in August. It features a number of other activities including Handcar races and rides, contests, an Old Time Fiddlers' Concert, Buffalo Chip Throwing and other fun family activities. The Winter Steam Demonstration and Film Festival are held on the last weekend in December. Visitors to Golden Spike National Park who arrive any time between May and October can see working replicas of the 1869 steam locomotives “Jupiter” and “119.”
Although the original engines were scrapped in the early 1900's, experts reconstructed these impressive replicas from period drawings and specifications. They made their debut in Golden Spike National Park on May 10, 1979. Jupiter, which was a wood burner, was the engine used by the Central Pacific Railroad. The Union pacific Railroad used Number 119, which was a coal burner. Just this year on the anniversary of the driving of the spike, the state announced its new state quarter design would reflect this historic event.
There are no food services at the Golden Spike in Utah. However, there are vending machines, as well as modern plumbing. The main building of the Golden Spike in Utah is home to a theater, a variety of interesting displays, ticketing and administrative offices and a gift shop that features a variety of railroad related books, posters, recordings and other railroad-oriented items. The visitor center is open year round.
If you want to take a hike near the Golden Spike National Park, there is an easy, 1.5 mile trail that is called the Big Fill. From May 31st to September 1st, rangers at the Golden Spike National Park conduct daily talks about Golden Spike Utah. It is also possible to take a six-mile Golden Spike Utah auto tour. Taking state routes 13 and 83, Golden Spike National Historic Site is about 30 miles NW of Brigham City.