Great Salt Lake of Utah

The Great Salt Lake is the largest U.S. lake located west of the Mississippi River. Located, as you might expect, near Utah’s state capital of Salt Lake City, the Great Salt Lake is also the 4th largest terminal lake in the world. The Great Salt Lake is 75 miles long and 28 miles wide. It covers 1,700 square miles and has a maximum depth of about 35 feet. It is interesting to note that the Great Salt Lake is actually three to five times saltier than the ocean. Because of this, every year, members of the salt industry extract about 2.5 million tons of sodium chloride and other salts and elements from the lake.

The Great Salt Lake has no fish. The largest aquatic critters in the Great Salt Lake of Utah are brine shrimp and brine flies. The Great Salt Lake of Utah has also earned its reputation as one of the largest migratory bird magnets in Western North America. A Chilean Flamingo by the name of Pink Floyd spends his winters on the Great Salt lake of Utah. He enjoys hanging out with the gulls and swans, and dining on the brine shrimp.

The Great Salt Lake State Park is a popular recreation center. The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation operates public launch facilities at Saltair Marina and Antelope Island Marina. There is also an excellent Great Salt Lake State Park Visitor's Center at Antelope Island State Park, where you can find interpretive exhibits, a bookstore and a gift shop. Hot food and snacks are available at Buffalo Point near the Visitors Center. There are covered picnic areas, restrooms, and fresh-water showers available at the state park. The Visitor’s Center is also a great place to get Great Salt Lake information. The facilities at Saltair Marina at Great Salt Lake State Park include covered picnic tables and restrooms with showers. You will also find a privately owned Saltair Amusement Park which offers food service and amusement rides. It is located on the road leading to Saltair Marina just off of Interstate 80. The only commercial boat excursions are run by the Island Serenade, a large cruiser out of Saltair Marina.

Given that the salty water can be corrosive to metal; motorized boats are not very popular at Great Salt Lake State Park. Additionally, since the salt content of the Great Salt Lake increases the water’s density, water skiing and jet skiing is not very common. However, you will occasionally see kayakers on the Great Salt Lake and you will see a considerable number of sailboats at the Saltair Marina.

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