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What You Must Know about the Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River and the western hemisphere's largest saltwater lake. The term "Great" was deleted from Salt Lake City's name in 1868. The lake has a rich history, distinct characteristics, and abundant recreational activities. Read on to discover more about the Great Salt Lake.

A Brief Overview of The Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake is a relic of Lake Bonneville, which once covered the majority of western Utah. Terraces in the Salt Lake Valley are vestiges of Lake Bonneville's shoreline. Walking and cycling are permitted on the Bonneville Shoreline Path. Jim Bridger and Etienne Provost were the first to locate the lake in 1824. In 1847, some immigrants claimed to have seen the North Shore Monster, the Loch Ness Monster of the Great Salt Lake.

The amount of snowfall and runoff that falls on the lake determines its size. The lake is approximately 1,700 square miles in size. The land area was 950 square miles in 1963. It reached a record 3,300 square miles in 1988. When warm evaporating water collides with colder air in the surrounding mountains, it causes "lake effect" snowstorms in the winter and thunderstorms in the summer.

The Beauty of The Great Salt Lake

The lake and its islands provide opportunities for sailing, kayaking, canoeing, birdwatching, hiking, and horseback riding. Kayaking, boating, and sunset excursions are available at Great Salt Lake Marina. The nearby Saltair has been restored three times and is now a music venue. Antelope Island State Park's white oolitic sand beaches give easy access to the lake without the presence of brine bugs. Beach showers remove seawater. Because of the high salt content, floating in a lake is an unforgettable sensation. Antelope Island includes hiking and bike paths, a historic ranch, and breathtaking views. The island's free-roaming bison congregate in the north near the end of October. Other events can be found on Antelope Island or at the Marina at other times of the year.

Life in the Great Salt Lake

Isn't a lake synonymous with fishing? Fishing is prohibited near the marina and other lake accesses. The lake is too saline to host fish or aquatic life other than brine shrimp and algae because it has no outlet and only loses water through evaporation. The lake has two to seven times the salt of the ocean. The lake's salt and minerals come from its ancient bed and the river water that flows into it. It is fed by the Weber, Jordan, and Bear Rivers, but evaporation causes salt and other minerals to be left behind.

Although there are no fish or other large aquatic species in the lake, it is an important component of the ecosystem due to the enormous wetland areas along its coast, where brine flies and shrimp are major food sources. The Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve is described as a wetland. The lake's surroundings are perfect for bird watching and are great for migratory birds, such as the American avocet, marbled godwit, Snowy Plover, western sandpiper, long-billed dowitcher, tundra swan, American white pelican, white-faced ibis, California gull, eared grebe, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and other ducks and geese.

Moreover, the Shorelands Preserve has a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk for bird watching. This is a feature that exceptionally opens the place for the elderly and people with disabilities.

The Artistic Landscape of the Great Salt Lake

The Spiral Jetty, a land art installation by Robert Smithson, may be found on the Great Salt Lake's northwest arm. Land art from the 1970s is made out of salt-encrusted rocks placed in a spiral. A scenic fly will reveal the formation even when the lake has covered the rocks.


Indeed, there is a lot to discover about Salt Lake City. Beyond the Great Salt Lake, here is a place that will greet you with beauty, wildlife, and art all at the same time. It is definitely worth the weekend trip for your friends and family!

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