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Bonneville Salt Flats: How Fast Can Your Suburu Go?

There’s a place in northwest Utah where you can find out just how fast your Suburu can travel. You’ll need jet propulsion to reach the 1,000+ mph record set back in 1965 at Bonneville Salt Flats. The first speed record at the flats was set in 1914. It was 143 MPH. Maybe try for that instead.

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The Salt Flats are the remnants of Lake Bonneville, an enormous lake that formed 32,000 years ago. It is named after a US Army officer, who explored the area in the 1830s.

To fully appreciate the scale of Lake Bonneville, it helps to know that it was once the same size as Lake Michigan (nearly 20,000 square miles) but was much deeper. As it dried up, it created both the Great Salt Lake and the Bonneville Salt Flats, at the base of Silver Island Mountain.

The flats are twelve miles long and five miles wide. The salt crust is five foot deep in the center. The total amount of salt is nearly 147 million tons, with 90% of this being common table salt. Morton’s has a large salt plant nearby.

Got salt?
The Bureau of Land Management is in charge of the flats and they make it very clear that you explore this area entirely at your own risk. There’s a helpful travel advisory, which outlines the various ways you could get stranded and perish.

When we visited, the Bonneville Salt Flats were coated in water, so we didn’t have an opportunity to beach our car on a ten inch high pressure ridge. Although we stuck to the paved areas, the landscape is extremely deceptive. At one point, Juliet grabbed my arm and demanded to know where the road was. I assured her it was in front of us – duh – but in actual fact the road had ended and I was looking at its reflection in the water. We may not have achieved any land speed records, but our Subaru did its best to challenge the world’s most abrupt braking record!

For the next race and list of world records.


Paw Print

Two paws — if you keep the salt away from my paws.




Lane & Juliet

The writing and photography team behind Southwest Compass, the travel blog for the American Southwest.



I first saw pictures of these salt flats in a movie (can’t remember what movie, though) and thought that I’d love to see this for myself. I’d forgotten all about them until you shared this. I’m going to Pin it so I remember.
Juliann recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge: ForeshadowMy Profile

The Duo

They are impressive to see. We couldn’t believe the scale of them. Thanks for stopping by.

The Duo

Utah was quite the surprise for us also. The natural beauty there is stunning. Thanks for stopping by.


This is where the legend of Burt Munro was created, inspiration for the movie ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’. He was a bit crazy taking his hand made motorbike to around 200 miles per hour, but it’s an awesome story. Good to see you saw the place with your own eyes!
Anthony recently posted..Shanghai Restaurant – Funny Chinese Food MenuMy Profile

The Duo

Hi Anthony,
The words ‘handmade motorbike’ make me wince! You’d have to be a bit nuts to try that. Thanks for stopping by.

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