When it comes to peculiar attractions, the Spiral Jetty at the Pink Salt Lake Utah ranks highly on our list. Now that we know it’s actually an art display and not a functioning jetty it makes a lot more sense, but it’s still an odd yet beautiful site.
The whole setting was made all the more ethereal by the incredible, deep pink water of the Great Salt Lake. The combination of the Spiral Jetty Utah and the vibrant pink lake made it one of the most incredible landscapes we’ve had the privilege of seeing in real life, so if you’re curious about visiting, here’s your sign to get in your car and go.
HOW TO GET TO THE SPIRAL JETTY AT THE PINK SALT LAKE UTAH
The Spiral Jetty Utah is part of the Great Salt Lake, about a 2 hour drive from Salt Lake City. You’re definitely going to need your own transport and you can hire a car from Salt Lake City for around $50/day. For the last 40 minutes of the drive we had to off-road along a dirt road, but it wasn’t all that challenging and if our VW Golf can make it with ease, you should be alright.
WHAT TO BRING TO THE SPIRAL JETTY, PINK LAKE UTAH
Prepare for your trip to the Spiral Jetty at the Pink Salt Lake Utah with our must have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Quick dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (click for price)
You’ll also want to bring a lot of water to rinse yourself off in if you plan on swimming. The salt crusts to your body and it’ll be a miserable drive home if you don’t rinse off.
If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:
To see our complete camera gear read this post here.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE SPIRAL JETTY UTAH
For the most incredible light show and reflections, you’ll want to go at golden hour up until sunset. The water was a deep magenta colour and the fairy floss skies reflected on the still water. When it reached sunset the fiery sky exploded both above and below the horizon for even more epic views and photos.
MORE UTAH TRAVEL GUIDES
SPIRAL JETTY UTAH HISTORY
You may be wondering what on earth the Spiral Jetty at the Pink Salt Lake in Utah actually is, because we sure had similar thoughts. It was not left by aliens and is in fact an art installation by artist Robert Smithson, built in 1970. He used more than six thousand tons of black basalt rocks and earth to complete the 1500 feet/457 metre counterclockwise coil. The Spiral Jetty Utah is considered Robert Smithson’s greatest piece of art.
Unfortunately, two years after its completion, water levels at the Great Salt Lake fully submerged the Spiral Jetty for thirty years, not to mention Robert Smithson died in a plane crash only three years after he finished his masterpiece. Talk about bad timing. In 2002, drought returned to the area and the Spiral Jetty emerged again, and has been visible ever since. We never know when the drought will break, so you definitely don’t want to put off seeing this incredible display.
WHY IS THE WATER PINK
It’s all about the salt. The Great Salt Lake has almost 10 times the salt content of the ocean and is home to salt-loving organisms that light up a beautiful shade of pink the saltier it gets. It’s hard to predict when it will be pink, but if you can manage to time it right it’s a phenomenon well worth seeing.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE SPIRAL JETTY AT THE PINK SALT LAKE UTAH
Maybe if we were more into art we would’ve spent a little longer at the actual Spiral Jetty, but Mother Nature was putting on her own art display at the Great Salt Lake shoreline. It’s about a 15-minute walk from the jetty to the water’s edge, depending on water levels of course. We trudged across crunchy salt until we reached the otherworldly patterns along the shoreline.
We had an inflatable standup paddleboard which we took out onto the water for a surreal experience. It was like paddling through cranberry juice, and it made for some epic drone shots. It’s also a great spot to swim if you don’t have a paddleboard handy.
CAMPING AT THE SPIRAL JETTY UTAH
Honestly, we wouldn’t recommend camping unless you had a van or motorhome. You’re not allowed to get off the main road so we pitched a tent in the parking area, which at this time of day was deserted. It wasn’t exactly glamorous. There are also no facilities, absolutely none, so you’ll want to pack accordingly.
WHERE ELSE TO SEE PINK WATER IN UTAH
For another pink spectacle not far from the Spiral Jetty you should also check out the railway causeway at Promontory Point. Read our complete guide for exact coordinates here.
READ: PINK LAKE UTAH GUIDE
Read our other Utah travel guides for more epic things to do:
- Antelope Island State Park
- Pink Lake Railway
- Meadow Hot Springs
- Bridal Veil Falls
- Potash Ponds in Moab
- Fifth Water Hot Springs (Diamond Fork)
- Bryce Canyon Hike (Navajo Loop Trail)
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WHERE TO STAY IN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
There’s no shortage of accommodation in Salt Lake City, but having all those options can be a little overwhelming when it comes to choosing the best place to stay. We’ve chosen our top picks for budget, midscale and luxury hotels in Salt Lake City to make things easier for you.
BUDGET: SLC HOSTEL
SLC Hostel is located in the heart of downtown SLC and our top pick for budget stays. With deluxe bathrooms in common areas, radiant heated floors and modern technology, it’s the best option for budget backpackers and digital nomads not looking to break the bank.
MIDSCALE: LITTLE AMERICA HOTEL
Little in name but not in stature, Little America Hotel is the largest hotel in Salt Lake City with 850 rooms and a history dating back 60 years. It’s a little up there on the midscale ranking but still offers affordable prices with very well maintained facilities.
LUXURY: GRAND AMERICA HOTEL
If you fancy the finer things in life and don’t mind splashing some cash, Grand America Hotel is the pinnacle of five star accommodation in Salt Lake City. Everything here is, well… grand. The pool, gardens, restaurants and rooms all live up to their name.