Updated: Apr 22


You've seen the pictures.

Maybe you've even traveled to the alien landscape in the wilderness of Utah.


But the Bonneville Salt Flats are more than meets the eye. Home to the fastest speedway on earth, unique natural photo backdrops, and the Dusk to Dawn Relay Race, this destination is as fascinating as it is breathtaking.


Read on to learn more!







1. The Bonneville Salt Flats is not the world's only Salt Flats


The Bonneville Salt Flats, maintained by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) is a one-of-a-kind treasure found in the west desert of Utah..........OR IS IT??


There are actually dozens of salt flats around the globe, all varying in size and beauty. You can find salt flats in Death Valley CA, Bolivia, Iran, Argentina, Tunisia, Chile, Namibia and elsewhere throughout the world. These salt flats (also called "salt pans") are created in arid, desert regions where water evaporates leaving minerals on the ground surface (learn more on Wikipedia, the most reliable source on the internet! 😂)


The Bonneville Salt Flats just happen to be quite accessible (2 hours from Salt Lake City International Airport) and public, so they make a great day trip if you're in the area. Check out some awesome photos from the Dusk to Dawn Relay that will make you want to add visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats to your bucket list.






2. The Potash Canals are beautiful, but not good for recreation


Check out how beautiful and ideal this "blue canal" on the salt flats looks:


I know the contrasting crystal blue water next to the barren white salt looks like a paddle boarders dream come true - but the BLM and local law enforcement has warned against the urge to plunge right in.


The potash canals run through the Bonneville Salt Flats and continue on for miles. While the salt flats are maintained as public land, the potash canals are actually leased by a company called Intrepid Potash, where they use them to carry/mine potash (potash = minerals such as salt that are dissolved in water).


So just beware that you might be found "trespassing" if you decide to go for a dip in this otherworldly spectacle.






3. You can access a Live Webcam of the Salt Flats


Click here to see a live webcam of the Bonneville Salt Flats, maintained by the BLM. This is especially helpful if you're planning a trip to the flats and want to know if it's covered in water before you go (see point 7 of this post). We're not 100% sure why there's a post with a cone on top visible on the webcam...our best guess is it aids in measuring the depth of water when it covers the salt flats.


Bonneville Salt Flats webcam bureau of land management

Be aware that the link stops sending updates at sunset, at least from our experience... I guess the camera doesn't yet have a night vision option. If you want to see how incredible the Milky Way looks in person over the expanse of white salt, come be a part of the Dusk to Dawn Relay Race! A webcam really can't capture the beauty and wonder of the Bonneville Salt Flats at night.






4. Dusk to Dawn Relay Race isn't the only running event held there!


The Bonneville Salt Flats is probably most famous for being the Fastest Speedway On Earth --- where jet-propelled cars, motorcycles, and the world's fastest wheel-driven cars race for new land speed records. But if you're into running, we have good news for you!


Although the Dusk to Dawn Relay Race is the only foot race held solely on the Bonneville Salt Flats, it isn't the only running event. Check out the Salt Flats Endurance Runs, where you can run the 100 mile, 50 mile, or 50K event. The first 13 miles of the race is directly on salt, after which the trail winds up through the mountains.


Bonneville Salt Flats runners race Dusk to Dawn

It's a beautifully unique location, so if you're a runner, don't only sign up for Dusk to Dawn, but also the Salt Flats Endurance Run!






5. It's big, but not the biggest


The Bonneville Salt Flats is HUGE, covering 30,000+ acres, or an area that measures 12 by 5 miles. It certainly breaks up the monotonous drive across the Utah desert on I-80, especially if you take advantage of the awesome rest stop.


But did you know that it's not the world's largest salt flats? Not even close, actually. The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is a whopping 2,500,000+ acres --- that's more than 83 times bigger than the Bonneville Salt Flats!!! The ginormous salt flats is the remnant of an ancient lake that has since dried up. The vastness and flatness of the Salar de Uyuni make it ideal for calibrating satellites, and 70% of the world's supply of lithium lies just under the surface.


So, if visiting Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni wasn't on your bucket list before, we hope it is now. It's certainly on ours after writing this!


Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia





6. It's Windy...Very Windy


This fact comes from 2 sources:

(1) Personal experience, and

(2) Road signs along I-80


The Bonneville Salt Flats are extremely exposed - miles and miles of flat, open desert. Which means no refuge from strong wind gusts. In fact, as you drive on I-80, you will see road signs that warn of extreme wind gusts. So be careful! We've especially experienced strong gusts pick up during the night. If you're planning a trip to the Salt Flats, make sure you come prepared for all weather conditions (heat, wind, water, and cold - depending on the time of year. You can check out in-depth current weather conditions for the Bonneville Salt Flats (including wind speed, direction, and gusts) by visiting this link.


If you join us for the Dusk to Dawn Relay Race this September, make sure to bring stakes for your canopies and be prepared for some wind gusts, as the race is all night. Also, grab yourself a Waterlily Turbine to keep your devices charged. If you haven't checked them out you definitely should! (We have absolutely no affiliation with the Waterlily brand, we're just fans 🤩)






7. At certain times of the year, it's covered in water


Starting in late fall and continuing throughout spring, the Bonneville Salt Flats can become completely covered with water. Even a light rainfall or snow can cover almost the entire area since it's so flat. Check out this time-lapse video taken in January 2019 when the Salt Flats were covered (yes, it was cold):



So make sure you check out the weather conditions at the Salt Flats before you visit - you may want to see it completely covered in water! Otherwise, we'd suggest going during summer (late June to September) to have the chance of a dry flats. It IS a desert, after all.


Here are some photos of the Salt Flats under water:







8. You've probably seen a movie filmed at the Salt Flats


Do you remember seeing Will Smith drag an unconscious alien across the desert in his parachute when you last watched Independence Day? Clearly shot on the Bonneville Salt Flats!


Bonneville Salt Flats photo by Andrea David Bilder

Photo: Andrea David Bilder for @filmtourismus


Or when Captain Jack Sparrow was lugging a giant ship across the white, barren salt? Another moment of pride for the Bonneville Salt Flats in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

Other movies and TV shows include Need For Speed, The World's Fastest Indian, and The Amazing Race, among a list of other lesser known titles to have appeared on the silver (or home) screen.






9. The ground is like cement


Underneath that thin crust of salt is a hard-packed, dense clay that is incredibly hard. The video below is of us pounding a hole into the Salt Flats to light the course for the all-night Dusk to Dawn Relay Race, and illustrates my point quite clearly:






10. It's the world's fastest speedway


The Bonneville Salt Flats have been made famous due to the number of car racing events held there annually. Cars, motorcycles, and jet-propelled cars all come in groups to see who's the fastest. In fact, the world's fastest wheel-driven car - the "Turbinator II" - holds the land-speed record from driving on the Salt Flats. Can you guess how fast it was going??


Very fast.....................503 MPH!!!


Watch the video of the "Turbinator II" speed across the Bonneville Salt Flats at earth shattering speeds. To be very clear, cars have gone faster than the Turbinator II on the Salt Flats (using jet propulsion), but the Turbinator II is the fastest wheel-driven vehicle to date.


We don't expect you to set any world records at the Dusk to Dawn Relay, but we dare you to set a new course record! If you think you have what it takes to be the world's fastest Dusk to Dawn race team, check out the results and sign up today!




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Updated: Feb 17

A Race Director's hope is that runners participate in the race, have a great time, go tell their friends about it, and don't notice anything that went wrong.


Well, there's always something that goes wrong.


Here's a little look behind the scenes of the first inaugural Dusk to Dawn Relay Race....


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WHITE GOLF TEES AND SALT

Our race is a little unique, both in the fact that it's held overnight, but mainly that it's run on salt (the Bonneville Salt Flats). To light the 2-mile course, I glued hundreds of those party lights you might find in balloons or vases at wedding receptions onto golf tees.



The mistake? I used white golf tees 🤦‍♂️


White golf tees and salt are not a good combo (that is, if you want to be able to find it once you set it down). I wasted waaayyyyyy too much time looking for tees I had set down on the salt.


The solution this year? Black golf tees.


FROZEN JUICE

We're proud of the deluxe pancake breakfast we hold at the end of our race. Especially since all additional proceeds (and 5% of every race fee) goes to the charity Run On.


Buttermilk pancakes, butter and syrup galore, fruit, chocolate milk, and juice.


Frozen juice, at least.


Put it on my list this year to take the frozen juice out of the cooler before the breakfast starts! Like the night before....


At least we had enough milk, and some people got very cold juice as it began to thaw.


SUNBURNS

As the Dusk to Dawn Relay Race is held at night, I hadn't thought of the setting up the course being entirely in the day (the race only started in 2019, to be fair, so still learning). Or at least the consequences of the day setup.


Just like snow reflects the sun (you'll know if you've ever been skiing or snowboarding), salt in August reflects just as much. Fair complexion, no sunglasses, short sleeves and shorts made for a sunburn-to-remember.


Next time I'm wearing a full robe and cowboy hat.


NOT QUITE A 2-MILE COURSE

Remember the white golf tees? And the sunburn? Those added some delays to the course setup.


To get the golf tees into solid salt, we had to pound them with a hammer and screwdriver. All 250+ of them. That took... longer than originally anticipated, to say the least.


Everything else was actually quite a breeze! But as we were cutting the course set up close to the race start, we made the hard call to cut it short.


But not this time! As long as we learn from our failures, right? And I certainly will.


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So there you have it. Mistakes of a Race Director - some big, some small. All of which we learn from to make future races seamless, at least from a runners perspective...

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Updated: Jan 16

Looking for the perfect motivation to get out there and pound the pavement? Start here with some of the best running memes created in the history of running memes!




MY FAVORITE TOPIC

If you're like most of the runners out there (I'm guilty...) your favorite conversation topic is your morning run, upcoming race schedule, how early you get up to run, running horror story.....the list could go on - and so could you, I'm sure!




RUNNING A MARATHON

Yup, that about sums it up. We understand your pain...




THE BEST SPORT

Insert your favorite cliche "running is a sport" saying here:

"My sport is your sport's punishment"

"Date a runner, every other athlete is a player"

It goes without saying, but we'll say it anyway - RUNNING IS A SPORT!!




RUNNING :)

I don't care if I'm running through a beautiful Swiss meadow or through back alleys in the city, when I get out and run, it somehow makes everything in life seem better. Worries slip away, my mind becomes clear and my body feels energized.

Forget laughter, running is the best medicine!




HATERS GONNA HATE

Then there are those haters out there who think that running actually makes your day worse haha! And okay, I'll admit, some of my runs end up like that....but I don't talk about those! Cause I love running too much, and even the worst days aren't bad enough to keep me from going out again.




JUST FOR FUN

Since we're still experiencing the snow (at least here in Utah) let's try to make the best of it with a little snowball running humor.




I LIVE FOR LONG RUNS

And forget about going up and down the stairs! I'm about to move into a single floor condo just because of this...because I'm not giving up my long runs, oh no.




IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE

I've given up trying to explain why I run to my non-runner friends. Instead, I'll try to convince them to come running with me and say "it's okay, I'll go slow!" Ha, like they ever take me up on that offer :P If they ever did, I'm convinced they would understand me better...




HOW FAR DID YOU RUN?

They say to not judge other people - but in this case, I'd say it's fair. Dang all those fair-weather, 3-mile runners!!!




THERE IS NO OFF SEASON

But the feeling of coming home, taking off your frozen socks and flopping down on the rug in front of the fireplace is all worth it!.....right?? Maybe once your frozen eyelids begin to thaw.




THIS IS WHY I RUN

You don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the person you're with! I run to increase my chances of survival.




BELIEVE ME, OFFICER...MY CAUSE WAS JUST

Back to the little elf above, tell me that running isn't a sport, I dare you! It IS too a sport. You're just jealous because my calves are so much sexier than yours, aren't you?




IS IT JUST ME?

At the beginning of any race I've run. Thinking to myself - am I the only amateur runner here? Also true at the end of any race I've run.......dang I should have done more hills/miles/squats/eaten less ice cream/been born on a different continent....




Well, that's it for now! If you're looking for a sweet event to join, come run the Dusk to Dawn Relay Race at the Bonneville Salt Flats, UT. You know it's on your bucket list to run on a god-forsaken, white and salty piece of earth through the entire night....if that doesn't sound awesome, maybe these memes don't relate to you lol ;) Or maybe you're just not insane like the rest of us....either way, check it out at www.dusktodawnrelay.com

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