How to Visit the Spiral Jetty on Utah’s Great Salt Lake
Learn what and where the Spiral Jetty is, how to get there and tips for your journey to see this unique work of art that is so large it is visible from outer space, as long as it’s not under water.
Things You’ll Need
- A fully gassed up vehicle that you don’t mind taking off-road
- Detailed driving directions
- Picnic lunch and water
Tips to Spiral Jetty on Utah’s Great Salt Lake
1. What is Spiral Jetty? And Where is the Spiral Jetty?
The Spiral Jetty is an earthwork of art, created by Robert Smithson in 1970 in a remote section of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. When the lake levels are low enough and the jetty isn’t submerged, it is visible not only from shore but also from satellites orbiting overhead in space.
This is also one work of art that has absolutely no security measures, so feel free to walk all over it if it happens to be above the waterline on your visit.
2. How to get to the Spiral Jetty?
Drive north on I-15 out of Salt Lake City and get off at Exit 365. Head west to the Golden Spike National Historic Site. From here it gets a little more complicated, as much of the time you will be driving on dirt roads, which at times can seem like off-road, so pay attention.
A wrong turn at a fork in the road can either lead you to the Spiral Jetty, or not. This is an undeveloped area of mostly private ranch and government land. For the most specific and up-to-date directions you should consult the links provided.
3. What to do when you get to the Spiral Jetty?
Basically, the only thing to do is take it in. It may be submerged or it may be above the water line, or completely dry. The Great Salt Lake has a constantly changing shoreline.
Smithson was aware of this when he created the jetty and the main point of his work seems to be a direct mockery of mankind’s ability to twaddle with nature’s entropy. In other words, Smithson, the creator of the work of art, would be perfectly happy that nature decided to submerge or destroy it. Have fun.
- There are absolutely no services at or near the jetty, so pack in and out whatever food and beverages you will need.
- Use the facilities at the Golden Spike National Historic Site before heading out to the jetty.
- Stay on the designated “roads” and follow the directions by using your odometer, as you will be crossing private ranch land to get to the jetty. A wrong turn can effectively mean you are trespassing.
- Be sure your vehicle is fully gassed up for the trip.
- If it is snow or mud season, a normal sedan is not recommended for the trip.
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