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Spiral Jetty: A Hidden Gem in Utah

Last week we set out on a family adventure to find a hidden gem in Utah that none of us had ever seen in person before. The Spiral Jetty had been a bucket list adventure for a while and we finally made it happen!

Located at Rozel Point peninsula on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake (about a 2-hour drive from Salt Lake City) is Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Back in 1970 he took dump trucks and tractors out near the Great Salt Lake and created what we all now call the Spiral Jetty. It took six thousand tons of black basalt rocks. It is 1500 feet long and about 15 feet wide.

Fun fact about the Spiral Jetty: It was underwater for 30 years until 2002 when the water level was reduced. With the current drought conditions in Utah, I expect it will stay exposed for years to come.

Just past the Spiral Jetty is the Great Salt Lake. We walked down to the shoreline, and my kids had a blast playing in the water. There is a pink tint in some places to the water which is pretty cool to see.

8 Tips to Make Your Trip to the Spiral Jetty Successful:

  1. Pack extra food and water. You are in the middle of nowhere and I’ll vouch for my whole family in saying we were all thirsty. After we were done playing in the water we had a quick picnic up above the parking lot.
  2. Bring a water bottle and towel to rise and dry your hands and feet if you walk into the water. It’s salty! The salt can irritate kids skin and can be itchy if it stays on too long, so it’s best to wash off before the drive home.
  3. Explore! The Spiral Jetty is cool, but also plan extra time to go out to the lake and climb in the rocks too.
  4. Plan to get wet if you have kids. It’s mid-February and I couldn’t keep my kids out of the water (clothes and all).
  5. Wear good shoes. The walk down to the Spiral Jetty isn’t difficult but it is rocky.
  6. Stop at the Golden Spike National Park visitors center (you will drive right past it) to get a map. This is also your last chance for a bathroom break.
  7. Because the area is remote there isn’t any cell phone service or gas stations. Make sure to fill up your car before you make the trek out there (the last gas station is off 1-15 in Corinne, Utah) and make sure you have a spare tire just in case.
  8. Walk up the trail above the parking lot to get a great shot of the Spiral Jetty. It’s hard to capture it fully when you are down there in the middle of it.

Always remember, leave no trace. Pack out what you pack in and be respectful of the area by not removing rocks from the formation.

Have you been? Are you going? Let us know what you think!

March 30, 2023

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