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Flying on the Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats is a densely-packed salt pan in Tooele County in northwestern Utah. The property is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Federally classified as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and Special Recreation Management Area, the Bonneville Salt Flats is a 30,000-acre expanse of hard, white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin in Utah. "Bonneville" is also on the National Register of Historic Landmarks because of its contribution to land speed racing.

The salt flats are about 12 miles long and 5 miles wide with total area coverage of just over 46 square miles. Near the center of the salt, the crust is almost 5 feet thick in places, with the depth tapering off to less than 1 inch as you get to the edges. Total salt crust volume has been estimated at 147 million tons, or 99 million cubic yards of salt.  

The Bonneville Salt Flats are comprised of approximately 90% common table salt.

Whatever you've heard about the Bonneville Salt Flats, it is probably true. The vastness will humble you. The Bonneville Salt Flats are one of the most unique natural features in the United States. Motor vehicle use is limited by seasonal closure during the spring when the salt is moist or has standing water on the surface.

You can take a look at the current conditions within a mile of our launch site here: 

Bonneville Live View
One of the great things about holding a launch on the Bonneville Salt Flats is the launch site’s proximity to the town of Wendover (about 15 minutes away from the launch site.) The town is perched on the border of Utah and Nevada. Because of this, it has become an oasis for Utahns wanting to experience some “night-life”.

The Weather at Bonneville

The weather will be HOT. Usually in the 90’s. Bonneville's heat can cook you alive. We've all experienced bright sunlight, but at Bonneville its intensity is reinforced by being prismatically reflected off the ocean of salt that surrounds you. You're going to need to block the sun from your face and arms. Bring some good lip balm and sun block, and use them both throughout the day. Protect your eyes and head. 

There is no running water on-site, so you should bring plenty of drinking water for yourself. Bring a hat for sun and wear sunscreen. You WILL want to have a portable shade structure (EZ-Up) and be sure to wear sunscreen and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. The shade part of the tent will need to be taken down each day due to late afternoon winds.

Weather Feed
Wendover, Utah
Wendover, Utah

Toilets and Garbage

There will be portable toilets on site.

There will be portable toilets on site. The Bonneville Salt Flats are considered to be a “Pack out what you pack in” site. There will be a dumpster, but in general please plan on packing out and disposing of everything you bring onto the site.

Food and Drink

We anticipate having multiple food and drink vendors on site during LDRS 39 however we still recommend bringing your own water. You can never have too much. 

The gas station at exit 4 off of Interstate 80  will be a good spot to pick up water and ice each day. It's approximately 5 miles away from the launch site, so it's not a long drive to refill your supplies.

Camping at Bonneville

Overnight stays are prohibited on the Salt Flats;, however camping is encouraged on the surrounding public lands. You will be allowed to leave your rocket camp up on the Salt Flats for the duration of the event. You just cannot sleep/camp on the salt due to Federal restrictions.  You should plan on removing the cover from any canopy and fold up your chairs as the winds do pick up on the salt at night.

Private campgrounds and hookups are available in nearby Wendover, ten miles west of the Bonneville Salt Flats. We recommend staying at one of the event hotels or other accommodations available in Wendover. 

You may want to wash your car off sometime during the event. There are two high-power car washes located in Wendover, NV. Both are open all day-night.

Getting There

If you are planning to fly into the event you will want to travel to Salt Lake City Airport (SLC). Wendover is approximately 117 miles straight west and takes about 1h 40 mins to travel there. It’s all easy interstate the whole way.

We know it's tempting... But, be aware that the BLM requests everyone maintains a speed of no more than 45 MPH on the salt driving to and from the launch site.
- Take Interstate 80 Exit 4 in Utah heading north from the exit.

- Proceed north on the paved road.

- From the gas station at Interstate 80 Exit 4 to the Salt Flats entrance is 5 miles.

- Tripoli Utah/UROC will have the path to the launch site well marked using orange traffic cones. Flyers and spectators are strongly advised to stay on the designated path. If you get stuck in the muck on the flats, you will need to have the tow company come and pull you out. It's not a pleasant experience, and can cost as much as $1200 for the recovery!  

The Softer Side of the Salt Flats

Safety Information

Driving on the Salt Flats at night or when they are wet from precipitation can be hazardous and result in your vehicle getting stuck in the mud. Be prepared with good clothing, sun screen or shade, extra food and water.

Weather Information and Temperatures

Temperatures on the salt flats often reach over 100 degrees in summer and can go below freezing in winter. Ultraviolet radiation coming off the salt can be intense - be sure to wear sunscreen and sun protective clothing. Be aware that violent winds and storms can strike at all times of year. Stay alert and aware of weather conditions at all times.

Transportation In and Around the Area

Access to the area is via a paved road. Do not venture onto the salt flats if you are unfamiliar with the area as you can break thru the salt crust and become stuck in deep mud if you unknowingly travel too close to the edge of the salt flats.  Tripoli Utah/UROC is not responsible for nor will they assist in recovering stuck vehicles.

Important Restrictions

No overnight camping on the salt flats. No driving vehicles on salt flats when wet or flooded.

Leave No Trace


These are some of the rules we all live by at Bonneville or any other public land. Please abide by them as well. 

  • Do not drive on the salt flats when they are wet or flooded from precipitation.BLM
  • You can easily damage the salt crust and/or become stuck in the underlying mud.
  • Come prepared.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Minimize fire impacts.
  • Respect wildlife.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.