Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

Can I swim in the Great Salt Lake


Yes. Floating effortlessly on the Great Salt Lake is on many people's bucket list. The salinity of the lake is much higher than the ocean making it possible to float like a cork. And the water is clean.




Why is the Great Salt Lake so salty?


Great Salt Lake is salty because it does not have any outlets (rivers). It is known as a terminal sea. The rivers that flow into the lake bring in small amounts of salt disolved in their fresh water flows. The only way water leaves the Great Salt Lake is by evaporation which leaves the minerals behind. Even though industry extracts salt products from the Great Salt Lake the rivers bring in enough minerals each year to replenish what is removed.




How big and deep is Great Salt Lake.


The Great Salt Lake is the largest lake in the United States outside the Great Lakes. It is about 75 miles long and is nearly 40 miles across at its widest point. It covers 1500 square miles (1,030,000 acres) at its average lake level of 4200 feet msl. The lake level fluctuates seasonally with the lake rising rapidly in the later winter and spring due to spring runoff from the Wasatch and northern Uinta Mountains. Then evaporation takes over in the summer and the lake level begins to drop again before bottoming out late October to mid-November. The annual fluctuation of the lake is 2 feet on average. Because the lake is so large many people think it has tidal effects but what appears to be tides is actually storm surge from strong southerly or northerly winds. The deepest part of Great Salt Lake is 33 feet deep.




Are there fish in the Great Salt Lake?  Can anything live in the lake?


Although Carp and Catfish can sometimes be observed near river inflows they do not live long due to the high salinity of the lake. Brine Shrimp, also known as sea monkeys, are abundant in the lake and thrive in its salty waters. They can be observed from May through November on an average year. These tiny shrimp grow to less than a half inch long and are an important part of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. They keep the waters clean by eating algae and are a major food source for millions of migrating birds. Brine Flies are also common along the shores of the lake from early June to early September. Although they resemble a small house fly they are completely harmless and cannot bite. Brine Flies are also a common source of food for migrating birds.




Where can I visit the Great Salt Lake.


Although Great Salt Lake is very large there are only a few places for the public to access her. The two most common areas for visititation is Great Salt Lake State Marina and Antelope Island State Park. Great Salt Lake State Marina is just 10 minutes west of the International Airport (20 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City) on Interstate 80. Take Exit 104 and follow the signs to Great Salt Lake Marina. Antelope Island State Park can be accessed from Interstate 15 Exit 335 and is about 1 hour drive from downtown Salt Lake City. Take Antelope Drive west right to the Gate House of Antelope Island State Park.




Are there Campgrounds at Great Salt Lake


Yes. There are campgrounds at both Great Salt Lake State Park and Antelope Island State Park. Reservations are recommended and can be made through the Reserve America by calling 801-322-3770 NOTE: The Great Salt Lake State Park closes its gate at sunset in the summer and at 5pm in the winter so you must be in the campgrounds before that time or make arrangements for after-hours access.




Can I rent Kayaks, Paddle Boards or Boats at the Marina


At this time, the answer is "No". We are looking for a new vendor that will come in and provide those services but we do not have them available right now. Please check back regularly.