Off The Beaten Path in Northern Utah

July 12th, 2013 by BBIU

Utah is well-known for its red rocks, snow capped mountains, and iconic scenery. In most areas of the state, visitors will also find a few little-known, little-visited areas that are often as interesting as any other. Northern Utah is no exception.

Chinese Arch in Golden Spike National Historic Site, Utah.

Chinese Arch in Golden Spike NHS

In the Golden Spike National Historic Site (32 miles west of Brigham City via. Utah Hwy 83), visitors will see where the Union And Central Pacific Railroads joined their rails to complete a transcontinental rail system. One of the park tours includes a drive along the East Grade the Union Pacific built with 4 trestles and 4 fills to allow for rail construction. In an otherwise featureless landscape stands a unique formation. The 20 foot limestone Chinese Arch is named in honor of the Chinese railroad workers who were so important to the construction of the rail system.

Spiral Jetty in teh Great Salt LAke, south of Golden Spike NHS

Spiral Jetty

When visiting Golden Spike NHS, a more modern, but no less unique place to visit is the Spiral Jetty. The Jetty is reached by traveling about 15.5 miles southwest of Golden Spike on dirt roads. The Spiral Jetty is an “earthwork” by American sculptor Robert Smithson in 1970. Built of mud, precipitated salt crystals, and basalt rocks, the spiral is 1500 feet long and 15 feet wide. The structure is not always visible if lake levels are high.

In a very remote region of north western Utah lie the Sun Tunnels. utah.com explains:
“Nancy Holt, an artist exploring the human perception of time and space, earth and sky, built the Sun Tunnels as a unique art project completed in 1976. The four tunnels are concrete tubes laid out in an X shape, each drilled with holes to pattern the constellations of Draco, Perseus, Columbia, and Capricorn. They are massive – nine feet high by 18 feet long. They sit in a remote valley in the Great Basin Desert, west of the Bonneville Salt Flats.”

Sun Tunnels, a  sculptural installation in Utah's remote west desert

Sun Tunnels

Located near the Utah/Nevada line about 45 miles north of Wendover. The road is paved for the first few miles then turns to gravel, then dirt. The Great Basin desert is uniquely beautiful in this area, with rolling hills and distant mountains, and cattle grazing in open rangeland. Plan your visit so you can see both sunrise and sunset, or visit during a solstice, when you will probably find other visitors.
Photos are provided by Alan Smith of Box Elder County Tourism
Thought the Bed and Breakfast Inns of Utah has no member inns in the immediate area of these sights, guests often use a Salt Lake City inn as a base for these adventures. Also close are inns in Providence (Logan), Eden and Huntsville. The innkeepers are a great source of information about any of these, or other “out of the way” places to visit.


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