Despite warning signs, vehicles getting stuck in muddy Bonneville Salt Flats

May 13, 2024, 4:49 PM | Updated: 5:22 pm

A lone American flag at the Bonneville Salt Flats along Interstate 80 on the way to Wendover...

A lone American flag waves in the morning breeze Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2002, at the Bonneville Salt Flats along Interstate 80 on the way to Wendover, Utah. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

(AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS, Utah — This time of year, the famous Bonneville Salt Flats might look the same on the surface, but experts warn that what’s under that salt is very different now.

“It’s really hard to determine where it’s dry enough and where it’s not,” said Brett Davis, president of the nonprofit Utah Off Road Recovery Team.

Davis told KSL NewsRadio while much of the Bonneville Salt Flats still look the same on the surface, underneath that salt is what he called a “bottomless” pit of mud that vehicles are getting stuck in.

And that’s happening despite warning signs posted at the salt flats that they are closed to motorized vehicles.

“You might leave a little impression, and you think you’re fine, until suddenly you start sinking,” Davis said. “It’s not quicksand, but it’s just like it.”

Davis said once drivers start spinning their tires, their vehicle could sink to the point it’s covered to its frame in mud.

In a Facebook post, the nonprofit warned people with vehicles stuck in the mud that the team can’t help because they’ll end up in the same predicament.


Summer heat should dry Bonneville Salt Flats

Davis said the team is urging anyone in need of help to call a company in Wendover equipped with a Mud Cat that’s able to navigate the muddy salt flats. But getting that specialized help could run people anywhere from $900 to $1,500.

“And there’s not a group discount,” Davis said, noting that cost is per vehicle.

As long as the signs are up, people are urged not to drive motorized vehicles on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

The flats are expected to dry in the summer heat.

For updates or questions on the conditions, head to the Bureau of Land Management’s website.

Related: Water may be the solution to saving the salt flats

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Despite warning signs, vehicles getting stuck in muddy Bonneville Salt Flats