The Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake: An Emblem of Salt Lake City's Vibrant History.


7/6/20234 min read

The Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake: An Emblem of Salt Lake City's Vibrant History

It's hard to miss the importance of the Great Salt Lake when visiting Salt Lake City. After all, the city owes its name to this vast expanse of shimmering saline water, a geographic marvel and a testament to the region's unique geological and cultural history.

But there is more to the Great Salt Lake than being a namesake of Utah's bustling capital. It's a story that stretches back millions of years and is an integral part of what makes Salt Lake City so distinctive. It's a story that, as you will discover, has colored everything from the city's founding and its industry to its thriving tourism scene. It's a story that visitors can immerse in, not just through the lake itself but also by enjoying the hospitality of a variety of hotels in downtown Salt Lake City.

The Geologic Beginnings: Lake Bonneville

The Great Salt Lake's story begins in the Pleistocene Epoch, nearly 30,000 years ago, with the formation of Lake Bonneville. This prehistoric body of water covered much of present-day western Utah and parts of neighboring states. The Great Salt Lake is but a remnant of this vast inland sea.

The shoreline of Lake Bonneville can still be seen today, a stark reminder of the geological past. If you look out the window of your suite at The Grand America Hotel or from the viewing deck at Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek, you might notice these terraces etched into the mountainsides.

The Arrival of the First Peoples

Fast forward to around 10,000 years ago, and we find evidence of the first people in the region. Native American tribes, including the Shoshone, Ute, and Goshute, thrived along the shores of the Great Salt Lake. These communities were sustained by the rich biodiversity of the area, from fish in the lake to game in the surrounding marshlands.

As you walk the downtown streets, consider staying at The Little America Hotel, which pays homage to this rich history with its native-inspired architecture and art.

The Arrival of the Latter-Day Saints

In 1847, the next significant chapter in the Great Salt Lake's history began. Brigham Young led the first group of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) to the area, escaping persecution in the East. Upon seeing the lake and the adjacent Salt Lake Valley, Young declared, "This is the place." Today, Salt Lake City is the global headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The impact of the Mormon settlement on Salt Lake City cannot be understated. From the Conference Center, which hosts the Church's general conferences, to the nearby Salt Palace, there is no shortage of destinations that bear the influence of this religious group.

The Lake and the City: An Interwoven Present

Today, the Great Salt Lake continues to shape Salt Lake City, both culturally and economically. Industries such as mining, brine shrimp harvesting, and salt production owe their existence to the lake. Similarly, it's a hub for recreational activities like sailing, hiking, and bird watching. Wildlife enthusiasts flock to the lake to view its impressive array of avian life. Stay at the Hyatt Place Salt Lake City/Downtown/The Gateway to be near these activities.

The lake's influence can also be felt in the arts. Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty on the lake's northeastern shore has become an iconic symbol of land art, drawing visitors worldwide.

Welcoming Visitors: Accommodations in Salt Lake City

One of the best ways to experience the Great Salt Lake's rich history is to spend a few days in Salt Lake City, ideally located in one of the city's many excellent hotels. Whether you're seeking the luxury of the Hilton, the cozy comfort of Homewood Suites, or the boutique charm of Kimpton Hotel Monaco, you'll find accommodation that suits your needs. There are also options catering specifically to attorneys, such as these ten top-rated hotels.

A Great Lake, A Great City

The story of the Great Salt Lake is the story of Salt Lake City: a tale of geological marvels, ancient cultures, religious pilgrimage, economic growth, and cultural richness. When you ask, "What is Salt Lake City known for?" the answer is clear: it's known for a great lake, and all the history, culture, and life that has sprung up around it.

From the brine shrimp that inhabit its waters to the thriving metropolis on its shores, the Great Salt Lake is more than just a geographic feature. It's an emblem of a city's history and a testament to the enduring spirit of those who have called this place home. And it's a story that's best experienced in person - ideally from the comfort of one of Salt Lake City's top downtown hotels.

Whatever your reason for visiting – be it business, leisure, or a mix of both – make sure to take some time to explore this iconic lake and the vibrant city that surrounds it. It's a journey that will take you through millions of years and countless stories, all against the backdrop of one of America's most stunning landscapes.

So, book your stay, step out onto your hotel balcony, and take in the awe-inspiring view of the Great Salt Lake. Let the shimmering waters tell you a tale that spans epochs, a tale of a lake and a city inextricably intertwined.