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Spiral Jetty – Golden Spike – Promontory Scenic Drive
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Overview
Location

Starts in Brigham City, Utah and ends at the Spiral Jetty.

Sights

Bear River Bird Refuge, Stinking Springs, ATK Rocket Display, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Spiral Jetty

Distance

From Brigham City and back I drove about 89 Miles.

Parking Lot Elevation

4,167

Summit Elevation

4,167

Elevation Gain/Loss

None

Time Required

4-6 Hours

Pets

Yes on leash

Fees

There is a 5 dollar entrance fee for Golden Spike. Everything else is free.

Water Info

Bring your own water. There are water fountains at the Visitor Center but no where else.

Best Season

Any

Hours

Golden Spike Hours are daily from 8 AM-5 PM. Dawn to Dusk at the Bird Refuge. No hours for the other areas.

Sun Exposure

There is no shade anywhere on this ride so sunscreen would be a good idea.

Trail Condition

All paved or graded gravel suitable for all cars.

Restrooms

At the visitor centers

Visitor Center

One for the Bird Refuge and one for Golden Spike

Camping

Since almost everything is private property it is my understanding that camping is not permitted but I can't imagine anyone stopping you at the Jetty.

Food

Brigham City, and Corinne

GPS Coordinates:

Bear River Bird Refuge:41.50938 N, 112.06473W
Stinking Springs:41.57646 N, 112.23350 W
ATK Rocket Garden:41.65811 N, 112.44085 W
Golden Spike Visitor Center:41.61774 N, 112.55165 W
Spiral Jetty:41.43822 N, 112.66649 W

Driving Directions

This drive will start right off the I-15 exit for Forest Street in Brigham City, Utah


The Trail:

This is a great area to take your family in winter. It can all be done in a passenger car and usually isn’t impassable from snow. There are several points of interest that can make this area a fun little day trip. The first area to stop at is the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. I have done a separate Trek Report on the refuge that can give you more details. In the winter I enjoy visiting here because there are thousands of Tundra Swans and lots of eagles around in winter. The spring is the king time to visit the refuge as there are thousands and thousands of birds of all varieties. There is also a very large visitor center that would be a great place for kids with lots of activities to help them learn. Make sure you drive the auto loop to see the birds.

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Here are the swans and Eagles we saw that day.

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The views out on the refuge were incredible. Here is a picture that shows all of the Wellsville Mountains and the far north Wasatch Mountains with Willard Peak being the high point.

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Next stop is to head toward Corrine, Utah. This will be your last place to fuel up so make sure and top off and get some snacks and drinks for the trip. Just outside of Corinne is Stinking Springs. These are some natural hot springs that smell really gross (hence the name) but they are actually really nice for a soak and I think kids would have fun here. I have talked with locals convinced that these springs have healed ailments. They are locally referred to as the healing waters. If you can get around the fact that they are in severe disrepair and the smell then it really is actually quite nice.

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The exit trench makes some really cool colored algae. You can see all the trash that people leave everywhere so please clean up anything you might bring.

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The next stop is still on the same road. You will go about two miles past the turn off for Golden Spike. There are brown signs that say Rocket Display. The ATK rocket garden is a cool place worth 20-30 minutes to read the signs about the displays and to take some pictures. The coolest part by far is a solid fuel booster from the Space Shuttle. Its crazy how big it is. I believe they are 150 feet long.

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Now back track about two miles and turn right to get to Golden Spike. The turn is very well signed since it is a National Monument. The next stop is Golden Spike itself. The visitor center has some cool information and you can go see a video about the history and see the sight of the golden spike as well. In the winter the trains are not operating but the rangers will still take you on a tour of the shop to see the two authentic steam engines. I thought they were amazing to see. Pictures don’t do them justice. These things are huge and much bigger than they look like in photos. They also taught me a lot of cool information on how they work.

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Stay on the road you took to get to the visitor center to head to the Spiral Jetty. The day we were there the whole way was signed but it was just signed by paper so a map may be useful. Its really only one or two different turns to get there. The views here are awesome and you can see the whole length of the Promontory Mountains.

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This is also a good area to do a little target practice. If you do make sure you clean up everything and don’t leave trash and shells.

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Once at the Spiral Jetty there is a decent sized parking area.

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Walk a short way up the hill  to a small plaque that has the history of the Jetty and a much better view.

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We put on our muck boots and went out and walked to the jetty itself. It was a lot of fun and interesting to see.

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This is a very secluded and pretty area. The whole day we only saw two old ladies from Britain that were really nice. This is really a fun place to see. The views of the Great Salt Lake and west desert are amazing. We also had a black hawk helicopter come fly right above us and hover above the jetty while we were here. It was cool if you are a nerd for stuff like that as I am.

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The Return: 

Return the same way you came unless you have 4×4 you could take a road through Locomotive Springs that will pop you out in Snowville, Utah.

Personal Thoughts:

This is a great way to spend a winter day. It is very peaceful and secluded and you won’t have to deal with crowds. This area is fun in summer too but I prefer winter because it is still accessible when the mountains are under snow. There is lots out here that can be fun for people of all ages.

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Difficulty
4.0
Technicality
2.0
Enjoyment
7.0
The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

7.1
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About The Author
Josh1990
I love adventure! I live in Cache Valley, Utah. Do you have questions on any of my Treks? Email me @ joshua.oyler@gmail.com

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