Silver Island Mountains Back Country Byway
Silver Island Mountains byway is 120 miles west of Salt Lake City in northwest Utah. It begins north of Wendover and is accessed from Exit #4 on I-80. It forms a loop drive of 54 miles and follows Silver Island Mountains Road, a graded gravel and dirt road that requires a two-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle. Travelers in large RVs or pulling a trailer should inquire with the BLM about any vehicle limitations and current road conditions. Portions of the byway become muddy after periods of rain, otherwise it remains open year-round.
Silver Island Mountains Back Country Byway takes travelers around the rugged and isolated Silver Island Mountains. The byway is surrounded by the vast expanse of the Bonneville Salt Flats; deposits of salt and minerals left behind by the evaporated and ancient Lake Bonneville. Views can often become distorted with distances running together or becoming disguised in the heat.
Numerous side roads will take you into the rugged mountains for exploring. A four-wheel drive vehicle is a must if you wish to drive into the mountains. The mountains do, however, provide excellent opportunities for hikers. These bumpy roads also provide challenges to experienced mountain bikers.
The Silver Island Mountains have seen mountain men, explorers, and wagon trains cross its peaks and valleys. Pilot Peak, eleven miles to the northwest, was named by John C. Fremont in 1845. This mountain peak became a beacon for later travelers passing through the area. The Donner-Reed Party attempted this route on their way to California but abandoned their wagons in the soft mud east of here. You can see part of their fateful route near Donner-Reed Pass.
By the 1930s, Bonneville Salt Flats had become known as the place to be for setting world land speed records. Some of the surrounding mountain peaks are named for famous racers associated with the salt flats.
Information: BLM-Salt Lake Field Office, 2370 S 2300 W, Salt Lake City UT 84119 / 801-977-4300