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Uniquely Utah: Pink shores at the Great Salt Lake

Posted at 10:40 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 00:40:27-04

BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah — For decades, a steady trickle of tourists have been visiting the iconic Spiral Jetty on the north end of the Great Salt Lake.

These days the Jetty sits high and dry.

But for those who walk past the Jetty out to the new shore of the receding lake, a visual treat awaits: a pink shoreline.

The pink color, easiest to see in the shallow waters closest to the shore, is not a new feature or a result of recent record-low levels.

“There’s only two types of organisms that can grow up there. One is bacteria, the other is algae, and they both just happen to be pigmented pink,” said Dave Shearer, Manager of the Great Salt Lake State Park.

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Shearer says the pink water is safe to wade into, but the lake bottom and beach aren’t necessarily friendly to bare feet as jagged salt formations abound.

Those wishing to see the pink water themselves should be prepared for extreme outdoor conditions as there are no services within several miles of the Spiral Jetty and the north shores of the lake, and cell phone coverage in the area is spotty at best.

“It’s a long dirt road drive to get to those places,” Shearer said.