Gallery 2 - A Pilot's View   >   Famous Places   >   Great Salt Lake

On one of our many trips to California, we decided to take a more northerly route that would take us over Salt Lake City. We were going to stay south of the Great Salt Lake and fly over the city but an air traffic controller was not happy about us being in his airspace. We were told to do a '180' and leave the airspace which forced us to fly over the Great Salt Lake to the north.

Here we turned around after taking a few photos but little did we know, we were in for a treat. Perhaps the controller sent us there for a reason.

If we didn't get 'kicked' out of the class B airspace, we would never have seen this amazing view of the strange colour differences of the Great Salt Lake. The water seemed to be partitioned off with different sections of very differnt colours. At first we thought they were somehow farming the lake but it turns out that the colours are attributed to different species of algae that thrive in different concentrations of salt. The unusual colour scheme is a direct result of the causeway built by Southern Pacific railway in the 1950's.

North of the causeway, the red algae Dunaliella salina produces a pronounced reddish cast to the water which is twice as salty as the green water.

As we headed west past the Great Salt Lake area towards the Nevada border, we saw the expanse of the Great Salt Lake desert. This is a dry lake with salt deposits left over from prehistoric Lake Bonneville that covered most of Utah after the glaciers retreated. This trip was a really cool photo opportunity. Thank you Salt Lake City air traffic controller!