Sponsored by Box Elder County
Box Elder County, Utah forms the northwest corner of Utah. This large county is part of the vast Great Basin. It includes the northern part of the Great Salt Lake and the Great Salt Lake Desert. Marshlands surround the place where the Bear River runs into the Great Salt Lake.
You should begin your visit at The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge by stopping at the Refuge’s new Wildlife Education Center and visitor center. This Center features interactive exhibits about birds, an auditorium, teaching lab, bookstore and more. The Refuge has special Saturday programs. Guided Refuge tours are given seasonally. School groups may visit for educational field trips, but reservations are necessary. Hours are Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Sunday and federal holidays.
The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge hosts the world’s largest breeding colony of White-faced Ibis and is one of 3 largest colonies of American White Pelicans in North America. Fall population of waterfowl peaks at over 263,000 birds
Crystal Hot Springs – Crystal Hot Springs, once home to generations of Native Americans, boasts the highest mineral content found in any hot springs in the world.
Spiral Jetty and Sun Tunnels – The Spiral Jetty and Sun Tunnels were created by husband and wife artists Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt at different times. The Spiral Jetty is off the grid, but worth the drive. Everyone needs to visit the jetty once in their lifetime. Just drive to the Golden Spike monument and from there it is 19 miles of dirt road. A small rocky climb takes you down to the sand of the lake where the jetty was designed.
Where to Eat
Utah’s Official Fruitway – Tourists can select bushels of hand-picked peaches, browse the large piles of carefully placed melons, and marvel at the mouth-watering array of locally grown veggies.
Maddox Ranch House – Maddox Ranch House is famous for the Turkey Steaks and Shrimp Steaks. The restaurant got started the day Irv & Wilma Maddox opened a small cafe along U.S. Highway 89 in Perry, Utah in August of 1949. Today Maddox is owned and operated by the third and fourth generations of family.
Hunters and gatherers roamed the area as early as 9,000 years ago. The Fremont Indians lived in this area until about 1200 A.D. Archaeologists have found artifacts from these earliest inhabitants of Box Elder County in caves near the Great Salt Lake (Danger Cave, Promontory Cave, and Hogup Cave) and at Shallow Shelter in the Grouse Creek Mountains.
The closely related Shoshone and Goshute Indians lived in the area for several centuries before contact with Euro-Americans.
Golden Spike National Historic Site – In 1869 the East met the West when Union and Central Pacific railroads joined tracks, forming the first transcontinental railroad. Today, visitors can stand on the very spot where the golden spike was driven. You also won’t want to miss the real working locomotives and reenactments that run all summer.