Pink Lake, Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah

The Pink Waters at Stansbury Island

The Pink Waters at Stansbury Island was originally published in 2024

This pink bay on Stansbury Island on Utah’s Great Salt Lake surprisingly remains largely undiscovered. 

I made a trip out to Stansbury Island after moving to Salt Lake in 2023 and have now visited numerous times, bringing visitors here whenever they come by.

In this quick guide to the pink lake at Stansbury Island, you’ll find everything you need to know to plan your visit.

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Where are the Pink Waters of Stansbury Island?

Pink Lake, Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah

Utah’s Great Salt Lake boasts not one, but two stunning pink lakes. Both are bays nestled within the Great Salt Lake but on opposite ends of the lake.

The pink lake I’m writing about in this post is the one located at Stansbury Island, which is accessible via a causeway from the south side of the Great Salt Lake. 

The other pink lake is on the other side of the lake in the northern bay near the Spiral Jetty and Rozel Point.

For those interested in exploring the pink lake at Stansbury Island, continue reading this post for directions and details. If you want to check out the pink lake at Spiral Jetty, check out my post about visiting the pink lake at Spiral Jetty.

How to get to the Pink Lake at Stansbury Island, Utah

Pink Lake, Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah

Stansbury Island sits approximately 40 miles west of Salt Lake City along the southwestern edge of the Great Salt Lake.

To get there from Salt Lake City, take I-80 West for 36 miles, then take Exit 84. After 0.3 miles, turn left onto Salt Road towards Grantsville/Stansbury Island. Follow this road for about 15 miles until you reach the northern tip of the island.

The initial 4 miles are paved, but the remaining 9 miles transition to a dirt and gravel road. So expect the road to be bumpy due to washboarding.

Stay on the road until you reach the observation point at the end, where you’ll find a parking lot and an outhouse toilet. 

From the parking lot, the Stansbury Island Beach area is a short walk away.

Why are Parts of the Great Salt Lake Pink?

Pink Lake, Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah

The entire Great Salt Lake isn’t pink. That said, the Great Salt Lake contains two pink bays within its expanse.

The pink hue of both the Stansbury Island Pink Lake and the Spiral Jetty Pink Lake in Utah comes from halophilic bacteria and microorganisms that thrive in highly saline environments such as the Great Salt Lake.

The bay west of Stansbury Island and the area north of the railway causeway (Spiral Jetty area), are isolated from the remainder of the Great Salt Lake. They both have no influx of freshwater to dilute them from local rivers.

This causes higher salinity and therefore a higher concentration of the necessary bacteria and organisms to make the water pink,

Can You Swim in the Pink Waters at the Great Salt Lake?

Pink Lake, Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah

Swimming in Utah’s pink lake might initially sound off-putting due to the bacteria and algae mentioned above, but it’s actually safe. That said, I would recommend avoiding getting the water in your eyes or mouth.

The Best time to Visit the Pink Lake at Stansbury Island

Pink Lake, Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah

Utah’s pink lake at Stansbury Island maintains its distinctive rosy hue throughout the year. 

That said, its pinkness may diminish after heavy rain or snowfall.

Accessing Stansbury Island during winter and spring can be a bit challenging due to muddy roads on Stansbury Island.

Summer offers the best opportunity to experience Stansbury Island fully, with warmer temperatures ideal for floating in the water. 

If visiting in the summer be prepared for the heat by bringing shade tents and applying sunscreen, as there is no natural shade available at the lake.

Tips for Visiting Utah’s Pink Lake at Stansbury Island

Pink Lake, Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah
  • Bring sunscreen: Especially in summer as there is no shade at Stansbury Island Beach. 
  • Waterproof sandals: If you plan to wade into the Stansbury Island Pink Lake, the bottom can be quite sharp.
  • Pack drinking water and food: Stansbury Island Beach is the perfect spot for a picnic, however, pack in food with you as there is nowhere on the island to get food, water, or drinks. 
  • Grab a swimsuit and towel: If you plan to swim and float in the pink lake. Don’t forget dry clothes to change into afterward.
  • Don’t forget your drone: The Aerials of Stansbury Island’s pink lake are quite impressive. You do need a permit to use a drone at the Great Salt Lake State Park. These permits cost $1.
  • Fill up on gasoline: There are no gas stations on Stansbury Island.

Where to Stay & Camping? 

There are no established campgrounds on Stansbury Island but there are campgrounds nearby.

If wanting to stay in a hotel, I would recommend getting a hotel in Salt Lake City and planning a day trip to Stansbury Island. 

How to get to the other Utah Pink Lakes at Spiral Jetty and the Rail Causeway 

Pink Lake Utah, Spiral Jetty, Rozel Point, Utah, Great Salt Lake, Pink Lake
The pink lake near Spiral Jetty

The other Pink Lake at Spiral Jetty and the Rail Causeway is located on the north side of the Great Salt Lake. 

To get here from Salt Lake City you’ll need to take the I-15 north and take the exit for UT-13 north toward Corinne. After about 20 miles, turn onto Golden Spike Road and remain on there for about 11 more miles before turning onto Spiral Jetty Road which will terminate at a parking lot.

For full details about visiting Spiral Jetty and the Rail Causeway, check out my post on the Pink Lake at Spiral Jetty.

Have any questions about visiting the Pink Lake at Stansbury Island?

Ask in the comments section below.

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