Bird watching Free activities Hikes

Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve

(Last Updated On: April 1, 2017)

We found ourselves at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve a little too early this year. We visited during the last week of March, and only a few of the fun birds to see had returned.

The preserve, which is run by the Nature Conservancy, is located on the shore of the Great Salt Lake west of Layton. The admission is free, though donations are accepted. We weren’t sure what to expect when we arrived, as the website for GSL Shoreland Preserve boasts a Visitor’s Center that is open almost all day.

Well, there was sort of a Visitor’s Center, but it is all outdoors. Basically, you’ll find a boardwalk that leads you around a 1 mile loop across the wetland. Along the way, there are a few stops with signage that gives information about birds you might spot. There is also an observation tower that allows you to climb several stories and look out over the marsh. This is useful as the reeds are so thick that it is difficult to see much from the ground-level.

The Visitors Center
The boardwalk is stroller and wheelchair accessible.
There are a few places with benches or steps down so you can get a better look.
The tower gives you a chance to use your binoculars.
There are signs along the way teaching you about the birds.

We did see a lot of birds in the air. Northern harriers were a constant sight, hovering above the marsh grass. We also saw red-winged blackbirds (just returned to Utah), a great blue heron, magpies, many mallards, a sand hill crane, and a few White Pelicans. If we’d been here 3 weeks later, we think that the sightings would’ve been much richer.

If you live near Layton, this is a great place to take a short nature walk and enjoy the birds.

We saw a few mallards.
Pelicans flying by.
Sandhill crane