photography Salt Lake City Utah

Salt Lake City mountain vistas

Two of the past three winter days in Salt Lake City offered blue skies and January temperatures in the 40s for comfortable walking around the city. Salt Lake City is located in a valley between two high mountain ranges with the Wasatch Mountains to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. Both of these mountain ranges have peaks over 10,000 feet.

Today I walked from Courtyard by Marriott Downtown hotel to the Utah State Capitol, a distance of 1.5 miles, and back to the hotel. I actually walked more than six miles in my circuitous route around downtown Salt Lake City as I toured several hotels during the day.

Utah Capitol
Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City

The State Capitol building of Utah is located on a hill in the northeast sector of the city with stunning vistas of Salt Lake City and the mountains on both sides of the valley.

Salt Lake City Mountain Vistas

Smog is notoriously bad in winter for Salt Lake Valley. I was blessed to have two days with relatively low pollution levels. Yesterday was cloudy with rain showers. Today the air quality index was ‘moderate’ over the east side of the valley, including Salt Lake City, and ‘good’ air quality over the west side of the valley. The difference was distinguishable from where I started the day in West Valley City when I looked to the west at the brilliant Oquirrh Mountains.

West Valley City
Oquirrh Mountains, seen from Maverik Center in West Valley City, form the western border of Salt Lake Valley.

Looking to the east this morning over Salt Lake City to the Wasatch Mountains was like looking through a dirty windshield.

SLC smog
View of Wasatch Mountains through smog seen from UTA TRAX Decker Lake Station in West Valley City.

Two days ago, when the air quality was good across the entire valley, I rode the Utah Transit Authority TRAX green line light rail one station too far, all the way to West Valley Center. I walked back to the Country Inn & Suites West Valley City, nearly one mile east. The Wasatch Mountains vista was stunning at dusk, just a few minutes after the sun had dropped below the Oquirrh peaks. I stopped to take photos of the Wasatch peaks in the fading light as I stood on the west side of Interstate 215.

Wasatch from I-215
View of Wasatch peaks on good air quality day seen from West Valley City.

This afternoon the view over eastern Salt Lake City from the Utah State Capitol was gorgeous with little smog obscuring the view from the hillside elevation of the Capitol steps.

SLC east
View of Wasatch Mountains from Utah State Capitol steps.

The mountain vistas of Salt Lake City on a clear winter day are a sight to behold. Snow covered peaks viewed from snow-free streets and sidewalks of Salt Lake City were a walking delight.