About Golden Spike
In 1869, crews worked vigorously building the first transcontinental railroad in the deserts of Utah north of Great Salt Lake. In the thin sagebrush and sunflowers of the Promontory Mountains, crews from the east and west met and drove the final spike that connected the east coast to the west coast on May 10.
Ending the days of perilous and frequently fatal handcart and wagon journeys across the country, the event was celebrated across the country, while dignitaries gathered on the desolate mountaintop, driving a golden spike into the final hole. Shortly after the ceremony, the spike was removed and now resides at the Stanford University Art Museum.
In 1942, the railroad grade through the Promontory Mountains was abandoned, with shorter routes available elsewhere. In 1957 the it was declared a National Historical Site, and in 1965 it became part of the National Park System. The park preserves the length of the railroad through these mountains, two train engines from the period, along with the excitement and history of the event. 2,735 acres are included in the park, much of it in a long, skinny stretch following the railroad grade. 45,888 people visited the site in 2003.
Golden Spike Historical Site is not far off Utah Highway 83. The closest towns are Tremonton and Brigham City.
What to See at Golden Spike
The Visitor's Center was constructed at the site of the original golden spike. A functional replica of the Jupiter engine which was originally used on these tracks is kept on display during the day, along with other relics of the time and signs that recount the events.
The tracks having been removed long ago, parts of the historic grade have been converted to roads. The East Tour begins about a mile east of the visitor's center and descends part of the eastern slope of the Promontory Mountains.
The West Tour begins a short distance southwest from the visitors center and descends the western slope of the mountain.