Salt Lake Valley is a 500-square-mile (approximately 20 miles wide by 25 miles long) valley in Salt Lake County in the north-central portion of the state of Utah. It contains Salt Lake City and many of its suburbs, notably Murray, Sandy, South Jordan, West Jordan, and West Valley City; its total population was 1,091,742 as of 2014.
The Valley is surrounded in nearly every direction by steep mountains that at some points rise 7,100 feet from the valley floor’s base elevation of 4,327 feet. It lies nearly encircled by the Wasatch Mountains on the east, the Oquirrh Mountains on the west, Traverse Ridge to the south and the Great Salt Lake on the northwest, with the peaks of Antelope Island visible.
The only areas that have not been urbanized in Salt Lake Valley are near the Great Salt Lake (prevented by frequent flooding) and in the far west and mid-southwest parts of the Valley, although even those areas are beginning to experience the effects of the Salt Lake City urban area’s rapid expansion. This southwestern expansion is typified and will be facilitated by the Mountain View Corridor. Some experts are claiming that the Valley will be urbanized rim-to-rim within the next 50 years.
Interstate 15 runs north to south through the middle-eastern portion of the Valley and Interstate 80 runs east to west in the northern quarter of the Valley from Parley’s Canyon into Tooele County to the west (where it cuts across a small portion of the Great Salt Lake). The Interstate 215 belt route, State Route 154 (Bangerter Highway), State Route 201 (21st South Freeway), and State Route 85 (Mountain View Corridor) are also major transportation routes. The Utah Transit Authority operates an extensive bus system across the Wasatch Front, including the Salt Lake Valley, in addition to three light rail lines (known as TRAX) in the Valley. A commuter rail line known as FrontRunner runs north to Pleasant View in Weber County and south to Provo in Utah County.