2.8
16 votes

The Tree of Utah

Lincoln Hwy, Salt Lake City, Utah 84083 USA

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“aka Metaphor, the Tree of Utah”

An abstract artistic sculpture called Metaphor: The Tree of Utah stands of the edge of I-80 on the barren Bonneville Salt Flats west of Salt Lake City. Swedish artist Karl Momen created the 87-foot high tree between 1982-1986. He financed the project himself to bring bold color and beauty to the stark, flat, salty landscape. The sculpture is made of 225 tons of cement, almost 2,000 ceramic tiles and five tons of welding rod, and tons of minerals and rocks native to Utah. Also called the "Tree of Life," the sculpture is located on the north side of I-80 about 95 miles west of Salt Lake City (25 miles east of Wendover). The location is interesting because the harsh environment here hindered many travelers in pioneer times. Members of the ill-fated Donner Party were tragically delayed in this area before their awful demise in the Sierra Nevada mountains. During WWII, the crew of the Enola Gay practiced bombing runs over the Great Salt Lake Desert before proceeding to Hiroshima to end the war. After completing his work Momen returned to Sweden, donating the sculpture to the state of Utah. Art Critic Katherine Metcalf used these words to sum up the project: "...Like Kandinsky in the 1920s, so Momen in the 1980s combines his love of color, circles, and cosmic space in a personal hymn to the universe; and like Kandinsky, he is very 'romantic' and musical. The inscription on the trunk of the tree is Schiller's Ode to Joy, as sung in the choral climax of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony."

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Reviewed by
robadob

  • 15 Reviews
  • 8 Helpful
July 14, 2014

It is farther east than navigation directs. It is also most visible from I-80 west. As we were going east, we got a quick look, but couldn't get a photo.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
momtognp

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
July 06, 2014

Fun surprise roadside! Unfortunately it appears one of the spheres has fallen and broken in two ... Hopefully someone cares enough to fix it!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
tina.ries.96

  • 38 Reviews
  • 29 Helpful
July 01, 2014

We stopped for a photo op with the kids. Walking on the salt was an interesting experience.
IT IS ILLEGAL TO STOP ON HIghway here THOUGH...sign says No stopping, emergency vehicles only...we took our chances....

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
wanderlustandgo

  • 9 Reviews
  • 14 Helpful
December 17, 2013

Unfortunately, we didn't stop the car for this one. I didn't really know what to expect, and I wished we had stopped just as we were driving by. This is such a unique structure. Not exactly beautiful, but an interesting sight to behold. Next time we're on I-80!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Daddy-Kitten

  • 12 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
November 24, 2018
Rated 2.0

It's a tree. Cool art but on the opposite side of the freeway and not so inspiring we wanted to turn around...

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Reviewed by
kimberlyariley

  • 9 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
August 26, 2018
Rated 3.0

It was cool. Nice to see something in the salt.....

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Reviewed by
kelci.schexnayder

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
February 23, 2018
Rated 5.0

A nice fenced off attraction in a big field of mud

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Reviewed by
indy_miami

  • 26 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
August 03, 2017
Rated 2.0

Literally off the highway, no place to stop. We were heading East so didn't get as good of a look.

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Reviewed by
5Jeeps

  • 6 Reviews
  • 8 Helpful
December 08, 2016
Rated 4.0

Pretty sure the "broken" spheres on the ground are intentional.. a cool piece and hard to miss as you approach heading west...

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Reviewed by
brittany.hanson

  • 5 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
October 25, 2016
Rated 3.0

This is actually called the Tree of Utah NOT the Tree of Life. Worth a stop and picture.

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