Just the name Gravity Hill, Utah, elicits curiosity. This mysterious location has fascinated visitors for a long time and conjured up all kinds of tall tales.
There are stories of optical illusions, gravity turned on its head, urban legends, ghostly hauntings, and more. But how much truth is there to these folk tales?
Gravity Hill, Utah, definitely has a story behind it, one that has drawn visitors for a long, long time.
Let’s see what all the commotion is about!
What Is the Legend of Gravity Hill?
Gravity Hill, located on Bonneville Boulevard, near the Capitol Building in Salt Lake City, Utah, has a section of the road where it seems as though you’re actually rolling up the hill. Logically, you should roll down, but you don’t; you roll-up.
It turns out there’s an actual definition for hills, such as Gravity Hill. Simply, it’s an optical illusion due to the layout of the terrain around the hill. However, Gravity Hill, Utah, appears to be more than just that. Several legends explain how one can “roll” uphill at Gravity Hill. Let’s examine a few.
The first legend is all about Utah’s State Capitol Building. When it was being constructed in 1912, legend has it that it was built with magnets inside the walls to attract visitors. This way, vehicles are pulled toward the State Capitol Building.
Another legend surrounding the Capitol states that it sits on a Native American burial ground. Because of this, some say indigenous peoples cursed the building creating a force causing anyone nearby to be pulled toward the site.
Another legend about Gravity Hill, Utah, tells the story of a farmer. A bit disoriented by the landscape, a farmer couldn’t tell whether he was going up or down, resulting in him tipping his tractor and dying instantly. Legend has it that he didn’t want anyone else to suffer the same fate, so he now aids other drivers by pushing them up the hill. You may even see handprints on the bumper of your vehicle.
The School Bus
There’s a similar story, although a bit more tragic, that a train broadsides a school bus full of children as the kids were taking a field trip to the state capitol. The 23 students and the bus driver who died in the accident are now protecting other drivers along this stretch of the road by giving the vehicles an extra push. And just like the farmer, you may see the children’s prints as they work hard to keep you safe.
It’s true that one of the most horrific school bus accidents in America’s history did occur here. The bus driver and 23 of the 38 students died after getting hit by a train on a foggy day. Whether you believe in the legend of the ghosts that remain to help out others is up to you.
Pro Tip: Want to explore more scary sites in Utah? Check out these 5 Spooky Ghost Towns in Utah (and Awesome Nearby Campsites).
How Does Gravity Hill Actually Work?
While legends give Gravity Hill, Utah, a more exciting story, there’s a logical explanation for this phenomenon. As mentioned earlier, it’s actually an optical illusion. Bonneville Drive is along a canyon with walls on both sides. To all appearances, it seems as though you’re driving uphill, but in reality, the road goes slightly downhill.
How to Test It for Yourself
Want to try it out for yourself? Back in the day, you used to be able to drive up the road until you hit that magical spot. You could then stop your car, turn off the engine, and put it in neutral. Then, you could watch in amazement as your car rolled uphill!
Today, it’s much harder to test Gravity Hill, Utah, as Bonneville Boulevard is now a one-way street heading south. Unfortunately, the optical illusion only works when heading north. You could test it out on foot or a bike; however, it’s just not the same.
Regardless, it’s still a beautiful drive if you’re heading into the canyon to visit Utah’s State Capitol Building. While you may not be able to drive north, you can at least drive by this magical spot located on the north edge of Salt Lake City, along Bonneville Boulevard.
You can get there by driving north along the edge of the city. Take North Temple to State Street, then turn onto 2nd Avenue and go up the hill. You’ll turn left and go up a hill to 11th Avenue. You should be able to travel straight on to Bonneville Boulevard from there.
Pro Tip: While exploring Gravity Hill, Utah, make sure to check out The Utah National Parks Ranked Best To Worst.
Gravity Hill, Utah: Do You Believe in Legends?
What do you think? Are you feeling logical? Or maybe those legends are tugging at your heartstrings? Maybe those smudges were handprints. Maybe there was a magnetic pull leading you toward the Capitol Building.
Whatever draws you to Gravity Hill, Utah, we hope it leads you on a fun adventure.
Have you ever encountered something spooky on the road? Drop a comment below!
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