Golden Spike

National Historical Site

About the Park

Golden Spike National Historical Park commemorates the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. 

Key Activities:

  • ​The visitor center has exhibits and multiple films.

  • See the trains. During the summer they are on the tracks behind the visitor center. A demonstration runs daily. During the winter they can be seen at the nearby engine house.

Other things to do:

  • There are self-guided auto-tours on both the west and east side of the visitor center. The tours show the cuts and fills created for the original tracks. The west tour is 7 miles and the east is 2 miles. The commemorative Chinese Arch is on the east tour.

  • There's a 1.5 mile (about .7 miles each way) trail north of the east auto-tour where you can walk out to see "Big Fill" a 500 foot land bridge.

While you're there:

  • See the Spiral Jetty. It's a famous creation of earthwork art on the edge of the Great Salt Lake. It's about a half hour drive southwest of the Golden Spike Visitor Center.

Golden Spike NHS NPS Site

Discussion Topics

  • It was a lot of work to build a railroad line that would cross the country! Why was it so important to connect the eastern and western United States by railroad?
     

  • The two companies building the railroad, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, were paid per mile and both graded the land for tracks going past each other for hundreds of miles, even though they knew both lines couldn't be used. They were eventually forced to meet in the middle. Have you ever done anything that benefits yourself even though it wasn't the most efficient or most generous decision? How do you feel about that? What could you do differently next time?
     

  • The Central Pacific company used mostly Chinese immigrants for their labor. They were paid little and treated poorly. Do you know people who came from other countries to work in the United States? How can we help make their lives better?

Maps