Right there: that's where the final spike went in
All this takes place up on the northern edge of the Great Salt Lake in Box Elder County, not far from the Idaho border. It's great landscape up there because the valley between the rolling Promontory Mountains and the Bear River Range of the Wasatch Mountains is mostly farmland, and must look largely the same as it did 100+ years ago when the railroads came through. The Salt Lake Valley down where we are is stuffed to bursting with housing developments and commercial/industrial buildings; it's pretty much just farmland up there to the north.
This is the wood-burning engine; the other burned coal
The Golden Spike National Historic Site has gorgeous replicas of the two trains that met when the last spike was driven, a visitors' center with lots of exhibits and a couple of self-guided auto tours along the historic railroad grades. The longer western tour was closed due to too many cattle being on the range (love it) but the shorter eastern tour was open, so after we checked out the trains, etc., at the visitors' center, we drove along that and then stopped for a short hike out to the Big Fill, despite the steady rain.
Staying dry in a cache the railroads used to store supplies
This walk follows along the historic grades where both railroads, driven to collect their government incentives, went past their purported meeting place and laid out parallel train tracks. We walked out on the Central Pacific grade and back on the Union Pacific, through the massive cuts the railroad workers - Mormon and Irish and Chinese, mostly - dug out by hand. I'm not as keen on train stuff as H is, but it was pretty interesting stuff and a really amazing engineering feat.
H on the historic Union Pacific grade
And after all that history, we just had to stop by Rooster's brewpub in Ogden because it really was on the way home. Best part? They're having a 15th anniversary celebration and the beers were only $2.50 each. (My Santa Fe chicken salad was tasty too.)