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A map showing the population of Utah municipalities, clearly showing the long narrow Wasatch Front

The Wasatch Front (pronounced /ˈwɑːsætʃ/) is an urban area in the north-central part of the U.S. state of Utah. It consists of a chain of cities and towns stretched along the Wasatch Range from approximately Santaquin in the south to Brigham City in the north. Roughly 80% of Utah's population resides in this region, as it contains the major cities of Salt Lake City, Provo and Ogden.



The Wasatch Front is long and narrow. To the east, the Wasatch Mountains rise abruptly several thousand feet above the valley floors, climbing to their highest elevation of 11,928 feet (3,620 m) at Mount Nebo (Utah) (bordering Utah Valley). The area's western boundary is formed by Utah Lake in Utah County, the Oquirrh Mountains in Salt Lake County, and the Great Salt Lake in northwestern Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, and southeastern Box Elder Counties. The combined population of the five Wasatch Front Counties totals 2,125,322 according to the 2008 Census Estimate [1]

Though most residents of the area live between Ogden and Provo (a distance of 80 miles or 128 km), which includes Salt Lake proper, the fullest built-out extent of the Wasatch Front is 120 miles (193 km) long and an average of 5 miles (8 km) wide. Along its length, the Wasatch Front never exceeds a width of approximately 18 miles (29 km) because of the natural barriers of lakes and mountains.

Population centers

The Salt Lake Valley urban area, part of the Wasatch Front. The Wasatch Range prevents the Wasatch Front from expanding further eastward.

Several downtown and commercial districts encompass the Wasatch Front. The largest is Salt Lake City at the middle of the urban area. Utah Valley (south of the Salt Lake area) and the Davis-Weber Ogden-Clearfield region (north of Salt Lake) are the other major population centers.

Nearly all of the cities within the region are connected by continuous suburban development. Cumulative population estimates of Brigham City, Weber County, Davis County, Salt Lake County, and Utah County for 2006 show that the Wasatch Front has an estimated population of 2,051,330 residents, or 80% of Utah's estimated 2007 population of 2,645,330 [2]


Transportation issues have been complicated by the narrow north-south orientation of the valley, constrained by the natural barriers on both sides, and the rapid growth of the region.

The primary modes of transport for the area are Interstate 15 and U.S. Route 89, both of which run down its center from north to south for the full length of about 120 miles. Other interstates and highways provide transportation routes to local areas within the front. Such transportation routes include Interstate 84 in the Ogden area, Interstate 80 running east-west through Salt Lake, Interstate 215 circling the inner Salt Lake Valley, Bangerter Highway (State Route 154) and State Route 201 to the west of Salt Lake, U.S. Route 189 through Provo, and U.S. Route 6 in southern Utah County.[3]

The Utah Transit Authority provides bus and light rail service to most of the urban areas within the front. Additionally, a double-decker commuter rail line FrontRunner [4], the Legacy Parkway project [5], and the Mountain View Corridor [6] are planned or under construction to accommodate passenger traffic between Ogden and Provo.

Salt Lake City International Airport serves as the primary airport for the region.

Growth and land use

Mount Timpanogos, in the Wasatch Range, viewed from Utah Lake. Several Wasatch Front cities lie between these natural features.

Because of the geographical barriers to the east and west, much of the land along the Wasatch Front has been developed. The region has experienced considerable growth since the 1950s, with its population increasing 308% from 492,374 to 2,051,330. Much of the remaining undeveloped land is rapidly being developed, and local governments have grappled with problems of urban sprawl and other land-use concerns.

Cities lying on the other side of the Wasatch Range, including Morgan, Park City, and Heber, are sometimes referred to as the "Wasatch Back" and have recently shared in the rapid growth of the region.

See also


External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The Wasatch Front is a region of Utah. It occupies the north central part of the state and is the home of Salt Lake City, the state's largest city and capital, as well as a majority of the state's population. The region includes the counties of Wasatch, Salt Lake, Utah, Morgan, Cache, Davis, Weber, Rich, and the western half of Summit County (west of longitude 111W).

  • Salt Lake City - capital of the state, center of the LDS church and home of Temple Square, site of Salt Lake City International Airport; population about 180,000
  • Bountiful - suburb immediately north of Salt Lake City; population 45,000
  • Draper -
  • Layton - rapidly-growing bedroom community south of Ogden, with a growing commercial center; population 65,000
  • Logan - fast-growing city located in Cache Valley and home to Utah State University
  • Murray - mixed-use suburb near the center of the valley; population 45,000
  • Ogden - center of the northern Wasatch Front; old industrial city; population 75,000
  • Orem - mixed-use suburb just north of Provo in the southern Wasatch Front; population 90,000
  • Provo - central city of the southern Wasatch Front and home of BYU; population 115,000
  • Sandy - mostly bedroom community in the southern portion of the valley, with a distinct commercial region; population 90,000
  • Springville - bedroom community just south of Provo, home to the Springville Art Museum; population 20,000
  • Taylorsville - mixed-use suburb just west of center in the Salt Lake Valley; population 55,000
  • West Jordan - rapidly-growing mixed-use suburb west of Sandy; population 95,000
  • West Valley City - large mixed-use suburb southwest of Salt Lake City; population 115,000
  • Alta - Ski resort.
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