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The Tennis Ball Tree of Utah

When traveling on Route 80 through the Great Salt Lake Desert, there’s not much to see. The terrain, while beautiful, is endless, and many travelers find it to be a tough drive. So when a giant tree covered with multicolored tennis balls rolls into view, many desert travelers must think they’re losing their minds.

Metaphor: The Tree of Utah, is made of concrete and stands eighty-seven feet tall. Its massive trunk rises to a series of branches, adorned with large spheres painted to resemble multi-colored tennis balls. Along the ground surrounding the tree are seventeen fallen tennis ball halves, meant to represent leaves that have fallen from the tree.

 

The Tree of Utah was created by a Swedish artist named Karl Momen, who was inspired by the vast emptiness of the Bonneville Salt Flats. He spent six years building the piece, and promptly moved back to Sweden when it was dedicated in 1986. The tree is affixed with a plaque that reads “A hymn to our universe whose glory and dimension is beyond all myth and imagination.”

Few roadside distractions can aspire to the massive scale of the towering Tree of Utah. It’s a true icon that will stand for generations to come.

Weird Utah

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