Wendover sits on the western edge of Utah's salt flats, right on the Nevada border. To the north lie the Leppy Hills, a range of rocky slopes that rise a couple thousand feet above the desert. Wendover Peak, the southern tip of the Leppy Hills stands prominently over the town. The salt flats extend for some 40 miles eastward from the city, an expanse of white earth. To the west the ground slopes upward toward the feet of the Toana Mountain Range, whose peaks reach above 8,000 feet. Outside the city, the land is very barren, with a sparse covering of saltbush and sagebrush and grasses that are usually brown and dry. Within the city, the scenery benefits from trees which have been planted by the residents.
Wendover got its name from "Wending over" the desert. It was established in 1906 as a stop on the Western Pacific Railroad. During World War II, the Wendover Army Air Field served as a training base for bomber pilots, including the crew of the fateful Enola Gay which was used to bomb Hiroshima. The base is mostly abandoned today, and historic markers record its use for visitors.
Sitting on the Nevada state line, Wendover has become a gambling stop for visitors from Utah (where gambling is illegal). Immediately across the state line, casinos were established years ago, and a satellite town named West Wendover has grown from there along the old alignment of U.S. Highway 40 (Wendover Boulevard). Moves have been made to combine the two cities into one by moving the state line to include the whole town in Nevada, but this has been opposed by the existing casinos who don't want any new competition located closer to their clientele.
Interstate 80 passes by Wendover on the north, replacing old highway 40, whose old alignment across the salt flats is now seriously deteriorated, but is an interesting historical route. An alternate route of U.S. Highway 93 extends from Lages Junction to Wendover, which leaves southwestward from the Nevada side of town.
The Leppy Hills are full of caves, especially on Wendover Peak, including Danger Cave. An area just northeast of Wendover has been designated as Danger Cave State Park, however, to the visitor, there is no indication that the park exists except that the caves are barred and locked up.
The famous Bonneville Speedway is also located just northeast of Wendover. Since the 1930s racers have used it to attempt new land speed records, which now have reached as high as 622 miles per hour.
Ancient Lake Bonneville once covered Wendover and the Salt Flats, and reached high up on the surrounding mountains. There are ‘benches", or level areas on the sides of the mountains where the old lakeshore was at different stages. Many of the nearby mountains once were islands.