A lake on the Esthar continent. What used to be a beautiful lake is now a barren field. It's speculated that Esthar's experiments led to the lake's destruction.FFVIII Info Corner
Its name is sometimes confused with "The Salt Flats", which is the title for the location's music.
The region used to be home to the eponymous Great Salt Lake, but experiments conducted by the nearby country of Esthar destroyed all life, leaving behind large exposed fossils, including the undead bones of Abadon. During Laguna's time he used a picture of the lake in its natural state in one of his Timber Maniacs articles. However, during the time Squall's party passes through the area, the lake is dried up and the city looming in the horizon has vanished.
Squall, carrying the unconscious Rinoa on his back, passes through the Great Salt Lake accompanied by Zell, Selphie, Edea, Quistis, and Irvine on their trip to Esthar to find a way to cure Rinoa and for Edea to meet Dr. Odine. After defeating the undead boss, Squall and the party arrive at a dead end; a cliff overlooking an endless landscape of salt.
When they try to find a way down, the party notices a strange flicker at one end of the cliff. Touching the flicker, a ladder appears out of thin air, leading to a dark chamber. Without hesitation, the party climbs up the ladder into a chamber filled with hexagon panels, learning it is part of Esthar's Optical Camouflage System (OCS) used to hide the entire city from outside view.
Located just west of Esthar City, the Great Salt Lake is on the western side of Esthar's camouflage wall that hides the city from the outside world. As the name implies, it is a wide lake made of salt found in between two mountains on the Esthar continent.
A station on the Esthar side of Horizon Bridge. It is currently abandoned.FFVIII Info Corner
Seaside Station is an abandoned train station at the end of the Horizon Bridge, just a few miles from the Great Salt Lake. This is where Squall takes Rinoa, and later meets up with the party and Edea, before journeying to the Great Salt Lake. If the player returns here after they have the Ragnarok, they find a lone man here who talks about the "sunset" messing with his sleep schedule.
The salt flats are a lifeless landscape ridden with dinosaur fossils. It is made of four screens: the first is a screen upwards through salt plateaus, the second is a path to the right in between heaps of bones, while the left is a bending path upwards along the side of plateaus, with a large dinosaur skull on the left. At the end of this is the fourth screen, with a path left to the canyon, and the path right to a dead end.
The canyon splitting the salt lake has large dinosaur bones on the side of the cliffs. In it, the monster Abadon hides in the depths of the old lake to challenge those who try to cross its flats. After following along the side of the canyon to the end, a dead end is reached.
There are several dead ends near the end of the salt lake. The first is found after taking a path to the right, opposite the path to the canyon, and leads to a cliff with a hidden save point at the top. The second is found at the end of the canyon. Along this, Squall will see a flicker resembling a vague radio transmission; examining it reveals a hidden ladder to Esthar City.
After visiting the Great Salt Lake's interior once, it becomes a standard area on the world map, where enemies are fought. The following enemies are fought here before the Lunar Cry:
After the Lunar Cry, the following enemies are fought on the world map:
"The Salt Flats" is the area's theme music.
Behind the scenes
The lake version of the location background only appears in a Timber Maniacs magazine viewable from Sir Laguna's Page.
The Great Salt Lake is named after the same landmark from Utah.