Salt Lake City
<map lat='40.7614' lng='-111.889' zoom='9' view='3' float='right' /> Salt Lake City To differentiate yourself from a tourist, refer to Salt Lake City as "Salt Lake" (without "City") Salt Lake City is the capital and the largest city in Utah. The city itself boasts a meager population at 186,440 but has 1.1 million in the metropolitan area which is part of the larger Wasatch Front, home to 2.2 million. It lies on the Wasatch Mountain Range, at the edge of the Rockies. Salt Lake City, "Crossroads of the West", has always been a transient city and remains transient in modern times. Home to the world's largest population of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), Salt Lake City can be conservative at times so when hitching in, out, or just through, be aware of your appearance if you want to open yourself up to rides from a broader population.
Although cold in the winter, one can find a place to sleep in the mountains, all but a thirty minute walk outside of town. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings there is a Food Not Bombs () pick up in Richmond Park at 11am for free food. It is also possible to ride in the black on Salt Lake City's commuter rail but be careful, the fine is $150, otherwise the ticket price depends on distance (up to about $9.50) for Ogden, Utah.
At the south end of the TRAX line, the last stop is called Sandy Civic. Nearby is a shopping mall. Next to the REI is a wooded creek area that is great for stealth camping. On the other side of 106th from the mall are 3 or 4 hotels that serve breakfast. Dress to impress and enjoy a free meal and internet access.
There is a really nice public library in SLC. Free internet, bathrooms, etc. 4th South and 3rd East.
Don't waste your time trying to hitch out of the city. Take public transit as far as possible before thumbing it. Pretty cheap to get north to Ogden, south to Provo. Many hotels have free airport shuttles. Play it cool and pretend you're a hotel guest. The airport is right on I-80 if you're looking to head east/west.
There are a few big truck stops at Lakepoint junction about 10 miles west fo Salt Lake. You can reach it by public bus from the city. Its ether 451 or 453 (towards Tooele), or another 454 (to Grantsville). You can take them on North Temple street, just north of the temple square in Salt lake downtown. Its a normal ~2$ bus fare. Note that there are only a few buses a day, one yearly in the morning and several in the afternoon, so you have to organize yourself. When at the truck stops you can try to ask around or make a sign going "west". The spot is not perfect as most of trafic going towards the city, but you might get lucky and someone going the other way will notice you (it took me 4 hours waiting to get a ride to Nevada)
South towards Saint George and Las Vegas
There is a Flying J in downtown Salt Lake if you can find it, but a lot of this traffic is going East/West on I-80, so consider catching a few local rides from the city down past Provo to the Flying J at Utah highway 75 exit. This is a good place to wait for a long distance ride to the Grand Canyon or Las Vegas area.