Antelope Island, Utah
On a recent visit to Utah, the Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island State Park were two of our must-see places. The first thing we learned is that Antelope Island is about an hour drive or 41 miles north of Salt Lake City. Most importantly, there is only one road in and out of the island so getting there was a little more difficult than we expected.
From Salt Lake City, we drove north on Interstate 15 and then took Exit 322 and headed west on Antelope Drive. The view of the Great Salt Lake accompanied the sulfur smell of the lake’s dense salt-laden air. It hit out noses with an odor that was several times more pungent than an ocean breeze.
Mesmerized by our surroundings, we stopped to take photos before we even approached the Antelope Island Visitor Center. At the center, we paid the $10 entrance fee that includes a vehicle with up to eight passengers.
From Antelope Island, we dazzled in the snow-peaked Wasatch Mountains topped by puffy clouds that floated in indigo. Not only was the backdrop extraordinary, but the scenery that reflected in the Great Salt Lake created a double-duty effect. The setting of the Great Salt Lake is magnificently beautiful, plus the lake surrounds Antelope Island where there is plenty to see and do.
Antelope Island is the largest of the Great Salt Lake islands. It comprises 28,000 acres with 36 miles of trails that twist through the hills and flatlands. The island is an excellent place to exercise. You can hike or bike, or you can take a trail ride on horseback. Another option is to see the island by car.
Antelope Island Wildlife
If you enjoy wildlife, you won’t be disappointed. You can find a wide range of birds and mammals on the island. You may see shorebirds, game birds, owls, hawks, magpies, larks and more.
Other wildlife inhabitants on Antelope Island include American bison, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, California bighorn sheep, coyotes, bobcats, owls, and lizards. Be aware that the state park posts warnings about the wild animals. Since animals are unpredictable and may attack, you should watch them from afar.
Antelope Island Camping
Antelope Island State Park offers campsites for tents and RV’s. Though I’m not a camper, the lakeside parks appear to be a camper’s dream. Can you imagine waking up surrounded by the mountain and lake scenery while the deep roasted aroma of your freshly brewed coffee wafts through the air?
Moreover, it seems challenging to find a better venue to fire up your grill and dine, while the sun turns the lake into a collage of red, yellow, and orange before it drops.
Great Salt Lake
Some label Antelope Island a desert in the middle of an ocean. Though calling the Great Salt Lake an ocean is a stretch, it’s large and extends 75 miles in length and is 35 miles wide. Furthermore, two hundred miles of shoreline circle the lake.
The average depth is 14 feet, and 34 feet is the maximum drop. With plenty of space and enough depth, it’s the perfect venue to kayak, sail, canoe, paddleboard, pedal boat, and swim. Additionally, Antelope Island offers a marina for sailboats, powerboats, and kayaks.
Antelope Island Activities
With an expansive shoreline, Antelope Island offers beaches where you can sunbathe and swim. The Great Salt Lake is five times saltier than the ocean, making it the perfect environment to float. If you take a swim, you should be aware that when your clothes dry they will feel stiff from the salt. Therefore, you should make a point to wash them in fresh water.
The salt affects marine life too. It’s difficult for most species of marine life to survive in the Great Salt Lake, but it’s the ideal environment for algae and brine shrimp.
In addition to taking advantage of the lake activities, there are other things that you can do on Antelope Island. You can tour the historic Fielding Garr Ranch that was built in 1848 and was privately owned until the 1960’s. You can also buy a trail ride package and experience the island from horseback. Moreover, the island has a restaurant, Island Buffalo Grill, where you can grab a burger, hot dog, or sandwich.
Great Salt Lake State Park
Another option to Antelope Island is the Great Salt Lake State Park. If you love watersports and boating, you can find plenty to do at the marina on the south side of the lake. They offer sunset dinner cruises, sailboat charters and lessons, kayaks, paddleboards, pedal boats, and more.
Antelope Island Campground
Tent and RV campsites include Bridger Bay Campground, White Rock Bay Campground, Lakeside Group Campsite, and Ladyfinger Campground. Reservations are strongly recommended and must be made at least two days in advance. Additionally, modern restrooms and shower facilities are available.
Antelope Island Hours
Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and closed Thanksgiving and Christmas
Antelope Island Visitors Tips
- Bring bug repellent
- Dogs must be contained on a six-foot leash or less
- Campsite Reservation Phone: (801) 322-3770
As mentioned above, between the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island, and the Great Salt Lake State Park, there is something for everyone. You can relax with a book or choose from the many activities. Worse case scenario, you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery and camaraderie.