hiking island state park utah usa randonnee grand lac sale in nature

Let’s discover today Antelope Island State Park in Utah (USA), located 40 miles north of salt lake City.

With its 15 miles long, it is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. But it is not for its length that this island is so attractive. It is a unique site for nature enthusiasts, wildlife viewers, geologists, amateur photographers…). It is a place of a striking beauty, away from the crowd.

Enjoy the scenary!

Antelope Island State Park – Frary Peak Trail

1. Island State Park and Great Salt Lake
2. Encounter with a discreet animal, the badger
3. A bison may hide another one
4. Climbing of Dooley Knob Spur
5. Stunning view on Great Salt Lake
6. Practical Information

Access directly to Antelope island state park map

1. Discover Antelope Island State Park and Great Salt Lake

We have just left Grand Teton National Park, magnificent wild environment where we have spent a few days to hike. Now, being in the capital of Utah, we have decided to discover Great Salt Lake, a remnant of a prehistoric lake. The best way to discover this vast area of salty waters is to visit Antelope Island State Park.

Desiring to make the most of this completely protected environment, we leave early in the morning to get there. From Salt Lake City, the island can only be reached through Antelope Drive (6 miles) that overlooks the banks of the Great Salt Lake. On the way, we are already subjugated by the scenic beauty. A subdued light is scattered by the bright sandbanks of the lake. The shadows are so soft that the shores of Antelope Island become fused with their own reflection on the salty waters.

View on the Great Salt Lake and Antelope island State park

View on the Great Salt Lake from Salt Lake City

2. Encounter with a discreet animal, the badger

We pull off the road to admire this incredible landscape. Suddenly, a visitor is coming to us. “I have just seen a badger sneaking around the big pebbles on the shore of Great Salt Lake. This animal is very rare and difficult to see,” he tells us.

We make a careful observation of the surroundings. Suddenly, we have a glimpse of an animal with brown fur, 35 inches long, running near us. It is obviously in search of food. No sooner did we took a quick picture that the discreet animal had disappeared behind the rocks bordering the lake.

This is the first time we have seen a badger!

a badger is seen on the Great salt lake banks

Antelope Island State Park – a badger

3. A bison may hide another one …

After the park entrance, we take the unique road along the east coast of Antelope Island State Park. On the way, we meet its main residents, antelopes, bighorn sheeps and bisons which are grazing without paying attention to the few visitors. We are surprised to see as many of them, in a larger number compared to those we’ve observed in Yellowstone National Park. In fact, Antelope Island State Park is home to the largest herd of bisons in Utah. Given their number (about 600), on a small surface like the island, we can’t miss them!

Forget your fishing dreams in Great Salt Lake! The water is so saline (5 times more than the ocean) that no species of fishes can live there. On the other hand, the serenity of the place makes it a paradise for migratory birds, especially pelicans, gulls, …

bisons grazing on the park

By Original uploader was Juozas Rimas at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia, CC BY 2.5

4. Climbing of Dooley Knob Spur

Let us climb to higher altitude to enjoy the splendor of Great Salt Lake!

 frary peak trail

Frary Peak Trail description

Antelope Island State Park offers numerous trails of varying length and difficulty. We choose Frary Peak Trail which, 4 miles from the park entrance, leads to the top of the mountain. The 360 degree view on Salt Lake is enthralling! We realise, as we are climbing, how this site is exceptional. At about 0,6 miles from the starting point, the trail parts in two, one path to the left leads to Frary Peak and the path on the right to Dooley Knob Spur.

hiking on Antelope island state park

Observing the wildlife on top of Dooley Knob Spur

5. Stunning view on Great Salt Lake

We take the path to our right and reach the top of Dooley Knob Spur. The landscape is simply striking. The ocher colors of the vegetation contrast with the emerald green tints of the salty waters of Great Salt Lake. Small golden wild flowers cheer up the slopes of the mountain.
Although the tourist season is not over (we are in September), Antelope island is merely frequented. We feel a profound sense of well-being and peace of mind.

view on Great Salt Lake on top of Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Antelope Island State Park – wild flowers

We spend the rest of the day hiking, strolling along the sandy beaches and admiring the island and lake’s beauties.

Late in the afternoon, we leave Antelope Island State Park, a timeless heaven of peace.

Are you ready to hike on Antelope Island?

Antelope island state park map – Trails map

Click on the map to enlarge :

antelope island map trails

Where is it?

Near Salt Lake City. Due to the extent of the city, it needs about 45 minutes to cross it.

Where to sleep around Salt lake City?

There are lots of hotels in Salt Lake City and around. We spent the night at Sleep Inn in Ogden. A very comfortable and affordable place compared to the hotels in Salt Lake City.
4 primitive campgrounds”: Bridger Bay Campgound, White Rock Bay Campground, Lakeside Campsite, Ladyfinger Campground.

What to do and what to see on Antelope island?

There is so much to do! Hiking, horse-riding, bird watching, …and the park offers educational programs.

Other advice?

During warm months, Biting gnats are present on the island. The park recommend to take fine-mesh head nets. Mosquitoes are also present. Being on the island in September, we had not noticed such insects.

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