Antelope Island, the biggest island of the Great Salt Lake, is a park known for its wildlife tourism. The island is especially famous for its free-roaming animals.
The Great Salt Lake is the biggest lake west of the Great Lakes, but it’s hard to say precisely how big it is, as its size varies. The best place to enjoy the lake (and see the birds) is at Antelope Island State Park. Birds, White-sand beaches and buffalos attract people to this 15-mile-long park.
Wait, did I say buffalo. My bad. The irony of Antelope Island is that it’s called an antelope, but is much more popular for its buffalo and it doesn’t have either one! The animals referred to as buffaloes previously are actually bisons, a term that is now used in all official park educational materials.
How to Reach Antelope Island?
The most popular way to get there is by car. A highway connects the northern tip of the island to a major street called Antelope Drive in north Davis County. Antelope Drive intersects Interstate 15 at 332 Exit, about 24 miles north of Salt Lake City and about 12 miles south of Ogden. There is no gasoline available on the isle, so either know how much driving you plan to do on the island or visit with a full tank. Remember, the entrance fee for a daytime trip is $10 per vehicle.
Things to know before visiting Antelope
- During summers, insects are omnipresent. Please don’t mess with their habitat.
- Bison are strong and should never be disturbed.
- You can float in the Great Salt Lake, but it is way more saltier than the other water bodies, so rinse off and re-hydrate your skin on regular basis.
Things to do in Antelope
Wildlife Watching in Antelope: Antelope is home to a 600-strong herd of bison. The fall roundup for veterinary exams is a magnificent spectacle. Also making their year-round home here, are raptors, burrowing owls, deer and bighorn sheep. Moving on to tinier species, you may find a porcupine, badger, squirrel, or rabbit. A few carnivores like bobcats and coyotes complete the ecosystem in Antelope. There are certain restrictions during mating season, but overall you can find spectacular herbivores in their natural environment- chilling, lazing, eating, and gazing.
Hiking: There are around 20 miles of trails here Antelope Island hikes range from a piece of cake to somewhat challenging. Easy or hard, every path I explored offered terrific views of the Great Salt Lake or the Wasatch Mountains. If you are traveling with your children, Lady Finger Point Trail is excellent. It is a mile round trip loop with only an eight-foot altitude difference. For adventure seekers, Lakeside Trail is an outstanding trail with 6 miles round-trip that is accessible year long. Pet lovers, rejoice. Dogs are allowed on Antelope Island and the hiking tracks.
Biking: You can jump on an electric bike and traverse the island in a fun and unique way. Rent a bike and go where the adventure takes you.
Bird Watching: With an excess of delightful brine shrimp, the Great Lake draws a wide assortment of nesting and migrating birds. Along the shores, watch for Canada geese and Ibis on the island along with pheasants, red-winged blackbirds. Peregrine falcons, Bald eagles and horned owls are some of the other hundred species you might find on Antelope. Please don’t feed the birds and do give them space.