We took a late afternoon trip to Antelope Island in Utah. This island is located west of Syracuse, Utah. The island is 28,022 acres. You can hike the length of the island, but can only drive part of it. The island is most enjoyable in the late spring/early summer and early fall.
Driving on to the island
This past winter was really mild. We are in a drought and the lake shows it. The waters are really low. Sometimes, when you go out to Antelope Island, there is water on both sides of the road. Other times, it is very swampy. However, this year it is mostly dry. The water is quite a ways away from the road. There’s a little more water on one side than on the other.
The north side of the road has a lot less water and looks like salty flats.
You can’t drive all the way around the island, but you can see a great deal of it by driving in your car. Make sure you stop at pull outs and view points. Those are often the areas where the animals can be seen.
Hiking on Antelope Island
There are lots of places to hike on Antelope Island. When you pay your entrance fee the attendant will give you a map of the island showing where the trails are and the biggest pull out areas. Several areas have trails that will take you down to the water.
It is really hot! This is the desert and there isn’t a lot of shade. Make sure you have plenty of water and sports drinks to keep hydrated and your electrolytes up.
Stay on the path
I highly recommend staying on the paths. There is a lot of wildlife on Antelope Island and you don’t want to put yourself in danger. The island is covered in sage brush. (Watch out for ticks.) One thing we have never noticed when visiting the island were the spiders. We weren’t expecting to see so many spiders!!!
We stopped to take some pictures of birds skimming the water when we noticed all the spiders!!! Yikes! From the car, me and the girls were counting the spiders we could see. We counted over 20! Then, my husband’s shadow went across the sage brush and the whole thing moved! There were thousands of spiders!
We were in the car screaming and pretty freaked out by how many spiders there were. There was a woman across the street who came running over to see what all the commotion was. She quickly decided to stay on the other side of the road.
The first spiders we found were in the window of the gift shop.
Down to the water
If you are adventurous you can swim in the Great Salt Lake. Many of the areas that lead down to the water, have restrooms and showers.
We were really worn out after trudging across the sand in the heat. Make sure you take your water with you, so you stay hydrated.
There is a lot of sand to trudge through to get to the water. Especially right now with the drought.
The sand has rocks through it in many places, so be careful as you go.
As you get to where the water has receded, because of the drought, the sand is packed pretty hard.
Along the water are brine flies. They don’t fly far off of the ground. They are kind of annoying. Here you can see them. They are dark along the water. Water shoes are nice to have for playing around and in the water.
Antelope Island Wildlife
There’s all kinds of wildlife to be seen on Antelope Island. Deer, bobcat, coyote, bison (buffalo), birds and waterfowl are the animals that make Antelope Island their home. The buffalo on the island are actually bison. We have always called them buffalo, who knew there was a difference?
There are many birds that make Antelope Island their home. For the most part, you will find them close to the water or on the water.
On Antelope Island there are approximately 600 American Bison that wander the island. This was the first time we had a hard time finding where they were. Occasionally, you will see one or two off by themselves. Just before we got the photo, of the lone buffalo, he was rolling in the dirt. It was really something to see.
In the fall, there is a a “Buffalo Round Up”.
Deer, coyote, and more.
More adventure to be found on Antelope Island
There are a lot of things you can do on Antelope Island. There are opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping and swimming.
People find the Great Salt Lake amazing, as it has more salt than the ocean and you can kind of float on the water. There is also a gift shop and Visitor Center. We visited in July and the Visitor Center closed at 6:00 p.m. So, be aware of the times the visitor center is open. From their site it looks like it closes at 6:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. depending on time of year you visit. It opens at 9:00 a.m. all year round.
Many people like to bike around the island. There aren’t biking lanes, so you have to share roads and trails with cars and people. I don’t know if there are specific rules for biking/mountain biking on the island. If this is something you are interested I recommend calling ahead and asking questions. There aren’t bikes to rent so you need to bring them with you.
Boating/Kayak and Paddleboards
There is a marina, but we didn’t see any boats. Like I said, the lake is really low. This isn’t a good place to get out onto the water with a boat when there is a drought. There are other places around the lake that are still accessible and good for boating. The rental site also offers a sunset dinner cruise. (Availability varies)
Other things like kayaks and paddle boards are great even when the lake is low.
Rentals are based on availability and lake levels.
On the East side of the island is the Fielding Garr Ranch. Here you can rent horses to ride on the island. You need to make reservations in advance and there are a few rules to follow. The cost begins at $55 per person for a one hour ride.
There are a few areas for camping in tents or RV. However, there are no hookups. Reservations for campsites.
There is one place you can get food, the Island Buffalo Grill. It is open from March 1- November 1. The park closes at 10 p.m. in the summer time, but I think the concessions close much earlier. Check out their menu.
If you are gluten free this isn’t a very good/safe place to eat. We take our own food in a cooler and then get something more substantial in Syracuse, Layton or Bountiful. We often use the app: findmeglutenfree to help us decide where we want to eat.
Some of our favorites nearby are: Costa Vida, Red Robin, and Joy Luck.