Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt
Lake. It is reached via a 7.5 mile causeway. Though the
island's 28,022 acres appear barren and deserted, it is
home to bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes,
bobcats, upland game birds, and waterfowl. A visitor center,
which is open year-round, acquaints guests with the unique
geology, biology, and history of the island. More than
18 miles of trails are open to hiking, mountain biking,
and horseback riding. Activities include saltwater bathing,
bird watching, camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding,
picnicking, sunbathing, exploring historical sites, photography
and viewing wildlife in its natural habitat.
historic Fielding Garr-Ranch House is open seasonally
for tours and activities. Antelope Island also features
a beach with showers, restrooms, picnic shelters, group-use
pavilion, boat launching ramp, and marina. Antelope Island
is seven miles west of I-15 Exit #355 near Layton.
RV Length - 35 ft.
- 4200 ft
Sites - 13
Peak - 6597 ft
Fee - $7-12
Open - Year round
Camping - $1 per person,
Limit - 14 days
Units - 75
|| Fees - call 800-322-3770
Trailer Sites - 64
park also includes a visitor center, picnicking, group
pavilion, drinking water, modern rest rooms, vault toilets,
showers, waste disposal and concession service.
of the activities at the park include, boating, swimming,
hiking trails, biking, watchable wildlife, and winter
For updated information regarding facilities for the physically
challenged, contact the park.
Reservations may be made by calling Utah State Parks
and Recreation, 322-3770 in the Salt Lake City calling
area or toll-free 1-800-322-3770, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Monday through Friday. Individual campsite reservations
may be made from three days to 16 weeks in advance from
the date of departure. A $6 nonrefundable reservation
fee will be charged for each site reserved. A $10 nonrefundable
fee is charged for group sites and building rentals. An
additional reservation fee will be charged for any changes
to existing reservations. Visa, MasterCard and personal
checks are accepted. A $5 fee is charged for an extra
vehicle and is collected at the park.
Permits and Passes.
The Single Park Permit is $50 and allows the cardholder
and up to seven guests in the same private vehicle day-use
entrance into Antelope Island State Park. The permit
is valid for the current calendar year. The Five-Day Pass
is $15 and allows day-use entrance to most Utah state
parks for five consecutive days.
To reach Antelope Island, take I-15 to exit 335 (Syracuse/Freeport
Center). Travel west nine miles west on Antelope Drive to
the entrance gate.
Island State Park
4528 West 1700 South
Syracuse, Utah 84075-6868
ANTELOPE ISLAND. Perhaps the most alluring
feature of Antelope Island is its unique array of wildlife.
The island is most famous for its large bison population.
The herd fluctuates between 550 and 700, making it one
of the largest publicly owned bison herds in the nation.
The Antelope Island bison herd is also recognized as one
of the oldest in the country and possesses unique genetic
characteristics making it of interest to breeders.
Prior to European settlement, biologists estimate between
50 to 60 million bison roamed the continent. By the 1890s,
the population had been decimated, and it is believed
only 800 remained. Conservationists, faced with the eminent
extinction of bison, began to take steps to save the species.
Two Utahns, William Glassman and John Dooly, were instrumental
in this effort. They brought bison to Antelope Island
in 1893. The bison herd is managed to maintain a stock
population of 550. The bison calve primarily from March
through May, and new calves balloon the population to
more than 700. Studies indicate that this is near the
maximum population of bison that the island can support
without overgrazing the grasslands. Careful management
allows a large herd to thrive while maintaining forage
and nesting cover for other wildlife species.
The bison roundup, which occurs the end of October, is
one of the great fall spectacles of northern Utah. The
bison are driven to corrals on the north end of the island
by a combination of volunteer horsemen and helicopters.
Here they are allowed to rest for four days before being
worked through the corrals, vaccinated and checked for
general health the first week in November. The excess
animals are sold at auction and a small number designated
for the annual bison hunt conducted by the Division of
Wildlife Resources in December. Other mammals found on
the island include, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, coyotes,
bobcats, badgers, porcupines, jackrabbits and several
species of rodents.
Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake attract numerous
migrating and nesting birds. Along the shoreline avocets,
black-necked stilts, willets and sanderlings can be observed.
The island grasslands provide habitat for long-billed
curlews, burrowing owls, chuckars and several species
of raptors. The Great Salt Lake attracts incredible numbers
of eared grebes, Wilson's phalaropes and California gulls.
The Great Salt Lake is one of the most important
natural features in in the country for migrating birds.
The birds are drawn here to take advantage of the large
number of brine flies and brine shrimp associated with
the lake. One of the most interesting sights on the island
is to watch these beautiful birds gorge on brine flies
along the shore. The combination of abundant large mammals
located alongside of rich salt marshes provides Antelope
Island with a truly unique blend of wildlife.
PRONGHORN RETURN TO ANTELOPE
ISLAND. In 1845 John C. Fremont and Kit Carson
made the first European exploration of Antelope Island.
They shot two antelope and Fremont wrote "in grateful
supply of the meat they furnished, I gave their name to
the island." By the 1930's the island's namesake had disappeared
from Antelope Island. In 1993 a cooperative effort between
the Utah divisions of Wildlife Resources and the State
Parks and Recreation resulted in the reintroduction of
24 pronghorn antelope. By the 1995 fawning season the
population had nearly doubled in size. It is hoped that
predation from coyotes, bobcats, and eagles will act as
population control for the pronghorn on the island. Long
term research by Weber State University monitors the population,
helps determine critical habitat and studies behavioral
traits of the species.
ANTELOPE ISLAND HISTORY. John
C. Fremont and Kit Carson made the first known visit by
people of European descent to Antelope Island in 1845.
They killed several antelope on the island thus giving
Antelope Island its name.
Garr established permanent residency on the island in
1848. He not only tended his own herds, but those of other
stockmen as well. In 1849 Brigham Young asked Garr to
manage the LDS Church's Tithing Herd, which was kept on
the island until 1871. The Tithing Herd was utilized by
the Perpetual Emigration Fund which was established to
help needy Mormon converts immigrate to Utah. Recipients
would reimburse the fund when circumstances would allow
them to do so. Reimbursement was made in the form of livestock,
which was considered better than cash. During this time
the LDS Church also invested thousands of dollars in valuable
stallions and brood mares which were turned loose on the
Antelope Island was used as a base camp for a government
funded survey of the Great Salt Lake by Captain Howard
Stansbury during the years of 1849-50. During the 1870's
several private homesteads were established, with George
and Alice Frary staying the longest. Alice requested to
be buried on her island home, and a marker stands to commemorate
her grave site.
On February 15, 1893 , twelve head of bison were transported
to Antelope Island. John Dooly and George Frary loaded
the bison into a small sailboat and nearly capsized as
they sailed to the island. The Island Improvement Company
owned most of the island from 1884 through 1972. Cattle
and sheep were the company's primary ranching commodity,
although buffalo and horses were always on the island.
In the 1930's , Antelope Island was the largest private
sheep sheering operation west of the Mississippi. Recognizing
the recreation potential of the island, the north 2,000
acres were acquired by the state in 1969. In 1981 the
state purchased most of the rest of the island thus preserving
it as a state park for all the people to enjoy.
Our trails are designed to be equally enjoyable for both
the beginner and expert trail rider. You can look forward
to spectacular views of the Great Salt Lake and surrounding
areas. The trails also offer excellent opportunities to
view the island's wildlife. The backcountry trail currently
consists of 16 miles of double track traveling south from
White Rock Bay. The heart of the trail is the 9.2 mile
White Rock Bay loop. One of the three spurs off the loop
travels to Beacon Knob, which is the highest point on
the trail towering 800 feet above the Great Salt Lake.
Rock Bay is another spur and consists of a short climb
and dramatic descent to a pristine white sandy beach.
The Elephant Head spur leads to a dramatic overlook. Three
shorter trails exist on the north end of the island. The
longest is the Lakeside Trail at three miles one way.
The trail follows the shoreline around Buffalo point and
connects White Rock Bay to Bridger Bay.
The Buffalo Point Trail is extremely popular and consists
of a .5 mile hike ascending 300 feet from the Buffalo
Point overlook/parking area. The visitor is greeted with
a fantastic 360 degree view on the northern point of the
The Ladyfinger Point Trail is a .25 mile long hike winding
across a rocky point to overlook both Egg Island and Bridger
Bay. All three of these scenic trails offer excellent
opportunities to view the wildlife and geology of Antelope
Utah State Parks and Recreation has established a number
of guidelines designed to protect the island's wildlife
and unique resources, yet still allow trail access. Please
help us protect the island by observing all guidelines.
A volunteer trail patrol has been organized for the safety
of trail users and to help us protect the islands backcountry.
If you are interested in becoming part of this effort,
please contact a ranger.