Antelope Island State Park

We couldn’t visit Salt Lake City without seeing the Great Salt Lake. We decided to make a day trip out to Antelope Island State Park. The park has miles of hiking, camping, and beaches on the lake as well as a historic ranch. There are also plenty of opportunities for birdwatching and spotting wildlife.

We drove to the park and paid the admission fee at the tollbooth at the beginning of the causeway leading to the island. Admission as of October 2016 is US$10 per carload.

 

Lady Finger Point

When we arrived at Antelope Island, we passed the small marina and headed for Lady Finger Point. There’s an easy ¼ mile trail (one way) where you can get great views of the lake and Bridger Bay.

Lady Finger Point Trail at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Lady Finger Point Trail

View from Lady Finger Point at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

View from Lady Finger Point

View of Bridger Bay from Lady Finger Point at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

View of Bridger Bay from Lady Finger Point

 

Visitor Center

Next, we went to the visitor center to learn more about the park. There were interesting displays on the wildlife and the history of the lake as well as a short film. The film was overly dramatic and turned us off a bit. Outside of the building are a few sculptures.

Visitor center at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Visitor center

Visitor center at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Visitor center

Bison sculpture at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Bison sculpture

 

Bridger Bay

From there, we drove to Bridger Bay to dip our feet in the lake. We parked the car, walked down a soft sandy beach, and then had to walk quite a long way on a harder surface to the edge of the water. The water was comfortable but the smell was horrible (probably due to the hundreds of birds floating nearby). I couldn’t wait to get back to the parking lot.

Bridger Bay at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Bridger Bay

Bridger Bay at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Bridger Bay

The Great Salt Lake is too salty to support fish, but brine shrimp thrive in the waters. These shrimp support several different species of migrating birds.

Bridger Bay at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Bridger Bay

We had a quick picnic and rested a while at Bridger Bay. We noticed a restaurant called Island Buffalo Grill located in the next parking lot. It serves real buffalo burgers and is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

 

Buffalo Point

After lunch, we went to Buffalo Point, which overlooks White Rock Bay. There’s also a short but steep ½ mile one way trail there which we decided not to do.

View of White Rock Bay from Buffalo Point at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

View of White Rock Bay from Buffalo Point

Buffalo Point at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Buffalo Point

 

Bison Crossing

Next was a scenic drive to the southern half of the island. On the way, we were surprised by a herd of bison crossing the road. It was incredible how the adult bison blocked the road and waited for the calves to cross first.

Bison crossing the road at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Bison crossing the road

Bison crossing the road at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Bison crossing the road

Bison at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

A herd of Bison

 

Fielding Garr Ranch

Our last stop on the island was the Fielding Garr Ranch. The story of the ranch is equally as interesting as the nature on the island. It was built in 1848 by the LDS Church for their herds of sheep and cattle. The church sent Fielding Garr, a War of 1812 veteran who was born in Culpepper, Virginia, in 1794, to manage the ranch. Garr joined the LDS Church in 1842 and made the journey to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. The ranch is the oldest remaining Anglo settlement in Utah and was in use until 1981. It was once one of the largest sheep ranches in the country.

Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Fielding Garr Ranch

Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Horses on the Fielding Garr Ranch

Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Fielding Garr Ranch

The ranch had a few buildings open to visitors and lots of antique farming equipment on display. We started with a mercantile building where we examined some of this equipment.

Mercantile at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Mercantile

Mercantile at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Inside the Mercantile

Mercantile at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Mercantile

Next, we visited the large barn followed by the blacksmith’s workshop.

Barn at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Barn

Barn at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Inside the barn

Barn at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Inside the barn

Blacksmith's workshop at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Blacksmith’s workshop

The last part of the ranch we visited was the living quarters. The Garr family home was filled with authentic furniture and decorations.

Garr home at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Garr home

Garr home at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Living room of the Garr home

Garr home at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Dining room of the Garr home

Garr home at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Kitchen of the Garr home

The rooms where the ranch hands lived were much simpler and a bit less comfortable.

Ranch hand's room at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Ranch hand’s room

Ranch hand's room at Fielding Garr Ranch at Antelope Island State Park in Utah

Ranch hand’s room

 

Conclusion

Antelope Island State Park is a wonderful opportunity to get close to the Great Salt Lake and see firsthand the fantastic scenery and abundant wildlife that many wouldn’t expect to see in such a salty place.

2 thoughts on “Antelope Island State Park

  1. adventuresoffiveblog

    Antelope Island looks amazing! We’ve visited the National Parks and SLC but have never stopped at Antelope Island. After reading your post, I’m definitely putting it on the list for this summer. Never realized how much wildlife and hiking is available there–looks like a wonderful stop!

    1. nomadicniko

      Yes, it’s worth a day or 2! We didn’t know about it until we got SLC and wish we had found it earlier. We definitely would’ve camped there for a night and hiked on a couple of the longer trails.

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