Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park can be found on Antelope Island, as the name would imply. This is the largest of the Great Salt Lake islands, and for those who find themselves in the Salt Lake City area, it can be an ideal day trip or place to escape to for a few different reasons. For starters, the recreational opportunities are numerous, and thanks to the abundance of Antelope Island wildlife, the wildlife viewing opportunities are also plentiful. This 28,022-acre park is also home to the historic Fielding Garr Ranch, including a home on the premises built in 1848 under funding by the Mormon Church.

The island is known for many things, but among these things is a herd of bison. What started as a group of twelve bison purchased by one of the owners of the Ranch has grown to a herd of about 600. In present times, at the end of October, an annual bison roundup takes place, and it serves a variety of purposes. It is one of the most popular Salt Lake City events, attracting visitors from all over the world. In addition to getting a good look at the bison, those who choose to enjoy the November bison roundup at Antelope Island State Park can also get insight into how a buffalo ranch works.

Antelope Island wildlife isn't limited to bison. Other creatures that call the island home include Pronghorn antelope, deer, jackrabbits, coyotes, bighorn sheep, bobcats, and a variety of rodent species. Adding to the Antelope Island wildlife spectrum are a number of bird species, including owls, curlews, raptors, eared grebes, and chuckars. Antelope Island is one of the country's top destinations for migrating birds, so you won't want to forget your binoculars if are a bird enthusiast.

Other recreational pursuits that can be enjoyed on an Antelope Island State Park visit include hiking, sailing, and bicycling. Picnicking is also popular, and an Antelope Island kayak rental is worth considering if you prefer a kayak to a sailboat when it comes to getting out on water.

Antelope Island State Park is home to a relatively healthy number of hiking trails, and since the island features mountainous and hilly terrain, intermediate and advanced hikers will have little trouble finding challenging routes. As for those who are interested in an Antelope Island kayak rental, the park features a marina where both sailboats and kayaks can be rented. Rounding out the park's facilities are beaches, a beach picnic area, primitive camping areas with little more than vault toilets, public showers, various concessionaires, and a restaurant. The beaches here are not exactly your traditional swimming beaches as they are situated on the Great Salt Lake. The water is filled with tiny brine shrimp, but you can wade in or even swim if you'd like (the shrimp won't hurt you and you can't feel them around you). Due to the highly salty water, you may be a bit more buoyant than you are used to!

Antelope Island State Park is open year round, and while there are fees to enter the park, they are reasonable. Additional camping fees apply should you wish to stay overnight, and they are reasonable as well. As for getting to the island and the park itself, you can take a boat, a bicycle, or a car. There is a causeway that extends west from the Layton, Utah area should you be planning on arriving by way of bicycle or car.

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