Antelope Island, the largest island of the Great Salt Lake, is a state park known for its wildlife viewing opportunities. The island is particularly famous for its free-roaming herd of a few hundred bison.
The irony of Antelope Island is that it's named for its antelope, but is much more famous for its buffalo...and it doesn't have either one! The animals that were historically referred to as buffaloes are actually bison, a term that is now used in all official park educational materials and understood by most of the general public, but there are still folks who think of Antelope Island as "where the buffalo roam" and there are sites on the island named after the "buffalo". Meanwhile, the pronghorn "antelope" are, scientifically speaking, not a real species of antelope, and are unrelated to the true antelopes of the African savanna. Nevertheless, the names "pronghorn antelope" and even just "antelope" are widely used and understood as referring to the pronghorns.
Flora and fauna
Aside from the well-known pronghorns and bison, mule deer are the other commonly sighted big animal on the island, and you might get to see some bighorn sheep if you hike the mountain trails. Then there are a handful of carnivores and smaller species including coyotes, bobcats, and jackrabbits.
Yes it's an island, but the most common way to get there is still by car. A causeway connects the northern tip of the island to a major east/west street called Antelope Drive in northern Davis County. Antelope Drive crosses Interstate 15 at Exit 332, about 25 miles north of Salt Lake City and about 10 miles south of Ogden. There is no gasoline for sale on the island, so either know how much driving you plan to do on the island or just enter with a full tank to be safe.
Pedestrians and cyclists are allowed to use the causeway, but keep in mind that it's seven miles across in each direction.
The basic entrance fee for a day trip is $10 per vehicle. Large groups (more than eight people per vehicle) pay $3 per person as do pedestrians and cyclists. Campground reservations have different rates that include the entry fee. Bridger Bay Campground sites go for a minimum of $15, which covers one vehicle for one night and up to eight people; additional nights are $12 and you can bring a second vehicle for $13. The White Rock Bay campsites go for double those rates per night, but can fit up to 16 people and include a second vehicle entry for free, with third and fourth vehicles allowed at $13 each.
All entry fees are collected at the beginning of the causeway, before you start to cross the lake.
- 1 Antelope Island Visitor Center, ☎ . 9AM–5PM daily. Small museum with exhibits related to the history of the island, natural artifacts of both the island and the lake, a screening room, a 3D scale model of the whole island, informational handouts and a gift shop. Free.
- 2 Fielding Garr Ranch.
- R & G Horse and Wagon, 1537 E 2750 N Ogden (tours meet at Fielding Garr Ranch), ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Guided horseback rides to some of the most remote parts of the island. Multiple trails available, including Frary Peak and the southern tip. $50/person/hour.