Weekend Backpacker: Salt Lake City
Surrounded by the water of Utah's famous Great Salt Lake, Antelope Islandoffers about 30 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. At about15 miles long by 5 miles wide, it is the largest of the lake's ten islands.
The island was named for its large pronghorn population, which was wipedout by hunters in the 1870s. Today bison, bighorn sheep, deer, buffalo,bobcat, and the restored antelope roam the island.
The high desert ecosystem on Antelope means no trees, but there is anabundance of tall grass and grange land that provide food for wildlife. Theisland's beaches are known for their rare oolitic sand, a fine, soft, whitesand that is a by-product of the brine shrimp that inhabit the lake.
Most of the island is closed to cars; old ranch roads mostly serve as hiking trails. Check in with the rangers before heading out to find out about current trail conditions. After your hike, cool off in the lake, where you'll findyourself floating more easily than usual (the high salinity increases buoyancy).
Camp at the Bridger Bay Campground and take day trips:
For an easy hike, take the three-mile Lakeside Trail along the beach atthe northwestern tip of the island. This is where the park's five group campsites are located.
White Rock Bay is a 9.2-mile, easy-to-moderate loop trail that gets you close to the island's animals.
The more difficult Frary Peak trail was just opened in 2000. This four-mile trail features a steep, strenuous climb to 6,700 feet in the center of the island. From here you can get a panoramic view of the park.
Twenty-six designated campsites at Bridger Bay campground and five groupsites at White Rock Bay are available for $10 per night. Open campfires arenot permitted during the dry season (May through October). Call ahead for reservations.
Located between Salt Lake City and Ogden. Take I-15 to exit 335, go six and a half miles west to the park entrance and across the 7-mile causeway to the island.
Permits and Fees
Park entrance fee is included in the $10-per-night camping fee.
Available at entrance station.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication