Antelope Island State Park
4528 West 1700 South, Syracuse, UT
Open daily at 7 am, Closing hours vary seasonally
When visiting the greater Salt Lake City area, a great place to get some exercise and explore is Antelope Island. Antelope Island is the largest island on the Great Salt Lake at about 28,000 acres with an elevation change from 4,200 feet at the shore to 6,596 feet at the top of Frary Peak. With its fresh water springs, the island is home to an abundant array of wildlife, the most popular of which are the 500-700 bison. When on the island, be prepared for breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, the Great Salt Lake, and the cities of Bountiful and Salt Lake.
With an extensive 20+ mile trail network of varied difficulty, this makes for a great place to log some trail miles on foot or on a mountain bike. If biking, you can park outside of the entrance gate and bike in which costs less than a car. Be sure to stop at the gatehouse to get an island map which has all the trails on it.
There is a visitor’s center once on the island that does a 20 minute video which discusses the history and topography of the island. I highly recommend stopping in here first to get the lay of the land and to refill any water bottles the you may have. Other than the visitor’s center, the only other places to get water are the primitive campsites on the West side and the Island Buffalo Grill on the northern side. They will refill your water bottles at no cost and have your basic fast food fare as well as bottled soda. If you want better options, I suggest stopping at a gas station on your way to the park. The best time of year to visit is Spring and Fall when the temperature is down as there is no shade on the island. If going during the Summer months, be sure to go in the morning or evening and to carry plenty of water.
When I went out to the island, I ran/hiked up Frary Peak to get a most spectacular view of the surrounding landscape. The total trip was 6.8 miles out and back with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. This was perfect when starting early on a July morning as the sun is just peaking over the Wasatch Mountains. I would rank this trail as moderately difficult and technical. If you are looking for an easier and shorter trail, I suggest the Lake Shore Trail which is about 5.6 miles with only 65 feet of elevation change.
If you decide to visit Antelope Island, you will be awestruck by its beauty and the vastness of the Great Salt Lake. Be sure to check the website for gate hours as it varies by time of year. Keep in mind, dogs are not allowed on the trails on the island. Tent camping sites are available with primitive restrooms (you can always go to the welcome center on the other side of the island if need be) for $13 a day with a maximum stay of 14 days.