Fine Art Nature Photography Blog: Antelope Island Utah | Hiking And Photography
Explore the Island
Antelope Island State Park in Utah is an amazing place within a quick drive of Salt Lake and Davis Counties. There you can escape the hustle of city life and find a place to relax and enjoy nature. The island sits in the Great Salt Lake and is connected to the shore by a causeway. A fee of $10 is required to enter the state park and cross the causeway, which is well worth it. Make sure to plan for a whole day of hiking and photography because Antelope Island has a lot to see. To fully enjoy your visit you will need the time to explore this 'home on the range'.
Hiking on the Island
The best time of year to visit Antelope Island is between mid-October through mid-May. During summer months the heat and gnats can be brutal and there is little shade, so venture out in the winter where the island usually has very little snow. Antelope Island has some great hiking trails. If you are interested in long or short hikes you can find perfect areas to stretch your legs. The Buffalo Point trail is an easy 1 mile roundtrip trail that passes through boulder fields and sagebrush. Chucker partridge birds are common on this trail in the winter along with mule deer and coyotes. Make sure to have your camera ready so you do not miss a wonderful photograph. White Rock Loop Trail is a moderately difficult hike. At 7.4 miles roundtrip, this trail gives wonderful views of White Rock Bay, then crosses over the ridgeline for amazing panoramas of the Wasatch Mountains along Salt Lake and Davis Counties. Frary Peak Trail is rated as difficult at 6.9 miles roundtrip with a 2,335-foot elevation gain. This trail offers opportunities to photograph mule deer and bighorn sheep. Watch this video of one of my hikes on the island!
Photographing wildlife on Antelope Island can be as easy as just driving around in your car and watching for movement. I captured the photograph above of this coyote from the side of the road after I saw it moving in the rocks. I quickly stopped and leaned across the hood of the car to steady the camera and caught this image as the coyote stopped to look at me.
Bison are also easy to find as you drive on Antelope Island Road to Fielding Garr Ranch. Do not approach bison as they are wild animals that can charge at 35 miles per hour and jump 5-6 feet in a bound. View them safely from your car or from a safe distance on the trail. The ranch is also a great area to see the resident Pronghorn Antelope, for which the island is named. These speedy animals are the sole survivor of their ancient family called Antilocapra. Pronghorn are one of the fastest land animals on the planet and can run at speeds of 55 miles per hour.
Oh Give me a Home
Antelope Island is a cowboys paradise of miles and miles of open range to ride. It is common to see many riders on the island enjoying the freedom to roam and explore from horseback. You will find many interesting scenes to photograph of buckaroos and their beautiful horses. Be sure to share the trail with the cowboys and respect the fact that horses can spook and harm the rider. If you would like to schedule a horseback ride on the island contact R&G Horse and Wagon. They offer guided tours of Antelope Island. Book your reservation by calling (801) 726-9514.
Camping is available on the island at four different campgrounds: Bridger Bay, White Rock Bay, Lakeside Group Site, and Ladyfinger. Depending on the location where you camp RV or tent pads are available. All sites have outhouses, picnic tables and some man-made shade available as there are no trees.
Visit the Island Buffalo Grill located at Bridger Bay Beach to get some grub. Open from March 1 – Nov. 1, The Island Buffalo Grill overlooks the Great Salt Lake, and serves a great Buffalo Burger.
Antelope Island is a stunning place to escape the city while enjoying the wide open spaces and panoramic views. Visit the island often and stay late to photograph some of the best scenes the state of Utah has to offer!