Bridger Bay Beach, Antelope Island, Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Antelope Island State Park Near Salt Lake City

Antelope Island State Park Near Salt Lake City was originally published in 2024

Antelope Island State Park, situated on the Great Salt Lake, about 90 minutes drive from downtown Salt Lake City offers a plethora of activities, from bird watching to hiking and camping. In this quick guide, find everything you need to know you plan a perfect day trip from Salt Lake City and the must-see attractions within the park.

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Antelope Island State Park Hours

  • March-October the park is open from 6 am to 10 pm
  • November-February the park is open from 6 am to 7 pm
  • Antelope Island is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas

Antelope Island State Park Entry Fees

  • Vehicle Entry: $15 for up to 8 individuals (inclusive of the $2 Davis County Causeway fee)
  • Senior Entry (65+): $10 per vehicle for up to 8 individuals
  • Motorcycles: $5.00 per motorcycle
  • Bicycles and Pedestrians: $3 per person
  • Annual Utah State Parks Pass Holders: Free (annual passes cost $100 for Utah Residents and $150 for Non-Residents)

The Best Time to Visit Antelope Island

Spring and fall are the best times of the year to visit Antelope Island State Park, owing to more pleasant temperatures and fewer bugs. From mid-spring until early fall you can expect to encounter mosquitos, gnats, brine flies, and midges. 

Other Important Info For Visiting Antelope Island State Park

  • Do not approach or feed the wildlife. Of course, with the main attraction of Antelope Island being free-roaming bison, it is imperative to note that bison can reach speeds of up to 35 mph.
  • If you encounter bison on the trails, retreat along the trail and allow a large gap of space to bypass.
  • Encountering bison on the road is common too, just wait for it to leave the roadway and pass it cautiously. 
  • Pets must be on a leash with a maximum length of 6 ft.
  • Dogs are prohibited from beaches. 
  • Drone use is permitted only in designated areas during December-February with the possession of a parking permit. From March-November drone use is prohibited. 
  • Hiking on Antelope Island poses significant risks due to its hot, dry climate, especially in the summer months.
  • There is minimal shade to be found along hiking trails, so make sure to bring sunscreen.
  • Make sure to bring enough drinking water if going on hikes as there’s no available water once on the trail.

Things to do at Antelope Island State Park

Spot Utah’s Largest Free-Roaming Bison Herd

Bison, buffalo, Antelope Island, Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Antelope Island’s main attraction is that the state park is home to Utah’s largest free-roaming bison herd. 

It would be nearly impossible to visit the park without spotting at least one. On my visit, we saw heaps of them, the first spotting happening nearly immediately after entering Antelope Island State Park.

Antelope Island State Park Visitors Center

The Antelope Island Visitor Center features informational displays covering park wildlife, geology, info about the Great Salt Lake, and the human history of the area.

The visitor center also features a gift shop offering a range of souvenirs, artwork, and snacks. Campers can pick up firewood here as well.

Historic Fielding Garr Ranch

Offering a historical glimpse into Utahn pioneer life, Fielding Garr Ranch is situated at the southern end of Antelope Island. 

While no longer operational, the ranch features preserved old buildings and a farmhouse, showcasing intriguing pioneer relics and farm equipment.

Bridger Bay Beach

Bridger Bay Beach is the perfect rec area and is an ideal spot for a swim in the Great Salt Lake. Bridger Bay features a large sandy beach located just a short walk from the shoreline. 

Bridger Bay Beach, Antelope Island, Antelope Island State Park, Utah-2

Horseback Riding at Antelope Island

Horseback riding is a popular activity at Antelope Island, as it makes for a great way to explore the state park.

For those wanting to try out exploring the island by horse, Rhodes Valley Outfitters offers guided horseback riding tours of Antelope Island State Park.

Biking Antelope Island State Park

Mountain biking and e-biking are popular ways to explore Antelope Island State Park. Mountain bikers can take on a number of the trails in the park, 

Those wanting to try out e-biking can check out Antelope E-Bikes.

Some mountain biking favorites include the 11.5 mile Mountain View Trail, the 5 mile Lakeside Loop, and others.

Hiking Trails on Antelope Island

Frary Peak Trailhead

7.1 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain 
2142 feet

4 hours 30 minutes

Frary Peak is the highest point on Antelope Island at 6569 feet, offering breathtaking 360° vistas of the Great Salt Lake from atop. 

For optimal hiking conditions, it is recommended to tackle this trail between November and March. 

If you choose to hike after March, it’s advisable to bring a head net and sunscreen to shield your face from the biting gnats and mosquitoes prevalent in the area as well as protect yourself from intense sun exposure.

Buffalo Point Trailhead

1 mile roundtrip

30 minutes

The Buffalo Point Trail gently winds its way to Bison Point, offering breathtaking vistas of the Great Salt Lake, the Wasatch Front, and Stansbury Island. For those short on time, the Buffalo Point Trail is a great option due to its brief duration and proximity to the Antelope Island State Park Visitor Center.

Lady Finger Point Trailhead

0.5 miles roundtrip

10 minutes

The Lady Finger Point Hike is another great short hike option for those wanting to get out and explore Antelope Island but don’t have heaps of time. You can see Egg Island, a small rocky outcrop often used by nesting birds. 

Fremont Island is also visible to the north from Ladyfinger Point.

Dooly Knob Trail

2.6 miles

1 hour 30 minutes

Accessible via a spur trail branching off the Frary Peak Trail, this knob extends with a 188-foot prominence from a low ridgeline, culminating in a rocky crag at its summit. 

From this vantage point, you’ll have views of the Wasatch Front, the Great Salt Lake, and the verdant plains below. 

Lakeside Trail

5 miles

1 hour 45 minutes

The Lakeside Trail meanders gently between the Bridger Bay and White Rock Bay campgrounds, making it an excellent choice for sunrise or sunset photography, particularly if you’re staying at either campground.

White Rock Loop

7.4 miles

3 hours

The White Rock Loop Trail offers a scenic route connecting various backcountry trails on the island’s west side. This trail is a favorite among hikers as well as mountain bikers and horseback riders visiting Antelope Island State Park. 

Sentry Loop

6.5 miles

3 hours

The Sentry Loop begins south of Fielding Garr Ranch. The trail gradually ascends towards The Sentry, a prominent dome-like mound, offering breathtaking vistas of the lake.

Elephant Head Trail Via Bone Road

9.2 miles

3 hours 30 minutes

Elephant Head Trail skirts along the Great Salt Lake’s shoreline, offering panoramas of White Rock Bay, before ascending to the elevated viewpoint of Elephant Head. The trail is also favored by mountain bikers visiting Antelope Island. 

Bison are often spotted near the trailhead or along the ridge near Elephant Head.

Beacon Knoll

Bison, buffalo, Beacon Knob, Antelope Island, Antelope Island State Park, Utah

6.2 miles

2 hours 30 minutes

Beacon Knob offers fantastic panoramic views and excellent wildlife sighting opportunities on Antelope Island. 

Split Rock Loop

11.5 miles

3 hours 45 minutes

One of Antelope Island’s longer hikes, Split Rock Loop is a favorite of mountain bikers and trail runners, seeing fewer hikers. The initial segment of the trek coincides with the Elephant Head Trail and diverges afterward.

Mormon Rocks Loop

13.6 miles

5 hours 45 minutes

Continuing from Split Rock Loop Trail, Mormon Rock Loop is an add-on to the route for those looking to extend the trek a bit longer.

South Island Trail

5.3 miles

1 hours 45 minutes

The South Island Trail traces a dirt road as it meanders southward along the eastern side of the island, culminating at Unicorn Point, situated at the southernmost tip of Antelope Island.

Campgrounds at Antelope Island State Park

Bison, buffalo, Antelope Island, Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Antelope Island State Park features three campgrounds. Note that reservations need to be made at least 48 hours in advance. If not planning in advance, camping sites for the day before and the day of are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are also the Split Rock Bay Backcountry Campsites, which require a hike to reach.

Bridger Bay Campground 

Bridger Bay Campground is the largest of the three established campgrounds on Antelope Island. It offers the most facilities including showers, flush toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, and shade shelters.

White Rock Bay Campground

The White Rock Bay Campground offers 20 primitive sites without water and electricity. Ideal for tents, self-contained RVs, and horse campers. 

Fires are permitted only in designated fire pits, with seasonal fire restrictions possible; check with the visitor center for updates and to purchase firewood.

Ladyfinger Campground

Ladyfinger Campground features only five sites, accessible via a 230 foot walk from the parking area. Note that this is a tent-only campground.

Vault toilets are provided onsite.

Split Rock Bay Backcountry Campsites

The Split Rock Bay Backcountry Campsites are primitive, accessible only by a 5 mile hike. Sites require a reservation in advance.

Each site features a designated tent pad and post where tents must be placed. 

There are no amenities such as water, shade, or electricity, although mulching and pit toilets are available. Dogs on a leash are permitted, with owners responsible for cleaning up after them. Fires are not allowed. 

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