Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bonneville Shoreline Trail–Tunnel Springs TH

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail will one day go from Idaho all the way to Nephi Utah (which is just south of Provo) 280 miles! It is a trail the follows the ancient shore of Lake Bonneville. The skeleton is in place and many sections are complete. From what I have seen it appears to be almost solid from Ogden to Draper but there might be some missing sections within that still as well. I have hiked various sections of it in Ogden, Centerville, Bountiful and Salt Lake. Today I decided to explore the section that starts in North Salt Lake at Tunnel Springs Park and connects to Salt Lake City. It looks like you could even take this all the way to Ensign Peak. Although, that would be what appears to be a 3ish mile hike to get to what is other wise a less than a mile hike.

We returned the following weekend on April 4th and rather than creating a new post I thought I would just add to this one so there will be a few edits which will all be in this color.

To get here: Take HW89 in North Salt Lake to Eagle Ridge Dr. Head east up the mountains and continue forward through the roundabout. About .8 miles later turn right on Parkway dr. Parkway winds right then back left for about .9 miles. After which you will turn right on Eagle Point Dr. 100 more feet and you will see the park with a parking lot. Address is 1080 Eagle Point Dr. If you want you can drive another 100 feet or so on gravel to a back parking lot.


You drive by the giant landslide that happened in August last year. (Drive by Photography).


They recently completed this Tunnel Springs Park in North Salt Lake. Honestly, that was what helped me decided to do this adventure today. Tunnel Springs sounded interesting.


It is a nice park that offers a great view.

This park is just down the road from the Wild Rose Trailhead Park. And we will see some of the stuff you see from above on that trail, from below on this trail.



I am guessing this is Tunnel Springs. It is not as exciting as it sounded.


The trail is wide open and there isn’t much shelter so I wouldn’t recommend it on a hot summer day. However it is fairly wide, hard packed and flat.


They were burning phragmites (an invasive plant species) out on the shores of The Great Salt Lake today.


A look up into one of the several gulches you will pass with a dry stream bed.

The reason we returned the following week is I saw what appeared to be an old stone wall up this canyon.


After looking up the area on google maps I determined it was just a pile of rocks, but then I noticed that circle. I thought it might be a Native American medicine wheel. So I wanted to investigate.


So we decided to get closer. There was a thin trail to follow.


Not a stone wall, but a pile of stones. I don’t think this is natural as the rocks don’t match, but I honestly can’t fathom why they were gathered here.


And here is the circle. I can kind of see it in my picture but I couldn’t see it while I was there. Honestly, I have no idea what it was/is. But It got us out and exploring so whatever.


A look at the striped hillsides. You see a lot more of this on the Wild Rose trail.


We followed the thin trail up the side canyon for a little way, before it thinned out too much. Got a nice view down though.


View of the dry stream bed.

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The fires below seem to be getting pretty big. It is a blustery day.

Well after exploring the side canyon we decided to head up to the peak.


Trees on the hills above.


Antelope Island. The Great Salt Lake looks almost dry from here.


What remains of Becks Spring. From what I have read it used to be a resort with several pools to bath in the natural warm spring water. Until a couple of disasters, and then ultimately they decided to build I15 right over it, so all that is left is a shallow marsh. Around a busy freeway.



We found another set of small springs. Not much coming out of these, but we did have a dry year. I wonder if maybe this is Tunnel Springs?


Radio Towers.

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A hiker returns from the outcropping.


I wasn’t sure how far I was going to get on this trail. It was just a beautiful day and I wanted to do something with it, but Roxy wasn’t feeling it. I managed to coax her along until I got above the ridge enough to see into Salt Lake.


The Salt Lake Valley. This was as far as we made it today.


Quick panoramic between the two valleys/counties.



There are quite a few trail splits here getting towards the towers. We opted to climb this low peak. which ended up being almost exactly a mile from the trail head. To get to the towers I would guess is another 1/4 to 1/2 mile because you have to go down and back up.

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There is a much better view of downtown from this small peak. You can just see the Capital to the left just above the hill line.


Trail down to the outcropping. It didn’t look too bad, but the wind was really whipping us about so we decided not to go down to it.


Quick panoramic from the peak.

So we turned around and started heading back. We did close to a mile. I think it you went to the radio towers that would probably make it a good mile (and a halfish). Which appears to be about a third of the way to Ensign Peak. Or you can take the full 5.6 miles to City Creek Canyon.



It is a little disconcerting to know you are hiking directly above a strip mine. A little more so when you can see that.

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Quick panoramic of Antelope Island.


A look back across the open bench you’ll hike along.


This one shows the changing colors of soil as we descend through the layers, and Ben Lomond Peak in the background.

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They are getting aggressive with the burning.

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Black fuzzy caterpillar.


A look out at the point of the mountain between Salt Lake and Davis counties.

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I got a quick drive by photo from i15 (passenger) I think this is the peak we made it to, and you can see the ridge with the radio towers to the right of it. And the strip mine we were hiking above.

This was definitely different to mix the 2 different trips together in one post. Not sure how I feel about it. Feel free to let me know what you think.

I actually enjoyed this quick little hike more than I thought I would. It was super easy and offered fantastic views of the valleys below. Although I think I prefer more wooded areas. Going with a 7 out of 10 squirrels.

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As for difficulty, the short bit that I did was super easy. A nice wide flat packed trail that was mostly level. It start start to go up as we neared the towers but it wasn’t too bad. Going with a DR 2.5.

Dogs are allowed! Please clean up after your furry friend.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Return To Antelope Island

Just about an hours drive from Salt Lake City sits a whole new world that doesn’t feel like Utah at all. This large island of 28,000 acres you experience everything between desert, plains, mountains, beautiful beaches and even a historic ranch to explore. Not to mention you have a really good chance of seeing wildlife, most likely buffalo. It is a great Daycation as it really isn’t that far and there is a lot to explore. Or, if you want to spend more time out there there are a couple of camp grounds to lay down for the night. One of these days I would like to do that. There is a $10.00 fee (per carload) to get onto the island. Which is $1.00 more than the last time we came out here in 2009. Wow I can’t believe it has been 6 years.

To get here take i15 to Antelope Drive in Layton (exit 322). Take that west through Syracuse (last stop for gas, normal priced food). Stay on Antelope Dr until you reach the fee station. Pay the $10.00 fee and continue across the causeway to the island.


The sign before the fee station at the beginning of the causeway. (Drive By Photography (DBP) Album)


The causeway. Wow, the water levels are quite low. (DBP Album)


Starting to hit some water. I believe this is Freemont Island. (DBP Album)


Getting close to the island. (DBP)


And we have reached the island!


Seagull (DBP).


Bridger Bay (DBP).


Already seeing a couple buffalo (DBP). Random fact: Landis and I got into an interesting discussion about the difference between buffalo and bison. I was between the genus vs. species thought. My other though was that I know the buffalo on this island are the most pure (have not bred with cows) so maybe that was the difference? No, after some research it would appear buffalo is somewhat of a misnomer. Early American settlers just called them buffalo because they looked like African buffalo. Technically they are American Bison (or Bison, Bison). However, buffalo is what we have been calling them forever so it is still accurate as well. I recently learned a similar story about turkeys too.


First stop was the visitor center to do a quick bathroom break. There is a neat buffalo sculpture here.


The causeway and the marina.


Farmington Bay.

After a quick run through of the visitor center we went back to exploring the island. Next stop is the Lakeside Trail.


Freemont Island and I believe Promontory Point There is an old buoy out there.


The trail is thin, but it’s mostly flat. It’s a great walk through desert sage brush with a nice view of the Great Salt Lake.


Random plant looks like a cabbage.


A little rocky at times.

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Lots of birds to see along the trail.


Old rusty ruins.. not sure if it the remains of a boat or something else


Easy going along this trail.


Big boulder.


I don’t know what it’s called, but I love the random rocks that look like a conglomerate of smaller rocks smashed together.


I guess this is what that cabbage looking plant looks like when it opens up some more


I really like the way the rocks and boulders just look like they rained from the sky on the island.


And what do we have here? A window of some sort.


Oh neat! So the first boulder has 3 interconnecting archways or windows, and the rock behind has an archway too. I don’t know why this is so neat, but it is.


View out of the smaller window.


Me in the smaller window.


Roxy and Landis. Roxy seemed to really like this.

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All three of us.


A view that shows the three arches connect in the larger boulder and the one in the smaller one.


It kind of resembles a dog from this angle.


From behind again you can see all three archways.


The larger opening.


The smaller opening with a bonus hole.


The little hole gave a nice frame for my favorite beings.


Roxy wanted to see what was in here too.

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This is really just a fun rock! I wish we had brought the kids with us today.


A last look. This was really neat! It made me think of nearby (as the crow flies) Chinese Arch.

Looking at the trail map it seems if we continued following the trail it would let us out at White Rock Bay.. where we would either have to turn around or follow the roads back to our car. As much as I would like to explore, I think this is a good turn around point. The trail is 2.8 miles and I think we did about 1/2 to maybe 2/3 of a mile.


Some early flowers.

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We started hearing what honestly sounded like a turkey… and eventually this chukar popped out! Actually a pretty bird.


Through the sage brush.


Back at the trailhead I pulled out the telephoto lens to get a closer look at the buoy.

Well that was a nice easy little trail that was mostly flat and level with hardly any climbing. It continues all the way around the point to White Rock Bay but then you either have to return the way you came, or climb up the and down the roads which will add some climbing. For the short section we did I am going with a perfect 10.

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As for difficulty like I said it was almost flat, a little rocky, but not difficult at all. Going with a 2.5 as I think it is probably one of the easiest non paved trails we have done.

Next stop: White Rock Bay.


We drove around the loop road to check it out.


A herd of buffalo on the hills above.


Some buffalo in front of Buffalo Point. This sits directly above the trail we did earlier (DBP).


Passing by the same buffalo on the way to the point.


I think I prefer to view of White Rock Bay from up here at the point.


The water is definitely lower this year than the last time, but not too much.

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Quick panoramic of White Rock Bay.

There is a short trail here out to a lookout that is .4 miles. We did that last time and didn’t feel up to doing it today, we had more things to explore.



Heading towards the Fielding Garr Ranch we passed a couple more buffalo. These were near the visitor center.


Roxy decided to take a nap along the way.


A look at the peaks above (DBP).


I believe this is Frary Peak, the tallest on the island (DBP).


A large herd of buffalo near the ranch.


With the smaller peaks towards the southern tip of the island.


And the Fielding Garr Ranch started in 1848 and sold to Utah in 1981. Last time we arrived too late and it was closed. So I was happy we had time to explore here today. It is a self guided tour. Note: There is a pamphlet that explains all the things you will see. We somehow missed it, so take a look around just to the right of this large barn at the bottom of the ramp.


Old bell. We didn’t test it, but quite a few people did. It still works!

You probably can’t see it but next to that open door in the background it says: Begin Here! I think this is probably a better place to put the little guides, rather than behind us where they are not as quickly noticeable.



A look inside the first building which is attached to the big barn. Lots of old, old tools and other stuff.


Old grain silo.




Old truck and tractor.


Bunk house.


Pretty overgrown spring.


Nice little oasis back here.


Nest. There was a sign nearby that said “Shh. Owls nesting.” So I was hoping to see an owl, but I know they camouflage really well. Never did find one.



Heading back up into the small village of sorts, this is the Spring House.


Inside. I wondered why the floor was all muddy until I read the guide after the fact. The spring works as a natural humidifier and help keep the milk fresh longer. Kind of an ingenious early fridge before electricity made its way to the island.


The main houses living room built in the 1840’s.


Dining room with an old stove. In the 1940’s it was the center of social activity.


Laundry room with old, old appliances.



Kitchen. the guide says it is left in early 70’s style. just this building alone covers a vast array of time.


Basement of the bunk house.


Old cars.


And finally to the big old barn. Which I have learned is called The Shearing Barn. Check out that big pulley system.


More old tools.


The sheep shearing loft. You can see more of that pulley in the back and to the right.


More of the pulley system. It says it was used to move the wool down to the end to be collected.


Blacksmith shop.

Well that was fun! I am glad we came down to explore it. This is probably a great thing to do with the family. Lots of cool things to see and fun interactive exhibits. Now, on to more exploring.


We noticed the gate south of the ranch was open. We decided to drive down a little ways to get a good look at the herd of buffalo as well as a view of downtown.



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Downtown Salt Lake City.

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Panoramic of the Wasatch Range, well, the Salt Lake portion of it. I still can’t believe how dry the lake is.



More buffalo.

We decided to head back towards the other end of the island. Although looking back I wish we had explored a bit more in the area, but we can always come back.


Buffalo chilling in the dry lake bed (DBP).

Our next stop was the Frary Peak trailhead. Roxy isn’t allowed on this trail but I just wanted the elevation to take a few pictures.


Jagged boulders on the peak north of the Frary Peak Trailhead.


More to the south, with a small window.

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Another shot of downtown.

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The Wasatch Range from Ben Lomond Peak in Ogden to Point Of the Mountain south of Draper. Weber, Davis, and Salt Lake Counties. Now that is an expansive view!


heading back down from the trailhead parking lot. This is a steep little road!


More buffalo (DBP). We definitely saw a lot more this trip then we did last time

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Downtown with some lake water.


One of the openings in the causeway to allow water through (DBP). They did this in an attempt to not disrupt the lake, however it was not enough and each side has a distinctly different salinity and oftentimes color.


A few buffalo were right next to the road so I got a good close up. We stayed in the car and were quick about it for safety and to avoid bothering them.


Another one of the buffalo statues near the entrance.


We found a nice single picnic table to have lunch. I decided to scramble up the boulders and check out the view of Bridger Bay. Scrambling amongst the boulders totally made me feel like a kid again.


I love all of the rock formations around here. This one kind of looks like a fist.


Roxy also likes to scramble over boulders.


Weird flat stone makes a little bridge.


Egg Island is currently a peninsula. I originally planned on doing that hike again, but it was getting late.

Well, we had our fun, but it was time to head on home.


The visitor center from the road below (DBP).


The lake on either side of the causeway (DBP). You can see the different colors of the water.


Salt flats in the low lake bed (DBP).


Weber Canyon (DBP).


Looing back at the island (DBP).


And the Island from i15 (DBP). Well, that certainly doesn’t do it justice.

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Here we go. Just about any trail in Davis County offers a great view of the island. Here is one from the short hike along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail I did the following weekend.

Well we had a great adventure today! There is so much to see and do on this island. Second trip and we still haven’t seen it all. Perfect adventure to do in early spring before the biting flies come out. Once they come out, it isn’t a very pleasant experience so check the website to check current conditions before you head out there.

Most of it is drive up and see, family friendly. However there are a lot of trails ranging from easy to more advanced to get away from what small crowds there are. You can camp the night and have a lot more time to explore. Honestly, the only downside is the $10 fee, but that isn’t so bad considering all there is to see and explore. I definitely recommend coming out and checking it out at least once in your life. Plus I know that Roxy just had the greatest time on the island, and seeing our dog, much like our kids having fun makes it even better.

Last time we came I removed a squirrel due to the fee, but I had enough fun this time to over look that. 10 out of 10.

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Dogs are allowed on MOST of the island. They are not allowed on the beach, the Frary Peak Trail, or the Sentry Trail. Please keep this option open to us and clean up after your furry friend.

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