Saturday, March 19, 2016

Antelope Island 2016

Antelope Island is truly the perfect daycation destination. Seriously just a short hour away and you are transported to what feels like a National Park that should be hours away. There is so much to see and do, and there is a very good chance of seeing wildlife. Late March usually provides a perfect little window when all the snow has melted off the island, and before the biting gnats come out. So that is usually when we do it. We came out last year and I was reminded of just how wonderful it was so we decided to return again this year.

Fee Area: $10.00
To get here: Take i15 to Layton exit 322 Antelope Island Dr. Head west until you hit the fee station. Pay the fee, and continue across the causeway until you are on the island.


The causeway (DBP). It takes about 10 minutes or so to get across the lake onto the island.

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Those columns of what appear to be smoke? Bugs. Seriously (DBP). There was one year we decided to go for a family outing and we thought the causeway was on fire, but no it was bugs. They seem to form a vortex over certain plants. Side note, you will need a car wash after visiting.



Starting to hit the low lake levels (DBP).


Over one of the openings in the causeway that allows both sides of the lake to mix (DBP). What ever is flowing into the north from the south, the seagulls seem to love.


First stop is the Visitor Center where you can find one of the many buffalo statues.


Farmington Bay.


The causeway. You can see the darker water flowing north through the opening from here.


Bison safety tips.

1. If a bison stops grazing, sleeping, or doing other bison things to look at you, you are too close.
2. If the bison stares at you and raises its tail, you are WAY to close.
3. If a bison begins to move towards you, back away quickly! Bison can run up to 40 miles per hour!

I like the first one. I like that they added a smidge of humor to a serious topic. But seriously, bison, and all wildlife can be dangerous. Be careful. There were 5 selfie with a bison incidents in Yellowstone just last year.


Brine Shrimp.


Cool little birdhouse.


View from the back of the visitor center looking towards Ladyfinger Point.


Buffalo near the visitor center.


The park sign (DBP).

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Some buffalo out on the dry bay (DBP).

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Buffalo on the hills (DBP). Lots of buffalo today.


Frary Peak, through a bug smeared windshield (DBP).


We hiked up The Frary Homestead Trail which was a neat short half mile adventure to see some historical stuff.

After exploring that we decided to continue south and see what else there was to explore.


The snowy Oquirrh Mountains behind the southern peaks (DBP).

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We spotted some antelope down below.

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And while I had the telephoto lens out I decided to grab a shot of downtown Salt Lake. It’s kind of bizarre with the lake level so low it looks like it sits next to a wasteland desert.


Near the Felding Garr Ranch we found a herd of buffalo.

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And another shot of downtown. I like the way this one came out better. This is the importance of tripods. I didn’t bring mine, but I did have a good fence to rest upon which helped make the image a little sharper.


More buffalo.


I think this is The Sentry. It’s a 5.6 mile loop. We weren’t quite up for that much adventure but I noticed Mushroom Springs didn’t appear to far up there so we decided to go check that out.


We decided to continue south down the dirt road (DBP). I was hoping it went to the southern tip of the island. And I think it might, but you can only go a little further.


More buffalo (DBP).


Another herd up on the hills (DBP).


Well end of the line. This is officially the furthest south we have been on the island. You can still hike down to the southern tip or Unicorn Point but it is 4 miles one way. I was thinking of maybe coming back with my bike and biking down to the point one day.

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Another shot of Salt Lake City, with a little reflection off the lake.

We decided to head back to the northern tip





More buffalo!


And a wild antelope appears.

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I.. I didn’t think antelope got this close to buffalo.


Big guy wandering around Felding Garr Ranch.

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Some more antelope.

We are having an excellent wildlife day today.

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Sea Gull Point and Ben Lomond Peak.


Great views from Lady Finger Point. Another great short trail definitely worth checking out.


Some buffalo in front of the visitor center (DBP).

Well we were having fun but it was time to head home.


Beautiful color on the lake during sunset (DBP).


Park sign again.

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The lake with peaks above it from the causeway (DBP).


Tons of birds (DBP).


Where the lake ends (DBP).


Last look at the island (DBP).

This was out 3rd visit to Antelope Island and we still haven't explored even a half of what we can, although I think we have covered all of the shorter trails. Now we need to plan some time to hit some of the longer trails. And I still need to plan a weekend campout here too.

As I said before, Antelope Island is a great daycation. Even if you aren’t up for a hike, it can be done as a great scenic drive with almost guaranteed wildlife views. If you are up for a hike there are quite a few trails from a quarter mile  to 8 miles and longer for all skill levels. Definitely worth the visit.

Last time we came I gave it 10 squirrels out of 10, and I think it shall retain that.

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Dogs are allowed on all trails except the beach areas. This is according to the new pamphlet they handed me which appears to have been updated since last time we came. Last time I posted they were not allowed on the Frary Peak Trail, that seems to have been updated. Be sure to clean up after your furry friend!

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Antelope Island - Lady Finger Point

Lady Finger Point is the northern most tip of Antelope Island. It is a great short trail with some fun rock scrambling that offers great views of Bridger Bay and Egg Island. You will likely see lots of birds on this trail, most likely seagulls.


View from the end of the trail.

Quick Details:

Length: 1/4 mile one way
Difficulty: DR3 There is some boulder scrambling but it isn’t too bad.
Elevation Gain: Eh about 10 feet.
Restroom: There is a pit toilette in the parking lot.
Dogs? Yes! Please clean up after your furry friends.

To get here drive to the north end of the island. It is between the visitor center and the marina.


The trailhead sign.


Bridger Bay.


The rock mound you have to scramble over.


Egg Island. With the low lake levels it looks like you could walk out to it… if it wasn’t a closed area for protection.


I can’t believe I captured it, I think the setting sun helped. Those are not leaves, those are some kind of bug, I feared mosquito or biting gnat. This trail they were everywhere and I thought we had made a grave mistake. However no bites. So, I guess they weren’t biters.

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Cropped in closer they look bizarre.


Rock formation.


The sun reflecting off the lake, and I see I caught a few more of the bugs.


Bridger Bay again, looking pretty low on water.


The trail.



The worst part of it.


Looking out towards egg island.


The great Salt Lake.


Lake foam. Yuck!


Looking back southish towards the causeway. More foam.



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A view of Egg Island from the furthest north you can get on the island.


Closed for sensitive bird nesting area.


I believe this is Freemont Island.


More lake foam.


Seagulls and moon.



Scrambling over the boulders again.


With the moon.


I found a little alcove to climb up and found more bugs eep.



Great view up here though.


Nearing the trailhead.


Bridger Bay.

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Another bunny!

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There are 2 bunnies pictured here, can you spot em both? Hint, the upper one jumped right when I took the picture so you can only see the back legs.


Bridger Bay.

All in all it’s a great short hike that includes some boulder scrambling and some great views across the lake. It doesn’t take very long so it is definitely worth a quick stop to check it out. Going with 9 out of 10 squirrels.

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As for difficulty, even with the short boulder scrambling its a super easy trail. DR3.

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

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