The Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve is a nice, easy boardwalked trail system out in west Layton. The boardwalk allows you to explore a thick marshland that you probably wouldn’t otherwise be able to explore. There is also a great lookout tower to take in the fantastic surrounding views. This is also a great place to watch birds.
We’ve done this before, and I had other plans for today but we both seem to be coming down with something so I thought we’d do something easier today.
View from the lookout tower.
A pair of Sandhill Cranes.
Length: The loop is 1 mile. Adding some of the side bits and to and from the parking lot we did 1.7 miles total.
Difficulty: DR2. Flat, mostly boardwalked.
Elevation Gain: 0 feet. Unless you climb the 2 story lookout tower.
Restroom: Yes, flush toilettes between the visitor center and the parking lot. It’s kind of hidden on your way in, look for a side trail on your right.
Dogs? Not allowed.
Other Info: The gate closes at 8:00 PM.
To get here find your way to Gentile St in Layton. (From the south take exit 330 for Layton Parkway, immediately turn right onto main, then left on Gentile) Take Gentile to 3200 west and hang a left. The pavement quickly ends and you follow a short dirt road to a small parking lot.
3200 W was in terrible condition, and after the gate you enter a short dirt road, but it isn’t too bad (DBP).
The dirt road beyond the gate (DBP). Keep an eye out for the speedbumps they have (I don’t remember them being there 2 years ago). Not that you can go very fast, but they are a bit hard to spot.
Iddy biddy baby cows! (DBP).
The open air visitor center.
Here is what the restrooms look like on your way in.
The lookout tower.
Visitor center again. I really like the design of the buildings.
The first little bit is dirt, but it is wide, well packed and smooth.
And our first hawk. Looks like this guy caught something.
Wow. Pretty sure this is a Northern harrier.
And I think this is a male.
Baer Creek Canyon.
Approaching the visitor center.
About 2/10’s of a mile later you reach the open air visitor center. There are a lot of informative signs in here as well as a box of bird checklists.
It is really a cool structure.
Last time we did this we went clockwise, which is what the trail expects as most of the informative signs face that way, today we decided to go counter clockwise.
The lookout tower again.
The lookout tower again. You can also see the Kennecott smokestack in the background.
More of the boardwalk and Antelope Island in the background.
A mallard duck.
It seems there is quite a bit more water here than last time. Also, like last weeks adventure on the Great Salt Lake Shoreline Trail you get to hear the wonderful sound of hundreds of frogs croaking.
The visitor center again and I think that is Adams Canyon to the right of it.
Antelope Island and cattails forever.
Nearing the lookout tower. of course we decided to climb on up.
This still weirds me out. This sign is a good 10 feet off the ground. We would both be submerged on the boardwalk should the lake reach this level again.
Nice view of Antelope Island and an unnamed pond.
With the current extreme low lake levels you can’t see it, even up in the tower. I wonder if that might change with higher levels.
Looking back towards the visitor center from the top.
The mountains and the boardwalk trail below.
Quick panoramic as well.
Panoramic of Antelope Island.
Oh neat! We got to watch a pair of Sandhill Cranes fly by. Never seen one of those before. This was easy to identify because there was a sign at the beginning of the trail saying what is here in March. These guys are amongst the tallest birds in the world and can have a wingspan of 7 feet!
Here they are landing. That was definitely a fun sighting.
Large flock of .. something. I’m pretty sure they aren’t seagulls.
Back off the tower now.
View of the point of the mountain, and the mountains in SL County.
I like this shot of the tower.
I also added a little arrow to about where the sign for the 4212’ peak lake levels sign is. It is a good 10 feet or so off the ground.
The whole thing again. You can see there is a ramp up to the lower platform. After that it is stairs.
Visitor center again.
The boardwalk again.
The tower with Antelope Island.
The water here is nice and clear. Still no sign of the frogs, other than the croaking.
Some places show signs of a current, but for the most part it seems still.
I know that is Adams Canyon on the right, but I don’t think we have explored the other ones yet.
There is a small path back out towards the center of the loop, we didn’t do it last time so we thought we would do it today.
I think I finally caught the tower without anybody in it.
Another shot of the visitor center.
Another male Northern Harrier. You know, generally humans generally agree that males are prettier in the bird kingdom, but I think the opposite is true for Northern Harriers. I much prefer the browns and blacks of the female.
The weird curve in the boardwalk over a small pond.
Bird filled tree.
This was a good adventure to do today. Not too much work and we saw a lot of birds! Hearing the frogs was also a fun treat. I think I enjoyed it today more than last time as the weather was about perfect for it. I definitely would not recommend this trail on a hot summer day as there is not a whole lot of shade. Going with 8 out of 10 squirrels today.
As for difficulty, It is boardwalked with a small section of wide hard packed dirt. The only elevation gain is the lookout tower. Definitely a DR2.
Dogs are not allowed. Leave Fido at home for this adventure.