If you’re looking for a fun day trip near Salt Lake City, Utah, you’ll find fun things to do at Antelope Island State Park.
Antelope Island is on our list of Utah State Parks you must add to your bucket list for outdoor adventure, wildlife, beaches, and water!
Antelope Island is the largest of the ten islands located within the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
Below we share how to get to the island, the fees for visiting, what services are available, what to pack for day hiking, and more!
What to Pack for a Day Hike
- Hiking shoes – we like Merrell Moab hiking shoes and Oboz hiking shoes
- Hiking socks – we always wear Darn Tough socks – they’re the BEST!
- Lots of Water – carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack
- Healthy food that’s portable and filling!
- Lip balm with UV protection
- Sunscreen is important in the summer and winter!
- Travel hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp
- UV sunglasses are good for summer and winter
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent – bug bites are no fun!
- Camera gear – DOWNLOAD the free checklist!
All About Visiting Antelope Island
Antelope Island is one of the cool places to visit in Utah! It’s 28,000 acres, 15 miles long and about 5 miles wide. In 1845, John C. Fremont and Kit Carson explored, hunted Pronghorn Antelope on this island, and decided to name the island after the animal.
How do you get to Antelope Island?
The only access to the island is from the Davis County Causeway (Antelope Island Road).
Approximately 41 miles north of Salt Lake City, take exit 332 off Interstate 15 then head west. Getting to the park is then a 7 mile drive from the entrance gate across Davis County Causeway.
How much does it cost to go to Antelope Island?
There is a fee to visit Antelope Island, as well as a separate Davis County causeway fee. Check the website for the most current information. You can get a Utah State Park annual pass as well as an Antelope Island Annual Pass.
What are the Antelope Island park hours?
Antelope Island State Park is open daily from 6am – 10pm for day use, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Visitor Center is open 10am – 4pm and the Fielding Garr Ranch is open 9am – 5pm. Always check the Antelope Island website for the most updated information.
Are dogs allowed on Antelope Island?
Yes, dogs are allowed in most areas of the park as long as they are physically controlled on a six-foot leash. All animals are not allowed in public buildings or at Bridger Bay Beach. Pet owners must pick up and dispose of all fecal matter.
Insect Seasons at Antelope Island
Biting gnats (no-see-ums): April – June you’ll find these insects on the island and they are BAD! Insect repellent is ineffective against the gnats; fine mesh head nets are recommended.
Midges: during the summer these non-biting insects form columns along the causeway and near the marina.
Mosquitoes: throughout the summer you’ll want to use insect repellent to avoid getting bitten!
Brine flies: about mid-summer these non-biting flies will cover the shorelines. They are harmless and move out of the way when approached.
What’s That Smell at Antelope Island?
The Great Salt Lake contains a variety of bacteria whose byproduct is rotten-egg-smelling hydrogen sulfide. The worst smells are found along the Davis County Causeway. Once you reach the island, the smell disappears.
Things To Do At Antelope Island
Check out the Antelope Island map to see the facilities and activities available on the island. Here’s a list of fun things to do on Antelope Island.
Antelope Island Scenic Drive
You can’t drive around the island, as the road doesn’t go all the way around. As you enter the island from the causeway, take the road to the left to explore the Fielding Garr Ranch.
When you take the road to the right from the causeway, it will take you to the marina, Visitor Center, picnic areas, Bridger Bay, Island Buffalo Grill and the campgrounds.
To drive both roads in and out can take an hour or more depending on stops you make along the way.
Antelope Island Tours and Rentals
There are a few guided tours available to do on Antelope Island. Explore the island on horseback or using e-bikes! Both options let you travel along the backcountry trails and take in the views of the lake and island scenery.
Check out the bike tours available:
- Early bird ride
- Afternoon island ride
- Sunset bike n’ hike
- Garr Ranch tour
You can also rent bikes from the store located in the Marina parking lot: fat tire bikes, mountain bikes, child seats and an e-trike!
Bison and Wildlife at Antelope Island
Antelope Island has a varied population of wildlife: birds, coyotes, pronghorn antelope and bison! It is common to encounter any of these animals along roads, trails, and fields.
The island is home to Utah’s largest free-roaming bison herd, between 500-700 depending on the time of year. Remember to follow Antelope Island bison safety tips when visiting the park.
- If you see a bison and it stops what it’s doing and pays attention to you, you are too close and should slowly back away. This applies to ALL wildlife on the island.
- If a bison is in the middle of the road, wait for it to pass. DO NOT get out of your vehicle.
- If a bison is on the side of the road, slowly drive past it and STAY INSIDE your vehicle.
- Do not walk to get closer to bison. Take your photos from a safe distance.
- If you are hiking or biking and a bison is close to or on the trail, either back away and return the way you came, or leave the trail and give the animal a very wide berth when passing it.
Hikes on Antelope Island
There is no shortage of hiking trails on Antelope Island. In fact there are over 45 miles of trails so if it’s hiking you want, check out these trails that are open year-round.
All access to the backcountry is restricted to trails listed on the Antelope Island trail map. Please follow this rule to protect critical wildlife habitats. Dogs on leash are allowed on the trails.
The West Side/Buffalo Scaffold Trail from Split Rock Loop to Sentry Loop is usually closed in the spring to protect wildlife during critical lambing and calving season.
- Frary Peak Trail – 6.9 mile trail labeled as a hard trail for experienced hikers.
- Buffalo Point Trail – less than a mile hike, and used for hiking, biking, horses and sight seeing.
- Dooly Knob Trail – a moderate trail that is 2.4 miles long, and great for animal lovers as you might spot some wildlife.
- Lakeside Trail Loop – an easy 4.7 mile loop trail.
- White Rock Loop – nice and easy 7.4 mile trail for hiking, running and biking.
- Lady Finger Trail – less than .04 miles and an easy trail that leads to Bridger Bay. However, there are some rocks to climb over during the hike. Great trail to watch the sunset.
- Elephant Head Trail – nature lovers trail that is a moderate hike and just over 9 miles long.
- Split Rock Loop Trail – 11 miles long, rocky and for a moderate hiking level.
- The Sentry Loop – moderate 9.6 miles and great for hikes, walks, mountain bikes and nature trips.
- Mountain View Trail – easy but long 11.4 mile trail that passes through 4 parking areas along the way.
- South Island Trail – if you are looking for wildlife you might see it along this easy 5.3 mile trail.
- Beacon Knoll – switchbacks and a moderate trail that is just over 6 miles long.
- Elephant Head and Mormon Rock Loop – hard trail that is 21 miles long and perfect to pack a lunch and eat along the way.
Biking on Antelope Island
Most of the hiking trails above are also open to biking, except for Frary Peak and Dooly Knob.
Road biking is allowed in the park, but keep in mind there are no designated bike lanes. The Davis County Causeway is a great place for road bikes and has a large designated bike lane.
Be sure to keep your distance from bison!
Swimming or Floating at Antelope Island
Maybe it’s the water and beach you want. Take a walk on the sandy beach or a swim in the lake’s salty water. The best place for swimmers to experience the highly saline waters is Bridger Bay Beach. Restrooms and showers are available at this location.
Antelope Island Photography
There are so many things to photograph at Antelope Island. In the morning you’ll usually find calm waters which is perfect for taking reflection photos. And the view to the west is the perfect location for sunset photography at the island.
If you want to photograph wildlife, remember that approaching any animal can be dangerous to you and stressful to the animal. You’re not allowed to feed, touch, tease, or intentionally cause the animal to change their behavior. The wildlife on the island to photograph includes bison, coyotes, porcupines, pronghorn antelope, owls and birds!
Drones are prohibited at Antelope Island State Park from March – November. Drones are allowed by permit only from December – February. Day-of permits are available from the park visitor center during open hours.
Camping at Antelope Island
Wanting to spend more time at the park? Then camping at Antelope Island is what you might be looking to do. Overnight camping is provided year-round in designated campsites. Dispersed camping is not permitted. Antelope Island reservations are recommended, especially on weekends and holidays, and must be made at least two days in advance. Day prior and day of camping is first come/first serve.
- Bridger Bay Campground – 64 sites for tents and RVs
- White Rock Bay Campground – 20 sites for tents and RVs
- The Lakeside Group Campsite – 1 site for tents and RVs up to 80 people
- Ladyfinger Campground – 5 sites for tent camping only
- Split Rock Bay Backcountry Campsites – 4 sites (Reservations are required – no walk-up reservations available.)
Try a Buffalo Burger at Antelope Island
While at Antelope Island you might want to try out the Bridger Bay Beach Island Buffalo Grill that overlooks the Great Salt Lake. They offer the best buffalo burgers around. They are usually open March 1 – November 1.