Antelope Island State Park
Information Courtesy Of Utah State Parks - Back to Utah State Parks
Antelope Island State Park, the largest island in the Great Salt Lake, is home to a roaming herd of 500 bison. Pronghorn and bighorn sheep also share the rangelands that overlook the desert lake. Opportunities to view wildlife are available on backcountry trails, which are open to horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and cross-country skiing. A visitor center offers information on the island's unique biology, geology and history.
Park History: Artifacts reveal prehistoric people inhabited the island more than 6,000 years ago. John C. Fremont and Kit Carson made the first known Anglo exploration of Antelope Island in 1845. They named the island after observing several antelope grazing on the rangelands. Fielding Garr established the first permanent residence in 1848. Antelope Island has been inhabited since then, and is home to Utah's oldest Anglo-built structure still standing on its existing foundation. The historic Fielding Garr Ranch represents 135 years of western ranching history. Utah State Parks purchased the northern 2,000 acres of the island in 1969, and the remainder in 1981.
Wildlife: American bison are the island's most famous residents. Twelve animals were brought to the island in 1893; the foundation for today's herd of 500 to 700. An annual roundup is held each fall to assess the health of the herd and sell extra animals. In addition to large mammals, the island is home to bobcats, coyotes, reptiles, shore birds, waterfowl, raptors and chukars.
Driving Directions: To reach Antelope Island, take I-15 to exit 332 (Syracuse/Freeport Center). Travel west seven miles west on Antelope Drive to the entrance gate.