10 Must-Do Activities at Antelope Island State Park in Utah (from a local)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclaimer here. 

Antelope Island is a beautiful state park in Utah with tons of activities ranging from bird watching to hiking to camping. As a Utah local, I’ve visited Antelope Island many times over the years. In this guide, I’m sharing everything you need to know before you visit, including 10 must-see things in the park.

Antelope island utah at sunset

Antelope Island Entrance Fees, Hours, & Guidelines

Entrance Fee

  • Entrance fee: $15 per vehicle up to 8 people (this price includes the $2 Davis County Causeway fee)
  • Senior entrance fee (65 years of age): $10 per vehicle up to 8 people
  • Motorcycles: $5.00 per motorcycle
  • Bicycles and Pedestrians: $3 per person

If you’re planning to visit several Utah state parks in one year, it makes more sense to buy the yearly state park pass:

  • $100 for Utah Residents
  • $150 for Non-Residents

Park Hours

  • March-October the park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • November-February the park is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The facilities are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Good to Know:

  • Pets must be on a maximum 6 ft leash. No dogs are allowed on the beach.
  • Do not approach or feed the wildlife.
  • There are very strict drone rules in the park. Drones may be flown in designated areas in December-February with a park permit.
road around antelope island in utah

The Best Time of Year to Visit Antelope Island

I have visited Antelope Island every season. While it’s beautiful year-round, the insects really determine the best time of year to visit.

During the warm months, insects are present on the island and emerge at different times.

You’ll want to be prepared for these:

  • Mosquitoes are present from mid-spring through early fall.
  • Biting gnats (no-see-ums) emerge in the spring (April – June). These are very tiny biting flies and they can be very annoying. Insect repellent is not effective against the gnats, so if you’re visiting during this time, fine-mesh head nets are recommended.
  • Midges are non-biting flies that form columns along the causeway mid-spring through early fall. They will absolutely cover your windshield when you drive across the causeway. It’s weird, but they aren’t really too much of a problem since they don’t bite.
  • Brine flies are non-biting flies that cover the shorelines and occasionally move onto land early summer through fall. These flies move out of the way when approached.

Taking the insects into account, I think the early spring (before the biting gnats hatch) and the fall are the best months to visit Antelope Island.

The spring will be a lot greener than in the fall, but there still might be some snow on the higher parts of the island in the spring.

Check the current conditions for the most up-to-date information before your trip.

Points of Interest (mapped)

For reference, below you’ll find many of the points of interest I mention throughout this blog post:

Map provided by Wanderlog, a travel planner on iOS and Android
women hiking on antelope island state park in utah

Top Day Hikes on Antelope Island

There are plenty of unique hiking opportunities on Antelope Island!

Below are my favorite hikes:

Frary Peak Trail

The Frary Peak trail is not only my favorite hike on Antelope Island, but it’s one of my favorite hikes close to Salt Lake City.

Frary Peak is the tallest peak on the island and it will give you gorgeous 360° views of the Great Salt Lake.

This hike is best between November-March. If you hike it after March, you’re going to want a head net to protect your face against the biting gnats and mosquitoes mentioned above.

Trail Details:

  • Distance – 7.1 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain – 2142 ft
the great salt lake view from antelope island state park in utah

Buffalo Point Trail

This is a beautiful short hike with amazing views of the Great Salt Lake! There is no shade.

  • Distance – 1 mile roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain – 220 ft

Lady Finger Point

This is another short hike with awesome views. This is a great hike for birdwatching with views of Egg Island.

  • Distance – 0.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain – 15 ft

Antelope Island Hiking Hazards & Challenges

  • One of the biggest dangers when hiking on Antelope Island is the hot dry climate.
  • There is little to no shade on these hikes. Expect intense heat and sun exposure while hiking, especially in the Summer months.
  • Make sure you’re completely prepared for day hiking with sun protection, plenty of water, and electrolytes.
  • There is no drinking water available on the trails.
antelope island in the fall

Camping on Antelope Island

Antelope Island has 4 campgrounds and 1 group campground.

The Bridger Bay campground is the largest and has the most facilities with showers, flush toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, and shade shelters.

Both White Rock Bay Campground and Ladyfinger Campground (tent only) are more primitive.

Reservations must be made at least two days in advance. Day prior and day of camping is first-come, first-serve.

Lastly, there are the Split Rock Bay Backcountry campsites that are hike-in only and reservations are required.

watching sunset at antelope island

Other Things to do on Antelope Island

Animal Watching

Antelope Island is home to many desert animals including free-ranging bison, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn.

Also, millions of birds congregate along the shores surrounding the island, offering incredible opportunities for birding.

The name of the state park would lead you to believe that there are lots of antelope on the island, but by far the most common animal I see when I go is the bison.

Antelope Island is home to Utah’s largest free-roaming bison herd.

I absolutely love bison. I’ve gone to the park just to see them. If you drive around on the park roads, you’re bound to see the bison at some point.

Definitely bring binoculars! These are the binoculars that I recommend.

bison on antelope island in utah

Important Bison Safety:

  • Bison can run at speeds approaching 35 mph which is as fast as a horse. They are also extremely agile, so while they might look like heavy slow-moving animals, don’t be deceived – they can outrun you. 
  • Do not approach the bison. If you see a bison and it stops what it’s doing to look at you, you are too close. Slowly back away.
  • If a bison is in the middle of the road, wait for it to pass. If a bison is on the side of the road, slowly drive past it.
  • If you’re hiking and see a bison close to or on the trail, either back away and return the way you came, or leave the trail and give the bison a lot of space while you pass around it.

Horseback Riding & E-bikes

  • Rhodes Valley Outfitters at Antelope Island offers guided tours of Antelope Island on horseback.
  • Antelope E-Bike Company offers guided tours of Antelope Island on custom electric bikes. Tours are interactive with a variety of options including sunrise, sunset, and moonlight tours.

Visit the Fielding Garr Ranch

  • The Fielding Garr Ranch is located in the southeast part of the island.
  • The first permanent structure at this site was a small log cabin built in 1848 by Fielding Garr.
  • At the ranch, you’ll find a self-guided tour, exhibits, a picnic area, and restrooms.
  • This is one of the few areas in the park with large trees that provide some shade.
walking on antelope island in utah during the winter

The Beach at Bridger Bay

  • Enjoy the sandy beach a Bridger Bay. You can swim in the great lake if you want, but it’s salty!
  • There are bathrooms and outdoor showers to rinse after your swim.
  • For a snack or lunch, check out the Island Buffalo Grill for a burger.
the beach a bridge bay on antelope island in utah

Watch the Sunset

This past summer, Nick and I picked up some take-out from Chipoltle and drove out to Antelope Island for a dinner picnic and sunset.

It’s such a simple activity, but we had so much fun, and the sunsets out on Antelope Island are epic because the sky reflects off the water and it’s just awesome!

hiking on antelope island in the summer

Other Parks and Things to do Nearby

There are so many outdoor things to do near Salt Lake City, Utah.

Below you’ll find some of my other popular blog posts with plenty of ideas for nearby hikes or road trips:

I hope you have a great trip. Comment below with any questions!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One Comment

  1. I will be visiting SLC over Memorial Day weekend. Is Antelope Island amenable to stargazing? Are there places to park where one can just set up a chair or chaise and just gaze at the night sky until the park closes? Or if not, can you recommend ideal stargazing sites within 40 miles or so from downtown SLC? Thanks.

    Gary
    Houston TX