The Great Salt Lake had been on my bucket list for some time now. I mainly wanted to visit after I had a chance to see the Dead Sea in Israel. I wanted to see how water compared. (The Dead Sea is much more oily, the Great Salt Lake was more, well, salty.) I spent the morning exploring Salt Lake City then visited Antelope Island, State Park.
The temple up close, or as up close as I could get. Only Mormons in good standing are actually allowed inside.
I really liked SLC, it was immaculately clean, and the people were like small town friendly. This was the first time I had been to Utah. My drive up from Las Vegas was just gorgeous. The southern half of the state is a barren desert, then you cross a mountain, and the other side is suddenly green and a lot lusher.
Antelope Island juts out of Salt Lake. The island has a mountain on it (Frary’s Peak at 6500ft ) The island has a trail that raises about 2000 ft from the trailhead to the summit and is about 3.5 miles each way.
Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. Sometimes, when the rainfall has been low, it actually becomes a peninsula. The island is just a couple miles off the eastern shore and is connected by a causeway. There is a ten dollar fee per car to drive to the island, and bikes and pedestrians are three dollars.
While the Great Salt Lake’s salinity prevents large fish from inhabiting its waters, small celled organisms such as brine shrimp are able to thrive. These large populations draw waterbirds to feast.
The island has several campgrounds. Rates vary from Fifteen to thirty dollars per night. But that fee also includes entry. There are a couple beaches, but I didn’t swim they were a bit muddy at the time I was there.
The Great Salt Lake is the largest lake of its kind in the western hemisphere and the eight largest salt lake in the world. The lake’s size varies as evaporation is causes it to decrease in the summer until the spring rains replenish the rivers and creeks that feed into it. The Great Salt Lake is a terminal lake meaning water comes in but has no way of exiting.
The island is rich in wildlife. You have the eponymous Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, Bobcats, many different types of eagles and several herds of Buffalo.
Having Buffalo or Antelope cross the hiking trail or road in front of you is common.
While not as common as the Antelope, mule deer can be seen all over the island.
This island is definitely where the Buffalo roam, and Antelope play.
The whole island is actually a partially submerged mountain. The highest point on the hill is Frary’s Peak. The peak has a net increase of about 2000 feet (600 meters) from the trailhead to the summit. The hiking trail has a moderate incline except for the last half mile which is quite tricky.
The Frary Peak trail offers some good camera vistas of the island, surrounding lake, and if weather permits Salt Lake City.
I would definitely recommend a visit if you are in the area. The hike to the summit of Frary’s peak is a bit of a challenge (or at least for someone like me) but definitely worth it. Even for non-hikers, the island offers an up-close vista of Utah’s diverse wildlife.