Since I missed the train to Ogden last week and ended up driving, I decided to finally visit Antelope Island. It’s been on my list ever since I moved back to Utah, although I couldn’t really tell you why. I didn’t know much about it. I think I became fascinated with it years ago when I saw a coworker’s stunning engagement photos. I know that probably sounds dumb, but I have wanted to visit it ever since. But since I rarely end up doing research about a place before I go, I really didn’t know what to expect.
Antelope Island is the largest of the ten islands found in the Great Salt Lake (as per Wikipedia). It was once used as a ranch by the early settlers, but it was sold to the State of Utah in 1981 and became a state park. Since it’s a state park, I had to pay a whopping $9 per vehicle to gain access to it (boo!). Then you drive along a 7-mile causeway to reach the island. Any sour feelings I had about the entrance fee faded into excitement as I entered the causeway. I was surrounded by the lake on both sides with waterfowl all along the edges. I pulled over to take some pictures. The scenery was lovely, but the smell as soon as I exited the car… well, it was pretty powerful and terrible. It’s ok, though, because seriously, look at this:
I also found lots of little bug friends every time I got out of the car.
When I reached the island, I could choose the marina on the right or the ranch on the left. I had no idea what either of them were like, but I chose the left. It didn’t take long until I came across a bison.
And then saw the whole herd.
I wish I could have gotten closer to them. Some crazy guys in a car just ahead of me were making their way toward them, but I didn’t want to end up in the middle of a bison stampede, so I kept my distance.
I continued along the road because I didn’t know what else to do. There are lots of trails for hiking or biking on the island, but I wasn’t really prepared for any of that since I spontaneously stopped by the island. But I did see a road that led up a mountain and decided to follow it. I found some people at top setting up easels and others with camping gear, but best of all, I found this view.
Eventually, I reached the Fielding Garr Ranch and the end of the road. I got out to stretch my legs and see what the ranch had to offer (I admit, I was hoping for a close-up of a bison). There was a really friendly man greeting everyone. He gave me a pamphlet and encouraged me to sign the guest register. That’s where I found a bottle of water for a suggested donation of $1. I was so happy to see the water, I gave $2. Then I started exploring the ranch, starting with the machine shop.
There has been a house on the ranch since 1848, but the current house was built in the 40s and changed over time until the last family lived in it in the 1970s.
I kind of love the layers of pattern in this room, with the worn rag rug, the patchwork quilt, and the linoleum, not to mention the red bed and the red lamp.
The furnishings were so stark, and I couldn’t help imagine cold winter nights and hot summer days spent at the ranch house. The owners varied from different families to ranch hands, depending on the time.
I headed back toward the causeway afterward. The drive back was just as beautiful.
But instead of heading home, I decided to check out the other side of the island. I passed by a few beaches (with lots of people swimming or boating). I finally reached the highest part of the island, Buffalo Point. It has a great deck and a concession stand (that was closed at the time).
And the view… well, see for yourself.
After many miles of driving, depleting my water, and getting a sunburn, I decided it was finally time to go home. But I still couldn’t help but snap a few photos with my camera hanging out the window of the car as I drove along.
I enjoyed my visit to Antelope Island, and I would return again if it didn’t cost so much money. $9 wouldn’t be much for a car full of people who plan on doing a lot of recreation, but for little old me who just wants to drive around and take some pictures, I think a few bucks would have sufficed. Then again, the beautiful scenery was worth it.