In a state peppered with incredibly diverse state and national parks, Antelope Island stands out as one of the most unique. The island is just 50 miles from downtown Salt Lake City, making it convenient for folks who just want to escape from the hustle and bustle for an afternoon getaway. It’s amazing to be driving through the heart of a major U.S. metropolis and then, less than an hour later, be standing in this wild and beautiful wilderness in the middle of the Great Salt Lake.
Not to mention, the landscape is pretty incredible.
Rocky points jut up all around the lake, providing jaw-dropping panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges. These points can be accessed on foot via a very nicely maintained trail system, and hiking on the island can range from simple out and backs just a few hundred yards long, to 10 mile treks or more. Here are three of our favorite hikes in this staggeringly gorgeous state park.
For those who just want to snatch a quick view of the Great Salt Lake and a couple photos, it’s tough to beat Buffalo Point . The trail is wide and easy to spot, and the .8 mile hike is short and easy to navigate. This is a great spot to take the kids. The views, even from the parking lot, are absolutely beautiful. There are restrooms, a large patio area, and even a mounted binocular stand that allows you to zoom in on the huge meadow below the parking area. Here, you’re almost guaranteed to spot a few buffalo grazing.
The quick hike (just .4 miles one way) takes you to a large rocky outcropping that provides beautiful views of the lake and some of the other, smaller islands therein. Photo ops abound.
2. Dooley Knob
The 2.8 mile round trip hike to Dooley Knob is an easy-to-moderate stroll. There isn’t any technically challenging terrain on the main trail, and this one is also pretty kid-friendly. Dooley Knob is at a higher elevation than Buffalo Point, so the views are more spectacular from this point.
This outcropping provides stunning views of the Great Salt Lake, the Wasatch mountains, and the large valley below. Keep an eye out for some of Antelope Island’s year-round inhabitants, including buffalo, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope.
3. Frary Peak
Frary Peak , the highest mountain on Antelope Island, is also home to the island’s most spectacular views. At 6.1 miles all told, this is a more strenuous hike than Dooley Knob, and ends with some rather steep and technical hiking. The views are absolutely incredible, however, and seem to get better and better the farther you hike.
The Frary Peak Trail shares its first 3/4 of a mile with the trail to Dooley’s Knob. After it splits to the south, the trail becomes gradually steeper until about the 2-mile point. The terrain here doesn’t present any technical challenges, but the climb can be strenuous. At the 3-mile mark you’ll see a false summit topped by a large radio antenna. Beyond this point, the trail becomes much more technical. The final ascent to the summit is so steep that wooden steps have been bolted into the mountainside.
Once you scramble up this section, you’re greeted by some of the most spectacular views anywhere in Utah. The lake is gorgeous from this vantage point, and wavy ridgelines stretch away for miles. You’ll want to linger here for a while (weather permitting), so remember to bring a snack and take it all in. You won’t believe you’re so close to the city.
If you decide a day hike just isn't enough, overnight camping is also allowed at Antelope Island.