antelope island state park
About Antelope Island State Park
Visitors to Antelope Island State Park drive across the causeway, a narrow two-lane road spanning from mainland to island, leaving the bustle of the Wasatch Front for a refuge of rangelands floating on a desert sea. Visitors will want to hike, bike and look for wildlife, as well as experience the best place to access Great Salt Lake. Be sure to visit the Fielding Garr Ranch located on the southeast side of the island. The Fielding Garr Ranch House is distinctive for two reasons: first, it is the oldest continually inhabited Anglo home in the state of Utah (from 1848 to 1981 when the island became a state park), and second, it is the oldest Anglo built house in Utah still on its original foundation.
4,200 feet at the shore. Frary Peak is the island's highest point at 6,596 feet.
John C. Fremont and Kit Carson made the first known Anglo exploration of Antelope Island in 1845. The Island was named after the explorers observed several pronghorn antelope grazing on the rangelands.
Fielding Garr established the first permanent residence on the island in 1848. The ranch house he built is the oldest Anglo-built structure in Utah still on its original foundation.
The island and ranch passed from owner to owner until 1981 when the State of Utah purchased the 28,000-ace island for a State Park.
Antelope Island is part of what is known as the Basin and Range, stretching from the Wasatch mountains on the east to the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the west. Antelope Island is the largest island on Great Salt Lake at just over 28,000 acres, stretching 15 miles long and about 5 miles wide.
The oldest exposed rocks on the island are from the Farmington Canyon Complex, called gneiss. These metamorphic rocks have been dated to 1.7 billion years old, and are the same age as rocks found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. These rocks can be seen on the southern two-thirds of the island.
Tintic Quartzite, found on the northern one-third of the island, is 550 million years old and was deposited in a shallow marine environment. This metamorphic rock can be seen around the Park's visitor center, Lady Finger Point and Buffalo Point.
The youngest rocks on the island are tufa, a sedimentary rock deposited from concentrations of calcium carbonate during the time of Lake Bonneville. Tufa deposits typically resemble concrete and can be viewed from the Buffalo Point Trail.
Although surrounded by salt water, Antelope Island has over 40 fresh water springs producing over 30 million gallons of water each year. This water supports the islands abundant wildlife.
Bison are the most famous residents. Twelve animals were brought to the island in 1897 and were the foundation for today's herd of 550 - 700. An annual bison roundup is held each fall to assess the health of the hard and sell extra animals.
Pronghorn antelope are native to Utah and to the island. These small, deer-like animals are the fastest animals in North America and can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.
Mule deer and California bighorn sheep are the other large herbivores on the island. Predators include coyotes, badgers, bobcats and numerous birds of prey such as owls, hawks and falcons.
Hours and Fees
Park hours: 6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Entrance fees (includes causeway and wildlife fees):
Entrance fee: $10 per vehicle up to 8 people
Senior entrance fee (Utah residents over 62 of age): $5 per vehicle up to 8 people
Bicycles and Pedestrians: $3 per person
Commercial Groups: (over 8 people per vehicle): $3 per person and $5 per bus
Educational Groups: $1 per person with prior reservation
Bridger Bay Campground: $15 first night, $12 each additional night; includes entrance fee to the park. Fee covers the first vehicle. $13 fee for an additional vehicle. Maximum site capacity is eight people and two vehicles.
White Rock Bay Campground: $30 first night, $24 each additional night; also includes park entrance fee. Fee covers the first two vehicles. $13 fee for additional vehicles. Maximum site capacity is sixteen people and four vehicles.
Seasonal Antelope Island Field Trip Opportunities
Antelope Island's many resources offer a great outdoor classroom for students of all ages.
The rate for educational groups is $1 per person with advanced reservations. Reservations must be made at least one week in advance (sooner is recommended to ensure availability). Schools arriving without a reservation may be charge the regular commercial group rate of $3 per person.
Staff Guided Opportunities
Specific details regarding content of the presentation can be determined with your reservation. We can accommodate all ages from Pre-K through High School and College/University groups.
Reservations are required for these field trips and should be made at least one week in advance, however earlier reservations will help ensure you get the date you would like.
1. Visitor Center Tour – 1 hour
The visitor center tour consists of three 20-minute rotations of an age appropriate scavenger hunt, watching a video about the park or short hike, and a naturalist presentation which might focus on any of the following topics: information about Great Salt Lake, wildlife, birds, ecology, plants and geology.
2. Fielding Garr Ranch – 2 hours
The Historic Fielding Garr Ranch offers teacher-/parent-guided activities focusing on life aspects of the early Anglo settlers of Antelope Island. Eight groups rotate through various fun and educational activities designed to help teach students about early pioneer life.
Note: Schools should choose either the Visitor Center or the Ranch. We cannot accommodate both due to time constraints and travel distances.
3. Beach Basics – 1 hour 15 minutes
Staff/Teacher guided Beach Basics is for groups of 65 or less. Larger groups are encouraged to experience the beach on their own (see below for details and opportunities). Beach Basics takes students to the waters of Great Salt Lake and guides them through activities that teach about the unique sand, salt water plants and their adaptations, how and why the lake is so salty, and life in the lake, including Brine Shrimp and Brine Fly life cycles. Students will have the opportunity to wade out into the lake to look for Brine Flies and Brine Shrimp (if conditions allow).
4. Buffalo Point Hike – 1 hour
Schools electing to take a guided hike to Buffalo Point will take a half-mile hike to a fun and breathtaking overlook of Great Salt Lake and the north end of the Island. Discussions and activities will focus on the geology of the area; how Antelope Island got here, the type and age of the rocks, and the life of Great Salt Lake, including Lake Bonneville.
Many groups like to come to Antelope Island and explore on their own. Following is a list of possibilities for a self-guided visit. These can be mixed and matched according to your needs, desires and time-frame.
There are a number of hikes of varying degrees of difficulty, including the ¼ mile Lady Finger Point, the ½ mile Buffalo Point, 2.7 mile Lake Side Trail and others. Topics could include plants, animals, birds, geology, Great Salt Lake, Lake Bonneville, etc.
2. Beach Visit
Many schools enjoy spending part of the day at the beach. Schools can develop their own outline of activities, or simply have a beach day, and let their students wade/swim in the water.
For schools wishing to visit the beach on their own and would like additional teaching tools, the park offers a Teacher Toolbox for free checkout. This toolbox contains a variety of lesson plans with all necessary supplies to conduct those activities. The Teacher Toolbox lesson plans include:
These lesson plans are geared mainly toward a 4th grade education level, but can be adapted to fit your individual needs.
Many schools combine a Staff Guided Activity with something they do on their own. How you organize and arrange your visit is up to you, and really is based on your time availability and educational goals.
Other Guided Tours/Activities/Programs
For schools or groups who would like a guided discussion or tour not covered in the topics above, please contact the park and we can arrange a special program geared toward your needs.
To schedule a field trip, guided tour or discussion, or to check out the Teacher Toolbox, contact Wendy Wilson, Park Naturalist at 801-721-9569 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer & Service
Current Hosting Needs
Hosts: Positions: Gift Shop, Visitor Center (Information), Fielding Garr Ranch Host, Volunteer Curator, Volunteer Naturalist
Months Needed: Year-round
Adopt a Park
- For information please contact Ranger Ellen Labotka at email@example.com.
Volunteer Naturalist Position Application
Volunteer Curator Position Application
Volunteer Ranch Visitor Services Position