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Sunday, January 4, 2015

January Hike in Utah: Antelope Island

Antelope Island is the largest island in Great Salt Lake.  
To get to Antelope Island, (roughly 45 minutes north of Salt Lake City)  take I-15 exit 332 and follow Antelope Drive.  To access the actual island, you must pay a $10 toll at the entrance booth and cross a 7-mile causeway.

I first visited the island in February of last year and wrote a blog post with some gorgeous pictures. 

(Clear non inversion day February 2014)

Unfortunately, my second trip to the island was not as clear and a layer of city smog covered the island.   Air quality aside, it was still nice to get outside and get a winter hike under our belts.  It is hard to find a Utah hike in January that doesn't require snow gear and snow shoes. Antelope Island is perfect for a January hike because the trails are well used, tamped down, and at a lower elevation- meaning less cold and snow!

First thing I noticed was everyone was on a horse.   There were a few walkers bike riders and runners on the roads in the park, but the trail was mostly horses.  

Olive was so happy to be out of the apartment and into the snow.  
She spent a lot of time rolling around in the snow and enjoying the sunshine. 

If you bring your canine to Antelope Island to hike, the park is dog-friendly EXCEPT for the beach and Frary Peak Trail.

We originally set out to do the 7.5 mile White Rock Loop.  However, the road was coned off to cars so we ended up walking an extra mile each way.  We also ended up ditching the loop idea and did an out and back to the end of the elephant head trail (marked in red above).  

Once you get to the parking lot, walk towards the end of the parking lot and you will see a fence.  On the other side of the fence is this trailhead area that has a nice description of the three trails here, White Rock Loop, Elephant Rock Trail, and Split Rock Loop.  We headed out towards White Rock Loop and broke off to hike to the end of Elephant Rock Trail. 

The trail was tamped down with prior usage and was easily accessible with just hiking shoes/sneakers.  There were a ton of horses on the trail and of course, I was green with envy. 

There are even hitching posts on the trail for the horses.  These riders were stopping to have lunch while their well behaved horses watched on. (they were all well behaved and Western!)

We followed this trail (White Rock Loop) for about 2 miles.  At the split, instead of going left on the loop we went up and right, up into the peaks.  

Bench and lake overlook area on the Elephant Rock Trail.  It was not a clear day on the Island but the hike provided a beautiful view of the lake.  

Eventually, we reached the end, turned around and headed back to the parking lot.  Our total distance was 9.5 miles, including the extra 2 miles because the road was blocked off 

We even spotted these resting bison on our way back to the car. 

It was a great day hiking the island, and a great option for a winter hike.  Low altitude snow packed trails made for a great January day outdoors.  The air quality could have been better, but atleast it is only a problem in the winter. 

If you are visiting Salt Lake in the winter, take a break from Park City and pay a visit to Antelope Island.  You will not regret it! 

1 comment :

  1. Katie,
    That looks like an awesome place to go for a hike. I hope one day to be able to do that.


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