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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Horseback Riding on Antelope Island, Utah

Antelope Island is an insanely beautiful place.  I have been several times in different seasons for different reasons and fall in love a little more each time.  I talked about my winter hike here, and talked about my first time visiting the island and the lake here

January Hike, Antelope Island, Utah 

This place gets a bad rap because of the terrible bugs in the summer, and odor of the lake, but I find this place absolutely beautiful despite those faults.  Maybe its the fact that it mimics the ocean for me, or maybe it is because I only go in the winter and spring, but Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake are definitely on my "Must See Utah List".

Not only is the island gorgeous with water views, but it is a popular trail riding spot.  The trails are excellent for horses (most of them are perfect sandy footing)  and they have large lots to park your trailer, and even corrals for overnight hiking. 

Hitching Post, Antelope Island, Utah

Did I mention a few hitching posts around the trail if you want to pop off your horse and have lunch (if your horse ties...).  

  If you are unable to BYOH, Bring Your Own Horse that is, you can make a reservation to ride over at Fielding Garr Ranch with R & G Horse and Wagon..  If taking a nice ride around Antelope Island in a big western saddle is how you want to spend your day, then head on over to their website and make a reservation to ride.  Also, don't forget there is a $10 fee to enter the park.

Luckily, I have worked hard to make some horsey friends out here.  One of my newest equine friends out here has two horses about an hour north in Ogden.  She moved here about the same time I did and is always looking for someone who can ride to go trail ride with.  Her one requirement was " I don't care how you ride as long as you can stay in the saddle".  Well, that I can do.  We set off for a 5 hour trail ride around the island.  

Horseback riding at Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah 

I ended up riding a 20 year old arab mix in a big old western/roping saddle for about 5 hours. As someone who normally rides show horse types in a ring in an english saddle, this was about as different as it gets.  BUT- beggars can't be choosers and I am thankful for any ride I get, especially if they are on a beautiful island like this.  

 Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah 

Horseback riding at Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah 

The ride was amazing, my butt was super sore, the western saddle pinched my poor leg, and I had just seen a few antelope grazing nearby.  When, all of the sudden, we see a herd of bison in the distance.  And they just happen to be within feet of the trail we are riding on.  

Bison at Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah 

Thankfully they are very used to humans as they are a highly photographed critter here on the island.  I have to say, even though they didn't flinch, and the horses did not seem to mind, I was a little besides myself that I was within 10 feet of these massive terrifying looking creatures.  It was like "oh wee look bison this is the bestttttt" and then "holy hell oh my god holy shit that is huge get me outta here".  Amazing and sorta scary.  

Horseback riding with bison at Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah 

I can officially say I rode through a herd of wild bison. 
And hey, even stopped to take a picture. 

We rode the Bone Road Trail, to the Split Rock Loop, and finished around the half the White Rock Loop. SO yes, if my math is right about 13 miles.  My horse at home would have died after 3.  Fact.  If you are looking for more information on riding out in Utah, Here is a GREAT post on some western cowboys ride on the island.  He also has great posts about horseback riding all over Utah trails! 


  1. Yay!!! You did this! I once did a 4 hour trail ride in my english tack, and I honestly think despite the leg rub, you'd have been twice as miserable in your normal saddle. Ouch.
    If I ever come to Utah, can we do this???

    1. can you come to Utah this weekend so we can riding. OKay thanks !

    2. Ah! I wish! Maybe we should plan that before you move back though...

    3. Better idea. Utah as one of the only amateur bison round ups in the country, its on this island. We can rent some horses and play cowboy and round up bison. Its in October. Need to make reservations early. I bet Coco would join us!


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