Antelope Island

by Kaylah Stroup

As per usual, before leaving on our latest roadtrip, we hadn’t done much research. I take that back, I actually mapped out all the interesting ghost towns I could find but quickly realized it was way more driving than we could handle on this short trip. Basically, our plan was Cisco (where Jeff proposed!!!) and then decide from there what to do.

Once we woke up in the morning I realized how close the Great Salt Lake was, and noted that there were a few other things in the area that would make driving in that direction seem like the right choice. A quick search seemed to point to Antelope Island as the best place to visit if we wanted to check out the lake so that’s where we went.

Antelope Island is the largest of ten islands located within the Great Salt Lake. It is home to populations of pronghorn, bighorn sheep, American bison, porcupine, bager, coyote, bobcat, mule deer and lots of birds. Sounds pretty promising, right? The fact there was admission to the island made me question if we really needed to go there but we certainly ended up getting our ten bucks worth.

Within five minutes of being on the island we spotted a herd of antelope which was beyond exciting. The very first time we had seen antelope was back in 2014 on the way to Cisco. I had no idea what they were at the time. I just remember shouting “I saw weird deer. They were like deer, but not deer!” as we sped by them. This year I got to positively identify those ‘weird deer’ as pronghorn.

They’re not true antelope like you’d find in Africa or Eurasia but they’re known colloquially in North America as antelope. Whatever you want to call them, they’re cute as all heck. I was SUPER excited to have Jeff’s 70-200mm lens. Gosh, we needed two of them on this trip so that we weren’t constantly trading lenses. I was a bit bummed about not being to get any really nice portraits of one but I really am smitten with the shots I got. How can an animal look so adorable from behind? Look at them fluffy butts!

pronghorn, antelope island

pronghorn, utah, great salt lake, antelope island

After the pronghorn we continued driving around the island looking for more critters. The weather was a bit gloomy, and we were completely underdressed but there wasn’t another person in sight. It was lovely to have such a gorgeous park all to ourselves. I would have to imagine that in nicer weather this place is packed. It felt like we were on our own little self guided safari.

We didn’t have to drive far before we came upon some bison just chilling beside the road. I guess if you lived out here these animals might not be so exciting to you but Jeff and I were both whisper yelling at each other about how amazing it was to be so close. They’re pretty dirty lookin’ dudes. We both took approximately four billion photos of them though…

antelope island, great salt lake, utah

great salt lake, antelope island

great salt lake, antelope island

After getting our fill of bison, spotting a few mule deer, and admiring some more incredible scenery we were ready to hit the road. Before we could do that though, I thought it only necessary to actually go to the beach at the Great Salt Lake. We followed signed for the beach, parked, and walked what felt like years. Walking in the sand is so exhausting.

A little foamy but otherwise it was really nothing too exciting. I had read that the lake had a huge population of brine shrimp. I was pretty disappointed to not find any…until I realized THEY WERE EVERYWHERE. See those brown-ish lines in the sand? Brine shirmp! The massive clumps that I thought were just… I don’t know, regular stuff that washes up on the beach (??) were actually thousands and thousands and thousands of brine shrimp. Pretty wild stuff!

So, I would definitely say our short trip to Antelope Island was successful. Every animal I saw was something that I wasn’t 100% familiar with which is wildly exciting. I feel like the amount of time we spent there was perfect. Enough to satisfy my curiousity but still leave me wanting more. Utah is a wonderland!

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Jennifer November 15, 2017 - 9:56 am

Oh man! So many fuzzy buddies! I remember seeing pronhorn for the first time at Bryce National Park. I guess their populations are starting to build up again. I haven’t been in years, but I betcha they are even easier to find now.

Kaylah November 15, 2017 - 10:58 am

Shoot. Guess we should have made Bryce National Park a priority. We didn’t head down that way but looking at the photo results makes me wish we did… especially if there are lots of pronghorn. 😛

allie November 15, 2017 - 10:35 am

These photos are all insanely beautiful! Every time you head out west I get the urge to go there ASAP. I love all of the critters and once again find myself on the verge of purchasing that lens which I probably don’t need and definitely can’t afford…

Kaylah November 15, 2017 - 10:42 am

Thank you, Allie!!

You’re going to LOVE it out there when you finally go. There is just so much fun old stuff to be found.

Hannah November 15, 2017 - 11:11 am

These photos are BEAUTIFUL. The colors are just perfect, and all the animals really give them character. I love the wide shot of all the buffalo crossing the road. If you do prints I’d absolutely get one. <3

Kaylah November 24, 2017 - 12:19 pm

Thank you so much, Hannah! 🙂

Molly November 15, 2017 - 4:07 pm

GUH, bison are my absolute favorite animals and your photos are amazing. I’d love to travel to Antelope Island to see them one day. Thanks for sharing!

Kaylah November 22, 2017 - 10:40 am

They’re just incredible to see in person! Such massive creatures!

Mindi November 16, 2017 - 9:09 am

I have been incredibly excited about seeing everything from this trip (especially your engagement! Ahhhhh! So happy for you guys!) Sorry I havent been commenting lately (I dont have internet and it’s aweful!). These photos are all so lovely! How exciting to see Pronghorn and Bison! And I agree, those bums are the cutest! I’m potentially moving to Montana in February, and am so excited about all of the new wildlife and landscape I’ll be surrounded by! Best wishes to you and Jeff, and I hope you’re having an awesome day!

Kaylah November 30, 2017 - 9:10 am


Sam November 16, 2017 - 10:50 am

Antelope butts for the win! 😂

Kaylah November 17, 2017 - 9:06 am


Jenn November 16, 2017 - 2:20 pm

You are lucky that you came when you did. In the warm months it is disgusting….filled with tons of bugs and stench lol.

Next time you are in the area you should check out the Spiral Jetty (unless you already have) That is worth hours of exploration and great photos. You can check out some of my photos if you like.

Kaylah November 17, 2017 - 8:56 am

Whhhhhat? Really? I have a hard time believing it’s not magical all year long!!

Otter November 16, 2017 - 4:36 pm

Another super unique, fun place to explore and photograph is the Bonneville Salt Flats – they’re so cool, especially after it rains!! You know, for next time you make it to Utah 😉

Kaylah November 17, 2017 - 8:52 am

Hahah! It’s only a matter of time… 😛

Sarah November 16, 2017 - 9:32 pm

Wow I didn’t even know we had anything like Antelope in the US! The landscape out west is so beautiful. I love these photos, they have a very calming feel to them.

Kaylah November 17, 2017 - 8:55 am

It really is! It’s just so different from what I’m used to in Ohio! I LOVE it out there.

PJFB November 17, 2017 - 12:26 pm

Gorgeous photos! I am so happy you came to my part of the country — next time be sure to come through Idaho and Montana!

And I am very impressed that you have learned the correct term “bison” (a lot of people say “buffalo”) and that you understand that pronghorns are not actually antelope. Pronghorns really are the most incredible animals!

PJFB November 17, 2017 - 12:31 pm

Oh, and I wonder if you could tell us what camera and lenses you used? Do you ever note what camera settings you use for particular shots? Thanks! : )

Kaylah November 30, 2017 - 9:13 am

I use a Canon 60D and a 35mm 1.4 lens.

Cecile November 17, 2017 - 4:48 pm

I agree! Utah is a wonderland. It’s my favorite state to visit, with so much to see!

Kaylah November 20, 2017 - 8:37 am

It’s just GORGEOUS!

Johnna LaFaith November 19, 2017 - 1:41 pm

Congratulation! (First of all, as I have been awful at commenting and reading in a timely fashion). In addition to congratulations, WOW. What an amazing thing to see and to document. I love these photos. The colors are stunning and I’d just die to be that close to such beauties. Great photos!

Kaylah November 22, 2017 - 10:37 am

Thank you so much!! 🙂

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