Antelope Island

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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