Bison on Antelope Island

December 30, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Wildlife is abundant out here, one of the features of the West that we enjoy. Last week we took a trip to Antelope Island, which is in the Great Salt lake.  On the map, it looks like a peninsula but it's wetlands and not really land that connects.  To get there, you drive the causeway for a $3 fee.  You can buy an annual causeway pass too.  Antelope Island is a state park, so there is a fee for that, or, again, you can purchase an annual pass that is good at all of the state parks in Utah.  The passes hanging from our rear view mirror are accumulating into quite a bunch now.  

The park is mostly hills and fields.  There are plenty of trails for hiking and riding your bikes or horses.  Its greatest appeal to us, though, was "one of the largest free-roaming bison herds in the nation." (state park brochure)  It also happens to be the home to the "longest continually inhabited home in Utah."  While we were there, we saw two coyotes, lots of pronghorn antelope, and a chukar (in the pheasant family.)  There were not many people at all even though it was Christmas break from schools, but it was a weekday, so people were likely at work.  

The bison could be seen in bunches at various points around the island.  The ones closest to the road while we were there were near the camping areas.  Mostly they grazed calmly, but some moved through the parking lot and along the trail as well providing even better views of them.  These are large animals, and they can be dangerous.  Use extreme caution when around them.  With that said, people hike the trails and we saw lots of bicycles on the trails in areas where there were bison.  This is similar to other parks we've been to with bison.  People are not kept separate from the bison, but you must be aware of your surroundings and the wildlife in the areas you are visiting.  Other parks with free-roaming bison that we've visited include Custer State Park in South Dakota, Badlands National Park in South Dakota, Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

Bison on Antelope Island (Utah)Bison on Antelope Island (Utah) Our dog was welcome in the park, always a nice feature when traveling with pets.  The park also has a junior ranger program.  We were surprised by this because, in our experience, most states do not participate in such a program like the national parks do.  We brought a lunch, but in the summer you can buy food on the island.  As always, bring plenty of water.


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