We're continuing with Rhiannon's Antelope Island Hike post. See Buffalo Point Hike here.
I didn’t really plan to do this hike at first, but while driving I saw a sign that said “Guided Hiking tour at 1pm” it was 12:55 when I saw the sign and I thought ‘WHY NOT?’ I wanted to take advantage of the 10$ entrance fee!
My rule of thumb when hiking with kids is to not be afraid to try it, because you can always bail if the trail is too intense or my kids are too crazy. I was also really interested in the “Guided” part of the hike. I love learning about Utah! :D
About the trail
I believe it’s about a 3 mile round trip. You do have a good little uphill but then after that part it’s pretty gradual. My kids had no problems or complaints about walking up hill. Truth be told, I made it about 2/3rds of the way but since I was pushing my twins past their scheduled nap time and they had already done some hiking before this second hike, I was worried how they were going to make it back to the car, so I turned back prematurely. I saw the end and I knew although I could push my kids to it, it may get really ugly before we make it back to the car, so I bailed.
Once you pass the uphill portion there isn’t much more elevation gain to Beacon Knob. It looked pretty cool with the rock formations and the views from where we were. It was so pretty! I loved seeing the Great Salt Lake from that perspective. This trail would have been doable with my 3 year old twins, but it would have been a struggle too. However, my 4.5 year old did great. He loves hiking and running ahead too. This one is fairly moderate in the toddler definition of things and if your littles aren’t familiar with hiking too long, make sure you bring lots of bribery snacks!
How to get to the trail:
Once you enter the park and cross the cosway you are going to get to a point where the road splits. There’s an adorable artistic looking bison next to a giant signs that says ANTELOPE ISLAND STATE PARK. You can go left or right. Going right takes you to the Visitor’s Center and going left takes you to the Gravel Pit Trail head, which is where you also start your hike to Beacon Knob.
About the Trail
The trail kind of winds up to your right and then once you get to the top of the hill you will be walking left along the ridge. From the ridge you have a pretty gorgeous view of Frary Peak and the other side of the island. There are very good chances you’ll see lots of bison on this trail too! You final destination will be these rocks that you can see once you climb the hill.
Apparently this trail is frequented by a large herd of bison. I hiked this with a ranger and they shared some good insights about how to be careful around bison. The bison want to be left alone. They don’t want to bother you however if they feel threatened they will charge you going 40mph. So here are some good tips on bison.
- If a bison is staring at you, it means you are irritating enough that it needs to look at you, so take extra caution to show it that you are not going to interrupt it’s grazing.
- If a bison lifts it’s tail or raises it while staring at you then I would recommend to just turn around and walk away, apparently that’s a pretty big warning that you are VERY irritating.
- If you get charged, say a prayer. Those things run fast.
On this trail the bison were on the trail itself so we just got off the trail and kept a safe distance aiming to rejoin the trail where there were no bison.
RANDOM FACTS ABOUT THE ISLAND.
- Beacon Knob actually had a little shack that housed a radio so planes could land on the island in the 50s. It blew down years ago.
- Where did the bison come from? Apparently in the 1890s a farmer in Grantsville wanted to raise Bison, unaware of what bison were like. He ordered about 12 of them from Texas but later discovered the real state of bison and knew he couldn’t handle it any more. So he asked the state if he could relocate them to Antelope Island. Apparently the bison on the island are pretty “pure”, as in they haven’t been inbred with cattle.
- 550 bison is the max they can have on the island, or that the island can sustain. If they get too many there won’t be enough vegetation to feed them. So they sell the bison they don’t need.
- There used to be SHEEP on the island. They would shear the sheep but since sheep eat everything they eventually they just got rid of them.
- The cosway was flooded in 1983 and the state just didn’t repair it. The only access to the cosway from 1983 to 1992 would have been by boat alone. Davis County, according to our guide, went ahead and made the repairs in 1992 and the park was re-opened.
THE WHALE STORY—I used to teach Middle School and I was reading the Utah History book that the school used and it told the story of a whale that was purchased and dumped into the Great Salt Lake. The whale arrived by train and once it was dumped into the Great Salt Lake no one ever saw it ever again. (Probably due to the concentrate of salt.) It was purchased as a way to improve tourism in Salt Lake. I tried to imagine the billboards “UTAH WHALE! COME SEE IT!” But really, what I want to know is… IS THIS STORY TRUE? I mean, what does a middle school Utah History textbook know, right?! The guide said he too had heard the story, but didn’t know if it was true or not.
Thanks Rhiannon for the sweet post! Be sure to #TheSaltProject if you go on these hikes!
- Trailhead Link
- 10$ Entrance Fee
- Best time to go is in Spring and Fall – there are bugs EVERY WHERE in the summer and it’s HOT.
- There are plenty of trails to do on the island, besides these two that I highlighted.
- Visit the Ranch!
- Be bison aware. They prefer to be alone.