Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island State Park

Written by on July 15, 2016 in UT Outdoor Adventures - Comments Off on Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park
Among the largest salt lakes in the world, with an average of 12% salinity, second only to the Dead Sea, Great Salt Lake in Utah is a unique stopping place in the Southwest. A remnant of the massive ancient Lake Bonneville, a pluvial lake which covered much of western Utah in prehistoric times, the lake is now landlocked. It is the largest body of water between the Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean, and is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. The Jordan, Weber, and Bear rivers (the three major tributaries) deposit around 1.1 million tons of minerals in the lake each year, and the balance of evaporated water is mineral-free, concentrating the salt in the lake further.

Amidst the saline waters of Great Salt Lake, sits Antelope Island State Park. The largest of the lake’s nine islands, Antelope Island is a perfect location from which to explore the lake, its ecology and beauty, as well as see the denizens who call the lake home.

The island is home to a herd of buffalo, introduced in 1893. The herd now numbers over 600. Deer, bobcats, coyotes as well as many varieties of birds and waterfowl also call the island home. The antelope, for which the island was named, actually died out mid-century, but were reintroduced in 1993. The island now boasts a robust population of these beautiful creatures.

Antelope Island State Park has a lovely visitor’s center, white sand beaches for swimmers and sunbathers, a sailboat marina, numerous bike and hiking paths, as well as several camp and picnic grounds. The park entrance fee is $9 per vehicle, $3 for walk-ins and cyclists, while camping fees are $13.

Here are some interesting facts about the Great Salt Lake:

  • During an average year, the lake covers around 1,700 square miles, but the level fluctuates wildly due to its shallowness (average depth ranges from 13 to 24 feet). In 1963 it reached its lowest recorded level at 950 square miles.
  • Surrounding the edge of the lake are vast areas of marshlands and salt flats. Harsh terrain for humans, but the marshlands are heaven for hundreds of species of waterfowl.
  • Oddly enough, the lake’s shallow, warm waters cause frequent, sometimes heavy lake-effect snows during late fall, early winter and spring.
  • The Union Pacific Railroad causeway divides the lake into two parts, causing the lake to differ in elevation between the south and north parts. The surface elevation from north to south can differ as much as 2 feet.
  • The division between the two halves of the lake causes the north and south sides to have different coloring.

Nearby Salt Lake City, offers an enormous range of lodging, dining, shopping and amusement opportunities, including museums and zoos.

Antelope Island State Park

4528 West 1700 South
Syracuse 84075
Phone: 801-773-2941
For camping reservations, call 800-322-3770.

Other attractions in the area include:
Top 10 Things to do in Salt Lake City
Heber Valley Railraod
Wasatch Mountain State Park

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