21 October 2020
Discover Davis: 7 Reasons to Visit Antelope Island in Fall
Antelope Island is an urban oasis for outdoor recreation. A place where the buffalo roam, a birder’s paradise, a hiking mecca in the heart of Davis County, Utah. The state park is open year-round, but autumn brings a special magic to the island. With over 28,000 acres waiting to be explored, here are our top reasons to visit Antelope Island in fall.
1. Cooler hiking weather
If you’ve ever tried hiking to Frary Peak in summer, you know just how hot it can get along this exposed trail. A fall hike to the summit can completely change your hiking experience. At 6,596 feet, Frary Peak is the highest point on Antelope Island and has an elevation gain of 2,335 feet. The trek to the summit is worth it for the spectacular autumn views of the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island and Wasatch Mountains.
2. Bike trails for every skill level
With up to 25 miles of bike-able trails, a morning ride around Antelope Island is the perfect start to any crisp fall day. Breathe in the salty air, see migrating birds and roaming buffalo, and cover more mileage on two wheels than you can on foot. Antelope Island has bike trails for every skill level, from road biking on the paved causeway to singletrack and doubletrack mountain bike trails. Looking for an extra assist? Book an early morning, afternoon or sunset Antelope e-Bike tour!
3. Bridger Bay Beach
Located on the northern edge of Antelope Island State Park, Bridger Bay Beach’s expansive stretch of white sand is perfect for playing in the sand, getting in a great leg workout while walking the shore, or just sitting and enjoying the spectacular views of the Great Salt Lake. Best of all, fall’s cooler weather means fewer bugs while you enjoy the beach.
4. Spectacular stargazing
As a designated International Dark Sky Park, Antelope Island is the perfect spot for catching a glimpse of the Milky Way and viewing endless stars. Stargazing is breathtaking on the west side of the island, the darkest place in Davis County. Make sure you’re on island before the gate closes for the evening, or reserve a campsite and spend the night under the stars.
5. It’s for the birds
With more than 250 species of birds, it’s no wonder birdwatchers flock to Antelope Island for some of the best bird watching in Utah. The Great Salt Lake is an important rest and nesting stop for migrating shorebirds, and the Audubon Society calls the fall gathering of birds to Antelope Island’s 7-mile causeway “one of the great birding phenomena of the west.” During the fall migration, visitors may see ducks, grebes, gulls and various waterfowl. Antelope Island’s permanent winged residents include the great horned owl and barn owl, chukar, rock wren and western meadowlark. On the remote southeast side of the island, Garr Ranch is an impressive destination for Antelope Island’s resident songbirds. Don’t forget your binoculars!
6. Experience the wild side
What’s a visit to Antelope Island State Park without seeing bison? As one of the largest publicly owned bison herds in the U.S, numbering between 500 and 700, the free-roaming herd is a major draw to the island. Eagle-eyed visitors may also catch a wildlife glimpse of mule deer, coyote, bighorn sheep and, of course, pronghorn antelope.
7. Those island sunsets
There’s nothing – and we mean nothing – like an Antelope Island sunset. Remote and beautiful, Antelope Island is the perfect place to watch the autumn sun melt into the horizon, and an ideal backdrop for wedding photos, senior pics or a romantic date night. Two of our favorite sunset spots are Frary Peak and Bridger Beach. But we won’t reserve our favor strictly for the end of the day. An Antelope Island State Park sunrise is equally breathtaking.