We discovered Antelope Island State Park quite by accident. Joy spontaneously picked up a free RV travel publication that happened to have an article describing the park. We decided the park was centrally located on our fall line from Durango to Yellowstone so we called and made reservations. The initial park alerts warned about this being the hatching season for fierce gnats immune to bug sprays and described the only remedy was to wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and hats with nets. The entry to this isolated island in the Great Salt Lake is a seven mile causeway. While coming across the causeway, there was a distinct odor coming from the marsh on each side. We both looked at each other and agreed this stop was going to be a boom or bust and that we may have to cancel our reservations for the following 3 days.
Antelope Island had been the working ranch of the Garr family at its inception in 1878 and remained a working ranch until it was turned over to the state of Utah in 1981. The island is approximately 14 miles long and 4 ½ miles wide. In this relatively small area, it is amazing how the terrain changes from flat plains to steep rocky hill tops. Today the park service offers only 26 primitive camp sites (no electricity or running water). The camp sites are excellent- each with paved pads and covered picnic tables with wonderful panoramic views. There are some paved roads on the island and an estimated 30 miles of hiking trails. Today Antelope Island is the home of 500-700 buffalo, an untold number of birds, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope along with all sorts of other wildlife.
We are pleased to report we did not experience the gnats we were warned about and the marsh odor ended as soon as we got off the causeway. While here, we have had 3 Buffalo, we nicknamed “Los Tres Amigos”, visit our campsite each day. Yesterday (while in the truck) we stopped to watch a herd of about 150 buffalo heading toward us. Within a few minutes, we found ourselves in the middle of the herd as they crossed the road to reach the grasslands on the other side. The animals kept within 10—15 feet of the truck. This stop on the way to Alaska has turned out to be nothing short of amazing.