March 31, 2015

Exploring Antelope Island

Antelope Island is located in the Great Salt Lake.  It's a state park, accessible by a causeway.  Artifacts show that the island was occupied by native people as long as 6000 years ago.
In 1845, John Fremont and Kit Carson, the first non-native explorers, reported seeing "antelope" - technically pronghorn - grazing on the island range.
Garr Ranch house - dates from 1848
In 1848, a year after the Mormon settlers arrived in the valley, Fielding Garr moved to the island and built a ranch. His first house, updated and expanded over the years, still remains on its original foundation.
Garr ranch buildings
The ranch raised sheep at first, and later had a cattle herd.  It continued operating under a series of owners until 1981.
Buffalo grazing near Garr Ranch, with Wasatch range in background
In 1893, 12 bison were brought to the island.  At that time, less than 1000 bison remained of the vast herds that once roamed the plains.  Although Today, bison on the island number from 500 to 700, with an annual bison roundup held each fall.
The island is 28,000 acres, with about 30 miles of non-motorized trails. Beautiful scenery and plenty of open space make it a great place to horseback ride, bike ride, or hike.

We heard the calls of meadowlarks, canyon wrens, and chukkars.
The banded and contorted rock shown in the photo above is gneiss, said to be about 1.7 billion years old. This is the oldest rock found in Utah, and is the same age as rocks found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.


  1. Great photos, gorgeous scenery and the old ranch house is lovely. The Chukkar is an interesting bird and I always think what an interesting animal the antelope is. Thank you for sharing Janie and have a great day :)

  2. Wow, Janie, what a lovely tour! I love the ranch and also seeing the Chukkar. This bird was introduced to Robben Island off the Cape coast (South Africa) in 1964. Hope you're all keeping well. Greetings, Jo

  3. What an interesting place to explore! I enjoyed seeing the antelope, buffalo, chukkar and the gneiss rock. Thanks for the tour. :)

  4. I hadn't heard of Antelope Island before, but it looks like a fascinating place to visit. Thanks for taking us along with you.

  5. New to me and totally fascinating. Gorgeous vistas and interesting history. Thanks, Janie...:)

  6. Janie, I'm wondering how you got on the island? It looks wonderfully deserted. I've never seen a Chukkar.

  7. This is an incredible island. Visited in 2012.

  8. I love this. I have always been fascinated by the island and still am. We would pass it while driving to Idaho to visit relatives. I had never thought about somebody actually living on it.

  9. Looks like a wonderful place to ride but I, like Barb, wonder how you got onto the island with the horses.

  10. It never occurred to me that their might be islands in the Great Salt Lake. I have no idea why! Sounds like the bison are doing very well there.

  11. I didn't know there was an island in the Great Salt a Lake. The pronghorn is beautiful. I have read that they are extremely fast runners.

  12. What an interesting place... The rock in the last picture is amazing.... Wow---just to think of its age.....

    I've never seen or even heard of a Chukkar bird... He's gorgeous.

    Love the picture with the bison --and those amazing mountains in the background...

    Thanks for sharing this area. Love it.

  13. Thanks for reminding me of one of my bucket list items. It was great to see and hear from you about this special place.

  14. That was a fun ride today. My brother manages the buffalo herd on Antelope Island.



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