Bison were not something we expected to find roaming Utah, which we’ve always envisioned as a dusty place that grows amazing red rock formations instead of grasslands. We certainly didn’t expect to see grazing animals near its largest city and especially not in the middle of the Great Salt Lake for which that city is named. But not only does a herd of 600 bison roam the 42 square miles of Antelope Island, so do pronghorn, bighorn sheep, bobcats, coyotes, porcupine, badgers and millions of water fowl. It’s like one of the world’s largest city zoos, only without the cages.
This largest island in the Great Salt Lake is accessed either by boat or via a seven-mile causeway that connects it to the mainland. From there visitors are treated to magnificent views of the Wasatch Range that constitutes the western edge of the Rockies and envelopes Salt Lake City.
Lone bison chilling in the tall grass of Antelope Island, Utah
Hiking and mountain biking are popular activities on the island, and its white sand beaches beckon swimmers to try out the most wonderfully buoyant salinated water this side of the Dead Sea.
Hordes of insects can be a problem during May and June, but eight miles of driving trails make it possible to comfortably “safari” around the island and enjoy its scenery and wildlife even when nasty gnats are at their worst.