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A Natural Excursion Far From Home

Hunting for bison at Antelope Island State Park

Published in the June 2022 Issue Published online: Jul 09, 2022 Outdoors, Road Trips Emily FitzPatrick
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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK isn’t the only place to spot bison within driving distance from Idaho Falls. If you’re willing to make a slightly longer trek (about 3 hours from Idaho Falls to Utah), then you will not only get to spot the four-legged beasts the west is known for, but you will also get to explore some new scenery in a different state.

Nestled in Salt Lake City, you will find ANTELOPE ISLAND STATE PARK. Though it is a longer trek to this destination than our neighboring Yellowstone, you are sure to find shorter lines for entry or tourists crowded at hotspots along the way to capture photos of multiple attractions. Not to mention, the scenery itself leaves no true comparison. The GREAT SALT LAKE provides long sprawling beaches, far different than the woodsy scenery we are used to in our region of East Idaho.

The difference in natural landscape also increases your chance of spotting some of your favorite furry creatures. In 1893, 12 bison were brought to the island. Now, the herd ranges somewhere between 550-700 bison, meaning if you take a long enough drive through the park it is almost certain you will spot these wondrous beasts walking along the open landscape of beaches and sparsely populated sagebrush mountainside. Bison aren’t the only animals that inhabit the island; the area is also known for its native pronghorn antelope, mule deer, bighorn sheep, coyotes, badgers, bobcats, owls, hawks and falcons.

There are several options for exploring the island, including hikes, mountain biking and horseback riding. Backcountry trails lead to stunning views of the Great Salt Lake. If you decide to camp out for the night, you will be treated to a sky full of stars. Whatever your plans, don’t forget to take a drive, following the map you receive at your entry into the park. Enjoy hours of driving along peaceful roads or be more judicious with your time, planning to explore sole portions of this natural oasis. Either way you are sure to find something to admire on this scenic adventure far from home. 

Antelope Island State Park
4528 W1700 S, Syracuse, UT 84075
www.stateparks.utah.gov/parks/antelope-island

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