Antelope Island is the largest island on the Great Salt Lake. It is part of the Utah State Park system and offers a variety of amenities and activities. It is home to approximately 600 head of bison along with pronghorn and bighorn sheep. It offers great views of the lake and has a very nice morning and evening thermal.
Approaching the Marina
Stay well clear of Buffalo Point and Egg Island as you begin rounding the northern end of the Island. There is a very large reef complex here called the Buffalo Point Reef. It is best to keep at least two miles east of Buffalo Point to avoid running aground in shallow water years or if you have a deeper draft boat.
As you start rounding Buffalo Point and start your eastward approach, plan to keep one mile north of Egg Island and Ladyfinger Point before turning southeast to enter the marina.
As you start approaching the marina it will blend in with ladyfinger point to the west and the Davis Causeway to the east. But it is still very easy to find. The Ranger Memorial is located right where the east break wall meets the Davis Causeway. You will see the large flagpole of the memorial right on the eastern corner of the break wall. Just sail southeast towards the memorial until you can see the cut in the break walls. This is the marina entrance. If approaching at night the marina is still quite easy to see. The Ranger Memorial is very well lit.
When entering the marina try to stay to the center. There are some larger rocks near the corners. In shallow water years, the center of the mouth becomes very shallow with tufa reef just outside the mouth.
Once in the marina favor the break wall while approaching the docks. This is the deeper water. Venturing too far to the center of the marina could result in a hard grounding.
If you draw 4’ or more of keel depth you should not try to approach or use the marina until the lake reaches a level of 4196.2’ or more. 5’ draft boats should not attempt to use the marina until the lake is 4197.2’ and 6’ draft boats should wait until the lake is at least 4198. This will give you about a 1’ clearance on approach.
The GPS coordinates for the path listed below will take you over the Buffalo Reef complex so be careful when using them. It is a shortcut across the reef. Use the above listed rules for the marina mouth when using the path. In other words, with a four foot draft, do not attempt the path until the water level is 4196.2. There is no need to sail a path farther north than this since, if the water is below this depth, the marina is unusable anyway.
GPS Coordinates for Approaching the Marina
NAME NORTH WEST NOTE
AIM1 41° 01.340’ 112° 19.425’ 2.2 miles WSW of Buffalo Point
AIM2 41° 02.722’ 112° 19.555’ 2.2 miles WNW of Buffalo Point
AIM3 41° 03.111’ 112° 19.487’
AIM 4 41° 03.455’ 112° 19.253’ Start heading northwest
AIM5 41° 03.713’ 112° 19.028’
AIM6 41° 04.038’ 112° 18.533’
AIM7 41° 04.430’ 112° 17.687’
AIM8 41° 04.544’ 112° 17.196’ Start heading east
AIM9 41° 04.554’ 112° 15.949’ Begin heading southeast
AIM10 41° 04.286’ 112° 15.093’
AIM11 41° 04.056’ 112° 14.701’
AIM12 41° 03.930’ 112° 14.512’ You should clearly see the entrance of the marina now
All GPS Coordinate are in Datum WGS 84
There are two docks at the Antelope Island Marina. The first dock you approach (NW dock) when you enter the marina has larger slips. These are primarily 30’ and 35’ slips and have running water but no electricity.
The southeast dock, the smaller dock, does contain side tie for larger boats but is primarily 25’ slips. There is a pump out facility on this dock along with running water and electrical hook-ups.
In total there are 92 slips in the marina. But, during lower lake levels, only the first four outer slips on the northwest dock are useable. The two long side tie slips on the eastern dock are deeper as are some of the outer slips. Do not try to go too far in on either dock. The marina is very shallow with a very rocky bottom between the two docks and along the western side of the western dock.
There are two vault style restrooms in the marina parking lot. There is also a launch ramp and running water at the top of the ramp.
Slip Rent Reciprocity
If you have a slip at the Great Salt Lake Marina you have a reciprocity agreement with Antelope Island State Park. This reciprocity agreement allows you one week slip rent free at the Antelope Island Marina. The reciprocity does not include vehicles, though. If you have family or friends driving to the island to meet you they will have to pay the entrance fee. Please remember to check in with the Ranger on duty by hailing Antelope Island Ranger Base before taking a slip.
Bugs and the Famous “No-See-Ums”
Mosquitoes are present throughout the spring, summer and winter season. They are mostly active at sunset and sunrise. Make sure you have repellant. The mosquitoes can be quite thick at times.
The No-See-Ums are very active from spring and into mid June. These small biting bugs can barely be seen and love to bight along the hairline. Repellent can be somewhat effective but does not work on No-See-Ums as well as mosquitoes. Netting over the cockpit or over your head is the best method for avoiding bites. No-See-Ums die off during the first hot week of the summer. Usually mid June.
Dogs on the Island
Dogs are allowed on the island but they must remain on the leash. Leash laws are strictly enforced. A dog off the leash could lead to a very stiff fine. No dogs are allowed on the beach at Bridger Bay.
Currently there are kayak, canoe, peddle boat, and even bike rentals right at the marina. Rentals are provided at J&M Island Adventures. Check with the front gate on marine band 16 prior to planning on using this service. J&M Island Adventures is not always open.
Kayak: $20.00 for the first two hours, and $5.00 per person for each additional hour. $55.00 for the day.
Canoe: $30.00 for the first two hours, or $80.00 for the day.
Bicycles: $13.00 per hour
You can even plan on a horseback riding trip on the island. For reservations call 888-878-8002 Please provide 48 hour notice. Group size can be no more than 10 per ride. Children must be over 6 years old. Cost starts at $50.00 for the first hour.
There are many great hiking trails on the Island. The most popular is the Frary Peak Trailhead
Buffalo Island Grill
Located on the beach in Bridger Bay, the Buffalo Island Grill is one of the newest inclusions to Antelope Island. I have personally sampled the food there and it is great food served with a friendly smile. YELP gives it four out of five stars. The restaurant has a good view overlooking Bridger Bay.
The menu includes, of course, Buffalo Burgers. But it also features a great Philly Steak Sandwich, fish & chips, traditional burgers, buffalo bratwurst, sodas, juices, fries, etc. The Grill is open most days from lake spring through fall. But, if the weather is inclement, you may want to call the front gate and ask if the grill is open today. The grill is a long walk from the marina but is doable. It is a better bike ride though. There are also showers located next to the grill. Bring quarters for the hot showers, or just use the outside cold showers.
Located at the top of Bridger Bay, on a hill overlooking the marina, is the Visitor Center. The center offers outstanding views of the lake. You can see almost all the islands on the lake from there. The only islands not seen from there are Gunnison and Dolphin islands on the north half of the lake.
The visitor center has an auditorium that plays a 20 minute film of the lake and the island. There is also featured art work from local artists along with Indian artifacts and other historic memorabilia from the lake. There is also a brine shrimp aquarium and an interactive display of the different lake levels over the tens of thousands of years.
The visitor center also has a very nice gift shop, selling trinkets, books, maps, cameras and other items. There is a vending machine for beverages and restrooms with running water but no showers. Visitor center hours in the summer are 9am to 6pm, and winter hours are 9am to 5pm. It is within walking distance from the marina.
Fielding Garr Ranch House
The Fielding Garr Ranch house is definitely worth the visit, although it is several miles south of the marina on the “East Road”. It is probably too far for a day walk. Biking to the ranch is possible though. It is located at Garr Springs just over half way down the island on the east side. Garr Springs and the Garr Ranch provide beautiful views in a shaded grove.
The original cabin was built in 1848. The house is the oldest adobe structure still standing in Utah. All the structures are still standing and can be toured including the barn corrals, milk house and much of the old machinery. Guided tours are possible.
Hours of operation are:
Summer: 9am to 6pm
Winter: 9am to 5pm