The Goggins Anchorage is just west of where the Goggins River drains into the Great Salt Lake and provides some fantastic bird watching. White pelicans and seagulls abound here during the spring and summer. The anchorage also provides good protection from the sea during lake levels that are lower than 4200’ as the reef will break up incoming waves. The anchorage offers good holding for anchors in a sandy bottom.
From the anchorage you can paddle a dinghy over to Unicorn Point and explore the very southern beaches of Antelope Island. Or you can paddle up the Goggins River.
Some drawbacks of this anchorage though are the potential for bugs. They can be present at the anchorage and if you paddle up the Goggins during heavy bug activity, there is not enough repellent in the world to keep the Deer Flies off you. But the bugs aren’t always bad. I have had many bug free days at the anchorage. The bugs seem to be more active in the late spring.
The current can be strong here and the water can sometimes be murky. If you decide to swim here make sure you can get back to your boat.
To get to the Goggins anchorage you will need to cross over the Goggins Reef so it is highly recommended you do not veer from the proven plotted path shown here. Navigation and anchorage instructions are based on a lake level of 4198’ above sea level. All GPS coordinates listed here are based on datum WGS84.
Navigation To The Goggins
Navigation to the Goggins is pretty straight forward. Just remember to keep the Goggins Reef well to your east before you reach the plotted path across it. Sail a heading of 345° magnetic from the marina for 5 nautical miles before turning east. This will keep you a mile west of the reef. As you sail this heading you should pass close to the yacht club buoys ‘B’ and ‘A’. This should help you to know if you are on course Once you are five nautical miles up the lake from the marina head east and sail for waypoint GGN4. I recommend you stay right on the plotted path at this point as this path is well tested. There are some very shallow sections of the reef on each side of he plotted path. Once you reach waypoint GGN4 turn for waypoint position GGN5. Here you will begin crossing the reef. At a lake level of 4198’ you should have at least 7’ of water over the reef. Once reaching waypoint GGN5 turn towards waypoint GGN6. You are now over the heart of the reef. Keep straight on the marked path until reaching waypoint GGN7. Halfway between GGN6 and GGN7 you will drop off the reef and will have a sandy bottom under your vessel. Drop anchor near waypoint GGN7. You should have about 8’ of water here.
If you have any questions about sailing a heading of 345° magnetic just follow the waypoints listed in the table below.
GPS Coordinates for Avoiding and Crossing the Goggins Reef
NAME NORTH WEST NOTE
GGN1 40° 47.612’ 112° 12.898’
GGN2 40° 48.100’ 112° 12.635’
GGN3 40° 48.745’ 112° 12.125’
GGN4 40° 49.070’ 112° 11.695’
GGN5 40° 49.205’ 112° 11.285’ Reef begins after this waypoint
GGN6 40° 49.180’ 112° 10.635’ You are over the heart of the reef
GGN7 40° 49.095’ 112° 10.045’ Anchor near here
The anchorage coordinates are 40° 49.180’ north by 112° 10.045’ west. At a lake level of 4198’ you should be in about 8’ of water. The bottom here is sandy and offers good holding for anchors with a 7 to 1 scope. If you venture east or north of here the bottom will begin to gradually rise.
Ashore on the Island
North of the anchorage will be Unicorn Point of Antelope Island. Here there are very nice sandy beaches and much to explore. To the east will be the marshes of the Goggins. Both areas offer good exploring possibilities.
Unicorn Point has some fascinating areas to explore. Once you are ashore you will have some great views of the Oquirrh Mountains. To the north of the anchorage you will see the Wreck of the Hesperus. This was an old Galion style crane that fell off a barge during a storm. A tug was pulling the barge from Farmington Bay south around Unicorn Point. When the tug encountered the main body of Great Salt Lake she was hit with the full fury of the wave and the barge broke loose dropping the crane and a bobcat. Some days later the crew recovered the bobcat but left both the crane and the barge to rust away. The barge can still be seen on the beach near North Canal.
In the mid 1850’s Brigham Young used to access Antelope Island by boat. He had a vessel specially constructed for his use to haul cattle back and forth. The vessel was known as The Timely Gull and was one of the first craft to be used for pleasure on the Great Salt Lake. When not being used The Timely Gull was anchored off Black Rock. Once reaching Antelope Island the vessel would be pulled from the water on a cradle car that ran along rail tracks.
In 1858 The Timely Gull broke loose from her moorings during a strong gale. Ironically she came to rest on Unicorn Point not far from the rail car system used to pull her out. The Timely Gull was never recovered and rests there still. The wreck has once again become exposed with the low water years. If you find her leave her alone. She is an historic site and is protected. Because the wreck is now exposed it is also extremely sensitive.
The Timely Gull
Rail cradle for The Timely Gull
I wish I knew the story of the rusted truck on the beach. I’m sure it was amusing.
There are some rules though when going to shore on Antelope Island. You are permitted on the beach year round without permission. Going above the beach line is strictly prohibited during lambing season which is spring through mid summer. This is done to protect the animals and you. Remember that animals can be very aggressive in protecting their young. Especially the bison which are known to wander this far south down the island.
After lambing season it is possible to get a back country permit to hike above the beach line. We are currently working with the Antelope Island rangers on the back county permit and fees. For questions about the permitting process you can call the park headquarters at 801-550-6165
Do’s and Don’ts Ashore at Antelope Island
· Do not pick up antler sheds. It is illegal
· Do not build a fire. Fires are prohibited everywhere on the island except in designated fire pits. All fires are restricted during certain parts of the year.
· Do not approach animals
· Be prepared for deer flies and “no-see-ums” during the spring and early summer.
· Wear foot protection. There are cactus, stickers and sharp rocks on the beach
· Secure your dinghy or kayak to make sure it doesn’t float away.
· Make sure your vessel is well anchored before leaving it
Ashore at the Goggins
The south side of Goggins is on the inland shore preserve. Public access is ok except for hunting. The north side of Goggins is on Kennecott’s property and you may run into trespassing issues. Paddling up the Goggins should create no problems though except for bug bites. Walking up the river can be problematic. I did this once when were retrieving the 8 year old kid who had drown upstream. I found the river to have a great deal of bioherms which made the walk in the river very tough.
On the beaches of the Goggins you will find an incredible array of objects and junk that has been washed up or deposited over the years. I have found 55 gallon drums, a television set, buoys, fenders, balls, dolls and more.
I warn you once again though. Be prepared for mosquitoes, hornets, wasps, deer flies, horse flies, and during the spring, no-see-ums.