Indian Bay & Unicorn Point Anchorages

 

Indian Bay and Unicorn Point Day Anchorages
Indian Bay and Unicorn Point both are nice anchorages. They should be considered as day anchorages only and in mild seas as neither offer protection from the waves. Both anchorages offer good holding for anchors in a sandy bottom. The navigation and anchorage instructions are on a lake level of 4198.0’ above sea level. For lower lake levels you may need to anchor farther southwest of each location. All GPS coordinates listed here are in datum WGS 84.
 
 
Indian Bay
The first anchorage, Indian Bay, is a popular afternoon destination. It is the southernmost bay on the west end of Antelope Island. Molly’s Nipple is just to the northwest of the anchorage site and makes a nice day hike. Make sure you get permission from the Antelope Island Ranger Base before taking this hike. The path to the anchorage is marked in red on the map above.
 
Navigation to Indian Bay
Indian Bay anchorage is 6.9 nautical miles northeast of the Great Salt Lake Marina and can be reached in less than two hours of sailing. Bearing to Indian Bay is 348° magnetic from the marina entrance. But do not sail this bearing. It will take you right over the Goggins Reef. Instead stay west of 40° 47.610’ x 112° 12.900’ (GGN1 path coordinate) to clear Goggins Reef. Once you are north of that coordinate you can steer right towards Indian Bay on a heading of 355° magnetic.
 
Anchoring
 The anchorage coordinate is 40° 50.910’ north by 112° 12.365’ west. At a lake level of 4198.0’ 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 of this location the bottom continues to rise and you may begin to encounter a somewhat rocky or tufa bottom.
 
The Island will still be 9/10ths of a mile east of the anchorage. So bring a means to get to shore.
 
Ashore
Indian Bay is part of what is known in the search and rescue community as “Wash Ashore Beach” as this is where much of the flotsam caught in the Jordan River Current gets deposited. I am always amazed at some of the things I find on this stretch of beach. Molly’s Nipple is an easy day hike from here.
 
There are some rules though when you go to shore. 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 country 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
·         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.
 
 
Unicorn Point Anchorage
Unicorn Point anchorage is just off the southwest tip of Antelope Island. Although not as popular as Indian Bay, Unicorn Point provides access to the southern tip of Antelope Island where many interesting artifacts are located. There is an old rusted truck on beach and the rail system for launching Brigham Young’s boat The Timely Gull is located here. If you look hard you may even find the remnants of The Timely Gull. Do not disturb or take artifacts from the vessel though as it is protected. The path into the Unicorn Point anchorage is marked in green on the above map.
 
Navigation to Unicorn Point
Unicorn Point anchorage is 6.1 nautical miles northeast of the Great Salt Lake Marina and can be reached in less than two hours of sailing. Bearing to Indian Bay is 355° magnetic from the marina entrance. But do not sail this bearing. It will take you right over the Goggins Reef. Instead stay west of 40° 47.610’ x 112° 12.900’ (GGN1 path coordinate) to clear Goggins Reef. Once you are north of that coordinate you can steer right towards Unicorn Point on a heading of 12° magnetic.
 
Anchoring
 The anchorage coordinate is 40° 50.056’ north by 112° 11.427’ west. At a lake level of 4198.0’ 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 of this location the bottom continues to rise and you may begin to encounter a somewhat rocky or tufa bottom.
 
The Island will still be one mile northeast of the anchorage. So bring a means to get to shore.
 
Ashore
Unicorn Point has some fascinating areas that can be accessed. Once you are ashore you will have some great views of the Oquirrhs. To the south you will see the Wreck of the Hesparus. 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 waves 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 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 its moorings during a strong gale. Ironically she came to rest on Unicorn Point not too 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.
 
I wish I knew the story of the rusted truck. I’m sure it was amusing.
 
There are some rules though when you go to shore. 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 country permit and fees. For questions about the permitting process you can call the park headquarters at 801-550-6165.
 
For the “Do’s and Don’ts” ashore please see the above section of Indian Bay.