White Rock Bay & Split Rock Bay Anchorages
White Rock Bay and Split Rock Bay are both nice anchorages on the northern end of Antelope Island. White Rock Bay is the larger of the two and is named for the large white rock island located in the southern half of the bay. The bay faces west and provides good protection from the Weber Canyon drainage winds. Yet this anchorage can be very bumpy when the winds are from the north or the south. Much of the northern end of the bay is filled with bioherms which can make anchoring a boat difficult. In shallow water years groundings are likely anywhere north of White Rock. Anchoring southwest of the rock should pose no problem in the shallow water years though.
White Rock Bay is a popular Labor Day anchorages with the Davis County Balloon Stampede being held that weekend. Hot air balloons, kites and fireworks are popular attractions as are the food venders and live music.
Split Rock Bay is the small bay just south of White Rock Bay. The two bays are separated by Elephant Head. This bay is so named for the two large rocks in the southern end of the bay that look like they were split apart down the center. The bay has a spring that runs down near the center and is bordered on the south by Mormon Rocks. Split Rock Bay should be considered a Day Anchorage only since it offers no protection from the south and north winds and the holding ground here can be tricky. But swimming in the clear waters or hiking up to Split Rock can make for a nice afternoon activity before returning to White Rock or Antelope Island Marina.
Navigation to White Rock Bay
Navigation to White Rock Bay is very straight forward. The only thing to keep in mind is staying well to the west of Antelope Island as you pass Cambria Point (the center of the island). Cambria Point has a very shallow shelf that juts out nearly a mile from the beach. Plan on staying at least two miles west of Cambria Point as you sail north along the island.
White Rock Bay is 16.5 nautical miles NNW of Great Salt Lake State Marina. The best approach is to sail 332° magnetic until you have Split Rock Bay off your starboard beam. From there you can head right for White Rock Island choosing an anchor spot southwest to west of the rock. The waypoints listed below will lead you along a bottom trench to the preferred anchorage site. There are some bioherms here but they are smaller and there is plenty of sand for an anchor to grab.
GPS Coordinates for White Rock Bay Approach
All listed waypoints are in Datum WGS84
NAME NORTH WEST NOTE
WR 1 40° 59.423’ 112° 16.061’
WR 2 40° 59.660’ 112° 15.928’ Preferred Anchor Site
WR 3 40° 59.874’ 112° 15.760’ Preferred Anchor Site
WR 4 41° 00.064’ 112° 15.546’
WR 5 41° 00.277 112° 15.287’ Puts your bow at the rock.
The preferred anchorage is outlined on the map above and is just west of waypoint WR3 and WR4. Anchoring closer to the rock is possible but the bioherms become more prevalent which could cause some challenges in getting an anchor to hold. Anchoring north or northwest of the rock is not recommended. Bioherms are shallow and plentiful in this area.
Ashore in White Rock Bay
White Rock itself is a rookery and is protected in the spring and early summer. Avoid climbing on the rock during this time. But there should be no problem late summer and fall other than dive bombing seagulls.
White Rock Bay is part of the 3000 acre open access area of Antelope Island Marina. There are no restrictions beaching here and hiking the shores or hills. There are numerous hiking trails along Buffalo Point and Elephant Head. Do not hike south of Elephant Head without prior permission from Antelope Island Management. The area south of Elephant Head is a restricted access area.
There are restrooms in the bay along with camping in designated areas. Often you will be able to spy bison. If you are up there during Labor Day weekend you may be able to see fireworks, hot air balloons, large kite flying competitions and live bands.
Beware that no-see-ums and deer flies can be a nuisance in the spring and early summer. The no-see-ums disappear after the first hot week of the summer but deer flies and mosquitoes hang around until fall.
White Rock Bay and sunrise. Hot air balloons can be seen in the background. White Rock Island is in the foreground
Navigation to Split Rock Bay
As is the case with White Rock Bay, navigating to Split Rock Bay is straight forward. Just follow the directions for White Rock Bay. Once Split Rock Bay is off your beam head right for the center of the bay. As you navigate towards the bay you will be sailing over a ridge that rises fairly abruptly.
GPS Coordinates for Split Rock Bay
All GPS waypoints are in Datum WGS84
NAME NORTH WEST NOTE
SR 3 40° 58.837’ 112° 16.125’
SR 2 40° 58.793’ 112° 15.853’
SR 1 40° 58.789’ 112° 15.651
Even in normal water years you will not be able to anchor inside the bay. You will have to choose a spot in about eight feet of water to the west of the bay. As you get closer there are rocks and bioherms that can pose challenges to anchoring and holding.
Split Rock Bay is bordered to the north by Elephant Head and to the south by Mormon Rocks. If you look to the base of the Mormon Rocks ridge line you will notice two large rocks laying at the base of the valley. The rocks appear to have been torn apart. This is Split Rock and the coordinates are 40° 58.726’ by 112° 14.665’.
Just centered in the bay is a spring that runs down from the hills above. There is also a dirt road that climbs from the southern beach up along the spring to the upper ridge trail. The beach here is ok but bring along a good pair of hiking shoes.
Remember that Split Rock Bay is part of the restricted access area. Hiking above the beach line is prohibited without obtaining prior permission from Antelope Island Park management.