Where the Buffalo Roam: Antelope Island State Park
From the moment I knew we would be visiting Antelope Island State Park, on one of the Great Salt Lake’s islands, “Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play,” played on repeat in my brain. Just writing that line has had me silently singing it non-stop as I write this post.
The drive to get to the state park entrance had us driving over a “bridge” which was really just a built up road dividing a section of the dried up lake. We headed to the marina, which was kind of a joke considering that a few boats and jet skis were literally beached due the low levels of the lake. One of the volunteers told us that the lake is currently at the lowest level in 60 years.
With the car parked, we hopped out to take in one of the views of the lake, and quickly I spotted my first bison followed by my second. Geoff and I scrambled down a rock wall to get a closer view. Both massive creatures continued eating grass paying us no attention other than an occasional glance.
These majestic creatures seem so serene from a distance, but after a trip to the visitor center, we quickly learned of their aggressiveness if threatened. One of the biggest indicators that a bison is irritated by your presence is that it stops feeding and started stares at you.
We spent the majority of our visit driving the state park’s roads. Bison herds were everywhere we looked. Twice we had to stop the car to allow a bison to cross the road. Both bison that crossed in front of our car ambled across the road careless as to who or what was waiting on them. In fact this particular herd of bison had an air about them that said f-off. Maybe they knew that we nearly hunted them to extinction at one point. Or perhaps they were just bitter because they know bison burgers are sold at the one and only restaurant on the premise. Either way, when you make eye contact with one, it’s not a welcoming feeling.
Our last stop in the park was a ranch which had seen a tornado destroy its barn only a few weeks earlier. Peeled back as if with a can opener, the barn sat exposed and off limits to all visitors. We explored the premise lingering among the resident horses more than anywhere else. I decided to try my hand at roping a cattle-shaped sawhorse, and to both of our surprise, actually managed to get the lasso around the horns.
We spent a leisurely afternoon walking, driving , and sightseeing around Antelope Island State Park. After viewing hundreds of bison, we were rewarded with two of the island’s name namesake, the lonely antelope. They blended in with the grasses and were hard to spot among the dark herds of bison.
It was the perfect choice after a morning of mountain climbing, hiking, and zip lining. The only thing better than riding around this island in a car would have been doing it by horseback. So if you are in Salt Lake City, make the drive and see where the buffalo roam and the antelope play.