Frary Peak on Antelope Island State Park is not only the highest point on the island, but also the most beautiful trail that offers 360 degree views of the Great Salt Lake, the Wasatch Mountains, and views of the cities. This hike is best to hike between November-March when the horseflies are gone for winter. After March, it is recommended to wear head nets to protect your face against the flies. Along this trail you may see Buffalo, Antelope, and other small animals.
In addition to hiking, Antelope Island is popular for cyclist and runners, and a few races are held on the island. Millions of birds congregate along the shores, offering unparalleled opportunities for bird watching. The Fielding Garr Ranch House (located at the southern end of the island) is an important part of the island and distinctive for two reasons. 1) it is the oldest continually inhabited Anglo home in Utah, and 2) it is the oldest Anglo built house in Utah on its original foundation. Antelope Island is part of what is known as the Basin and Range, stretching from the Wasatch mountains to the east Sierra Nevada mountains to the west. Antelope Island encompass 28,000 acres, stretching 15 miles long, and about 5 miles at its widest.
What’s that smell??
The Great Salt Lake supports bacteria whose byproduct is rotten-egg smelling hydrogen sulfide. The worst smell is while crossing the causeway. Once you reach the island, the smell goes away.
From SLC head north on I-15, and take exit 332 for Antelope Drive. Drive across the causeway, and at your first road split, veer left. Turn left again following the signs for Frary Peak Trail.
Frary Peak, seen from the Causeway.
Follow the signs for Frary Peak Trail.
Distance: 7.2 miles RT
Elevation gain: 2,015 ft
Time: 3-4 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, on leash
Kid friendly? No
Fees? $10 entrance fee per car
Frary Peak Trailhead
The trail begins steeply, working it’s way up for about the first mile.
You’ll notice that the whole island does not have any shade nor water. Be prepared to carry a minimum of 3 L of water per person, and wear and hat and bring sunblock.
At 0.7 miles stay left at the trail split. Going right takes you to Dooley Knob.
First view of the Great Salt Lake to the West.
The trail is marked every 1/2 mile with a brown mileage sign.
The trail cuts through this large rock area, with the trail going into it, then coming out the other side.
My friend Dave poses after coming out of the rock outcropping.
Working your way up the mountain, there are several overlooks for photo opportunities. This is one of the first overlooks. I just love seeing the Wasatch mountains from a distance with the snow covered peaks!
The trail stays close the ridge, but more on the West side.
Getting closer – in Spring this trail can still be muddy especially after recent rains or snow melt.
Reach the tower.
Once you reach the weather tower and mile 3, you have two options for reaching the peak. My recommendation is to head right, down the more popular route, and up to the peak. It gets very steep in parts, but I prefer hiking up steep trails rather than hiking down steeply.
Once you are at the top, I like to come back along the ridge, hiking in a counter clock-wise direction. However, if you are feeling super adventurous you can hike up and down the ridge.
We started off going right, down the main trail.
The trail stays on the West slope of the peak, eventually wrapping around the South side of the peak.
Hike up two small switchbacks.
Last push to the summit!
Looking down the ridge, how I would go back down.
Finally on the summit!
Taking in the whole view!
On the way down, I took the ridge instead of the trail. It’s an easy ridge if you have experience. If you’ve never hiked along a ridge, then I wouldn’t take this route. This route is only fun for experienced hikers/climbers. Passing an old burned tree along the ridge.
My favorite section of the ridge scramble. Be careful as several areas require scrambling and there are big cliffs. If you are careful, and do a little route finding, you’ll never have to jump or need assistance from a friend. I was able to get down on my own.
Love hiking on ridges!
Almost done with hiking along the ridge.
When I hike down this ridge, everything goes inside my pack including sunglasses. In the past I’ve had stuff fall out and there’s no way to get down to it. Keep your stuff secure on the climbs.
Work your way down the same way you hiked up.
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Trail Map via Gaia GPS – the best route tracker. Download yours here!