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Bison Encounters and Beyond: Antelope Island to Anderson Cove

After the electric energy of Salt Lake City, we yearned for the serenity of nature. Antelope Island State Park, a short drive northwest of the city, beckoned us with its unique landscape. Camping right on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, we were treated to breathtaking sunsets, unbelievable stargazing, and an abundance of wildlife.

Antelope Island State Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The island is home to a herd of free-ranging bison, as well as mule deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and many other desert animals. Millions of birds congregate along the shores surrounding the island, offering unparalleled opportunities for birding.

The undisputed highlight of our stay was encountering a herd of majestic bison roaming free across the island. Witnessing these gentle giants up close was a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. Pro Tip: Bison are wild animals, so remember to maintain a safe distance and observe them from afar.

We also enjoyed a bike ride through the park on our own bikes, but if you don’t have bikes, you can rent e-bikes (helmet included) from Antelope E-bikes. They are open year round.

While Antelope Island offered stunning scenery and wildlife sightings, we encountered a bit of a challenge with no-see-ums (those tiny, pesky biting insects). Active from April to June, these little critters proved to be relentless, even with bug repellent. Unfortunately, when the breeze died down, they swarmed us, forcing us to spend most of our time inside the van and ultimately cutting our stay short.

Determined to enjoy some lake time, we continued north through Ogden, Utah, and landed at Anderson Cove Campground. Nestled on the shores of Pineview Reservoir, this picturesque spot offered the perfect opportunity for our first paddle board adventure! Gliding across the cool water surrounded by stunning scenery was pure bliss. And even though I was a little hesitant, this was the first time on this trip that I felt confident enough to take my shirt off and go topless. Only 5 months post top surgery that was a big accomplishment.

Pro Tip: If Anderson Cove Campground is full, don’t fret! Head up Highway 39 through Huntsville, where you’ll find a variety of campgrounds within the scenic Cache National Forest.

Pro Tip: to avoid the day use fee at Anderson Cove, there’s free parking plus a kayak/paddle board launch at the Beach Parking Area off N 7100 E north of Huntsville.

From wildlife encounters to paddling adventures, our journey beyond Salt Lake City continued to surprise and delight. If you want to travel like us, you can rent Redski, a 2017 Vandoit from Nomad Be Happy or if you’re ready to take the full plunge into vanlife, get in touch with Vandoit to build your dream van! Stay tuned for more Outshine Adventures as we explore the hidden gems of Utah!

We acknowledge that the land we visited (Antelope Island and the Salt Lake Valley) was stolen from and is the traditional ancestral homelands of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute, and Ute tribes. To learn more about why land acknowledgement of Indigenous peoples is important, please visit native-land.ca.

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