While planning this roadtrip a few months earlier, I found an app called Roadtrippers. It suggests attractions & other cool places near your selected driving route. That’s how I came across Antelope Island State Park in Utah.
I googled the park, saw a few photos, fell in love, and decided it was a priority for the roadtrip. Antelope Island looked so amazing in photos, I decided I had to spend my birthday there. It was the one place I was most excited to visit on the whole trip.
On January 28 (my birthday), my friend and I woke up in Salt Lake City. We hopped in the car and headed north, arriving at Antelope Island State Park in the early afternoon. We drove down the mile-long access road, surrounded by water on both sides, to enter the park. The beauty of the park was immediately visible. We parked as soon as we could to take in the view and get a few photos.
The sky reflected so perfectly off of the glassy water, it was hard to tell where the sky stops and the water starts.
The main road takes you around part of the park, to hiking trails, beaches, and camping spots. We got out of the car every few minutes, and I was in awe at every stop. The muted winter colors of the landscape–beige sand and dusty yellow shrubs, grey-green waters and rust-colored rocks–were stunning.
One of our first stops was the Buffalo Point trail, which took us up to a rock-covered hill where we could see out over the island. From there, I got an incredible view of the rolling hills and glassy waters.
Overall, I was surprised by how quiet it was. The park was desolate that day; I only saw a few other cars as we were driving, and I never once saw another person. Standing on top of the hill, I felt like I must have been in another world. It didn’t feel like Earth–this must be another planet, I thought. The pure beauty, the isolation, and the peace and quiet washed over me.
We walked down to the beach and out onto the dry lake bed. It was a tough walk, but we went as far as we could. There are also some buffalo living on the island, the only wildlife we saw. Half of the island is still inaccessible by car, only accessible by foot.
Going to Antelope Island was absolutely the best way to spend my birthday. As much as I enjoy visiting new cities, going to museums and coffee shops, and meeting new people, I am happiest when I’m alone (or mostly alone) in nature. It was revitalizing to be in such a quiet place.
If you have the chance to visit Antelope Island State Park, go.
Location: North of Salt Lake City, Utah (map)
Hours: Park is open daily 6 am – 10 pm
Admission: $10 per vehicle
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