Mountain biking season is upon us and those of us who weren’t able to dabble into the fat biking craze this past winter or weren’t able to travel away to a warmer area for mountain biking are definitely itching to get out on the trails. If you’re around the Salt Lake area, Antelope Island during the sunset makes for a pretty incredible ride with beautiful scenery.
Antelope Island is located approximately 41 miles north of Salt Lake City, and access to the island is via the Davis County Causeway (Antelope Island Road) only. The island offers nearly 20 miles of trails open to mountain bikers as well as hikers and horseback riders. More trails are being crafted yearly. The trails are easy to intermediate and offer spectacular views with quite a peaceful setting.
Mountain biking Antelope Island during a sunset is beyond stunning. You can’t help but stop along the trails to admire the scenery and how the sunset reflects off the water of the Great Salt Lake. It’s a very calm stillness that adds to the experience of your ride. You will also most likely see wildlife while on your ride. Bison are very prominent on Antelope Island, and if you look carefully out on the trails, you may see some pronghorn antelope that are native to Utah and the island. They camouflage very well into their surroundings. Other wildlife includes mule deer, California bighorn sheep, coyotes, badgers, bobcats and numerous birds of prey.
The Antelope Island Figure 8 trails give you a good variety of terrain. This route includes the White Rock Loop, Elephant Head Trail and Split Rock Loop. Watch for horseback riders, hikers and wildlife while on these trails. Bison like to cross over the trails, and the horses leave the trails quite bumpy. Right now there are quite a few sandy areas on the trails as well. Make sure to take advantage of the benches along the ride to stop and get a good look at your surroundings. It’s really quite breathtaking with hues of orange, pink, red, purple and blue not only in the sky, but reflecting right onto the lake.
There is a $10 per car fee to get into Antelope Island. And don’t forget the bug spray. With the warmer weather, they get pretty bad, so try not to open your mouth too much while riding unless you want to swallow a whole lot of bugs. Make sure to take water and keep in mind that there is virtually no shade along the trail. So if you plan on doing the ride before sunset, be prepared.
Despite the bugs and sometimes potent sulfur smell emanating off the of the Great Salt Lake while driving to the trails, a sunset mountain biking ride at Antelope Island is worth it. The trails may not be super technical or go beyond intermediate, but you’ll feel the burn in some of the areas while pedaling and enjoying the vistas.
For more information on Antelope Island, please visit the Utah State Park site. Visit mtbproject.com for more information on the trails.