Antelope Island: How To Hike Frary Peak

Last updated: June 21st, 2023 | Originally published: May 28, 2023
Antelope Island Utah

Hiking Frary Peak on Antelope Island is one of the best things to do in the Salt Lake Valley. The 360-degree panorama at the top is exceptional, and plays host to a commanding view of the Great Salt Lake.

On your way to the top you might see some wildlife. Without trying we saw two coyotes, two bison, a large mule deer, and a big-horned sheep. This uncommon parade of beasties made an incredible journey even more memorable.

Good things aside, this is an arduous hike. It’s going to take 4-6 hours of your time, and for stretches you’ll feel unappreciated by the stark, unforgiving rock on which you tread. It’s worth it in the end, and along the way your sweat and curses will be rewarded with phenomenal vistas.

We think the heat stroke and numb toes are worth it. Definitely worth it. Very little doubt about it.

Basic Information

Antelope Island Utah
Frary Peak

Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. It received its name after bands of antelope were found — and eaten — by the first known anglos to arrive in 1843. Antelope are an amazing animal. They are fast, jump very high, and apparently are also delicious.

The Island is 15 miles long and 5 miles wide. Frary Peak is the highest point on the island at 6,596 feet above sea level (2000′ above the lake).

The trail is 8-miles out-and-back with 2100′ of elevation gain.

Antelope Island Utah

How to Get To Antelope Island

To get there, head west from the town of Layton, Utah.

Here is a MAP to the trailhead from Layton.

Here’s a MAP to the trailhead from Salt Lake City.

And here’s a MAP to the trailhead from New York City.

If you are coming from New York City we recommend you crash at an AirBnb or hotel and then just use the Salt Lake City map. Here’s a MAP to Salt Lake City from New York City.

Mile By Mile: Frary Peak

Hiking Fray Peak

Hiking Antelope Island is similar to the rhythm of life: Good days and bad days, good miles and bad miles. One minute you’re dying, the next you’re awestruck… then back to dying. Just like raising kids.

You might think that 2,000′ of elevation gain isn’t bad when spread over four miles. Problem is, the elevation isn’t distributed evenly amongst the miles. To help you understand what we’re talking about we have broken the hike into four neat and evenly distributed pieces.

Mile One: Antelope Island

Antelope Island Utah
Antelope Island — End of Mile One

The first mile is inhospitably steep. You will enjoy a brisk ascent from the trailhead and the incline doesn’t let up for awhile. That’s the bad news. The good news is the views aren’t good either. Bad views don’t make you huff and puff — hence the good news. Honestly, there is no good news.

If you have children with you, God bless you. We hope you brought bribes. And alcohol. It’s up to you who drinks the alcohol.

Frary Peak

Eventually you’ll wind around the west side of the island and the lake will come into view. When the trail flattens out you’ll probably forget all about that awful first mile…

But your children won’t. Unless you gave them the alcohol. Up to you.

Mile Two: Antelope Island

Antelope Island Utah
Antelope Island Fray Peak

Mile two is beautiful. The initial panorama of the lake with the beach and the bay continues to improve as you wind lakeside. The valleys descending to the water are stark and dramatic. Keep your eyes out for wildlife here. We didn’t see any — But you might! It looks like a place animals should roam.

Eventually you will begin to ascend up the west side of the mountain. The good news is you won’t even care cause the views keep getting better. And there’s no bad news!

Moreover, eventually you’ll find yourself in a small saddle with views of both sides. The town of Layton and the Wasatch Mountain Range are on the east, the Great Salt Lake is on the west.

These are the good, old days. Soak it up. Tell those drunken kids you love them.

Mile Three: Antelope Island

Antelope Island Utah

Mile three of Antelope Island Frary Peak is one of the all-time worst miles we have ever hiked. Do you see that lady in pink with thumbs down gesture? She gets it — she did it a few hours earlier. Do you see the very top of that yellow hill in the upper right corner? That’s pretty much where you’re headed.

Hopefully you hit the trail early — if it’s extra warm out, the next 5,280 feet are unmitigated suffering. And what does that mean, exactly?

It means yellow uphill terrain with no end in sight.

Thankfully for us, this is where the mule deer introduced herself. From nowhere she bolted across our path at full speed. It was frightening if I’m being honest. She was flippin’ huge and had a large collar on her neck. In an instant she was gone and we were left yammering about what the heck just happened.

Mile Four: Antelope Island

Valley View — Antelope Island Frary Peak

Mile three ends mercifully with a breeze and a dramatic, south-facing valley above the lake. It is quite incredible to arrive here. At minimum it beats the hell out of a dirt path and yellow grass, but it is a spectacular vista on any occasion.

Once the thrill of the valley wears off, you can see that there is yet a higher peak to attain. That’s where you’re going. The direct path up the ridge to the left is NOT THE WAY. It looks like it should be the way, but it also looks precipitous. There is a warning saying this isn’t the way because IT IS NOT THE WAY.

Antelope Island Utah
The final ascent — Antelope Island Fray Peak

The way to the top is actually to the right of the sketchy ridge with the warning sign. The path might not be visible at first, but you will eventually spot it as you approach. The path crosses the valley in front of the peak. It was our favorite stretch of the hike, with a slight element of danger.

This is where we saw the big-horned sheep. He was standing in the middle of the trail about 20 yards ahead of us. Unfortunately he had a personality disorder or something, because he took one look at us and walked straight down the frigging cliff. Are we really all that bad? What did we ever do to a big horned sheep? Nothing, absolutely nothing. He’s just a classless loser.

Offensive as it were, it was one of the most boss things I have ever witnessed.

Once you traverse the cliff face you will wind for an easy 15 minutes to the peak.

The Payoff View at Frary Peak

Antelope Island Hiking

High on a mountain top a banner is unfurled, ye nations all look up, it waves to all the world. In Deseret’s sweet peaceful land. On Zion’s mount behold it stand.

Like we stated at the beginning, the 360-degree panorama at Frary Peak is vintage Utah. There is something different to observe in every direction.

I like the south-facing view with the stark peaks running in succession toward the corner of the lake (photo below). Monica prefers the view north-east (two photos below). The above photo is north-west.

Antelope Island Utah

One of the perks to hiking Frary Peak on Antelope Island is not many people do it. We had the peak to ourselves for an hour. We never saw anyone on the trail either, except for some nut-job hiking down the mountain about 0900.

I just lied to you. While we were lounging and resting our numb toes, some twenty-something dude jogged up to the peak with his shirt off. He posed for a quick selfie — barely breaking stride — and without pause began running back down the mountain.

Gotta love the outdoorsy folk in Utah. They are a special breed of nut.

An Honest Conclusion for Antelope Island Frary Peak

We lived in SLC for ten months and met very few people who had completed this hike. Most folk paid surprisingly little mind to Antelope Island. Our enthusiasm was met with a lot of, “Oh yeah. I went there when I was a kid and haven’t been back.”

It smells horrible at the level of the lake. Horrible. Once you arrive at the Frary Peak trailhead you are above the stink, but most folk don’t get that far. Perhaps this is why no one returns to Antelope Island? One rank whiff as a kid turned them off for life?

We are going to bang the drum nonetheless. This is an unusual hiking experience with views we haven’t seen anywhere else. We felt a distinct sense of accomplishment by the end of the trail, and we celebrated by overpaying for sushi in Ogden.

And that’s it! Thank you for stopping by our website! We are the Hoffmann family, a full-time RV family that has split residence in Seattle, Washington and San Antonio, Texas. We have special needs children that we homeschool, and work travel assignments for the Veteran Affairs Hospital. If you would like to learn more about us, check out our Start Here and Biography pages. In the meantime, God bless and travel happy!

Hiking Fray Peak
Antelope Island Frary Peak

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *