Dooly Knob is located in the center east side of Antelope Island at 40.9948,-112.210236. It is a 5,278-foot high knob that can be reached by taking a spur trail off the Frary Peak Trail. The knob juts out with 188 foot prominence from low ridgeline and is topped with a rocky crag. From the knob’s summit, you get a nice view of the Wasatch Front, the Great Salt Lake and the grassy plain below. On most days, you should be able to spot buffalo herds grazing on the surrounding hillsides. It’s one of those “roads less traveled” and you’ll most likely have it to yourself to zen out, contemplate and otherwise solve the world’s ills
The hike to Dooly Knob starts at the Frary Peak Trailhead, located at 40.994379,-112.202554. The trailhead has a large parking lot with room for 20+ vehicles and plenty of room for horse trailers. There aren’t any water or bathroom facilities available, so bring water and empty bladder before you hike. The Trailhead has sign with distances and outlines the hike.
From the trailhead, follow the trail west up the side of the mountain. The trail is well marked, but modestly steep. The trail zig-zags up the hillside until it reaches the ridge (about .75 mile). Once on the ridge, you can see Frary Peak to the west and Dooly Knob to the east. A short ways on the ridgeline, the trail splits on the ridge with a sign to Dooly Knob (right) and Frary Peak (left). Follow the right hand trail north-east toward Dooley (about another .5 mile). Since you can see the knob the whole way along the ridgeline, it’s a little difficult to get lost. The trail is beaten down and easy to follow but it does get a touch steep going up the knob at the end. Finally, climb the rocks (YDS 2) the last 10 feet to the summit and there you are. Enjoy the view!
Dooly Knob, while not presenting any credible challenge to most experienced hikers, it steep/difficult enough to entertain casual island visitors. It is kid friendly enough so that it is safe enough for smaller children. Slow hike time is about 1 to 2 hours round trip. Be sure to bring bug spray, sunscreen and water during summer months. The buffalo herd sometimes grazes on the ridgeline (as evidenced by hundreds of bison flops) so be prepared to wait them out.
Trailhead Elevation: 4,350 feet
Saddle Elevation: 5,090 feet
Peak Elevation: 5,278 Feet
Distance: ~1.25 miles one way
Trailhead to Summit Elevation gain: ~ 930 feet
Prominence: 188 feet
Isolation : 2.25 miles
WHEN TO CLIMB
Dooly Knob on Antelope Island is open year round.
The best times to tour the Island and attempt any of the island peaks are in the late fall, early spring and winter when the crowds are sparse and the flies in hibernation. In addition, there seems to be more animal activity during the day increasing the likelihood of getting that great camera shot. For late fall and early spring visits, you will most likely encounter some light snow on the ground but not anything you’d need special shoes for. The area around the island is great for winter snowshoeing and possibly cross country skiing.
Take exit 332 of I-15, drive west on Antelope Drive through Syracuse toward the Great Salt Lake. You can see Antelope Island from the Highway but it’s still 15 miles. Once you reach the lake, pay the $9 entry fee and drive onto the causeway. The Causeway is about 7.5 miles long. Once across, you’ll see an Air Force/ Special Forces Memorial and a small Marina. Follow the signs to the Frary Peak trailhead (1st left right after the causeway, head generally south…trailhead is on the east side of the island about 6 miles from the causeway).
Facilities on the island include rest rooms, hot shower rooms, picnic/group shelters, boat launches, marina, cafés, information and a large Visitor Center.
A little HistoryDooly Knob is named after John Dooly Sr who was basically responsible for saving the American Bison as a species. He and George Frary imported 12 buffalo in 1893 to the island. Mr. Dooly, a rancher who bought Antelope Island for $1,000,000 in 1884, wasn’t motivated by any great humanitarian inspiration but was looking to make some pocket money by providing big game hunters one last opportunity to shoot an extinct species. John Dooly Sr, John Dooly Jr. and the Island Improvement Group, owned the island from 1884-1972 and ran an extensive sheep and cattle ranching operation. In 1981 Utah bought out the last of the Island Improvement Group and converted the Island to a State Park. The final cattle herds were removed in 1984 and Antelope Island is now home to a 700 animal bison herd…probably John Dooly’s most lasting legacy.
Red Tape and CampingRED TAPE
Red tape for Antelope Island is fairly extensive and ranges from “dogs aren’t allowed on trails” to “campfires are prohibited outside of camping areas”. See the State’s website for detailed information and fees. You are on state land everywhere on the island and the Great State of Utah is determined that Antelope Island will remain a viable, interesting nature preserve for generations to come. Rangers do patrol the island and issue warnings/citations for ad-hoc, independently planned off-trail travel. Check out the regulations before you visit.
There are 2 campsites for reservation located on the north part of the island.
Bridger Bay Campground is the larger of the two with 26 primitive sites available. The sites include picnic tables, fire pits, and toilets are available. There isn’t, however water or electricity available. No horses are allowed
White Rock Bay Campground is smaller with 12 primitive sites. It is similar with picnic tables, fire pits, and toilets are available. Once again, there isn’t water or electricity available. Horses ARE allowed at this site.
Reservations may be made by calling Utah State Parks and Recreation, 322-3770 in the Salt Lake City calling area or toll-free 1-800-322-3770, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Should you decide to spend a couple of days, Antelope Island is great for running, biking, horseback riding, saltwater swimming, snowshoeing and boating. There are several places to grab a snack (in season) as well as picnic on the island.
Antelope Island’s main claim to fame is its herd of 700 free roaming American Bison. These magnificent creatures get to almost every point of the island and are invariably seen standing in herds. They are easily spotted and photographed. The herd is one of the oldest surviving herds in the US as it was spared from the extinction-level bison hunts that wiped out the huge plains herds in the 1880s. Two Utah men brought the animals to island in 1893 and essentially saved the species. As a result the herd’s vitality, the Antelope Island animals are used today to increase the genetic diversity of other free-roaming bison herds across the United States. These beautiful creatures are a vital national ecological resource.
In addition to the island’s signature bison, chances are pretty good you might also spot pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, coyotes, bobcats and/or mule deer. Since they aren’t hunted, these animals don’t hide as much as usual. The island itself was named after the pronghorn antelope that early explorers converted to rations. The original herd died out in the 1930s but a new herd of 24 was reintroduced in 1993.
While summiting the islands peaks, you’ll usually see several species of raptors soaring around the mountainsides. There is also a wide variety of local on the island including Grouse, Chuckars, and California Sea Gulls. During migration season you’ll spot everything from geese and ducks to willets and stilts along the shoreline and in the salt marshes.
Helpful Websites and ContactsWEBSITES and INFO
Park Headquarters : 801-652-2043
Visitor Center: 801-725-9263
Park Entrance Gate: 801-773-2941
Antelope Island State Park
4528 West 1700 South
Syracuse, Utah 84075-6868