I’ve been lusting after the Stansbury Island Traverse for years. Stansbury Island is the 2nd largest island in the Great Salt Lake and the entire island is only 11.5 miles long so it can be traversed in one day.
The ridge is mostly straightforward I am told, but there are a few sections of class 4 climbing. The island is made up of 5 or so high points with Castle Rock being the highest point at at 6647 feet. You can either have a bike or car shuttle at one end or run back to your car via the dirt road for a total of 20 miles or so.
Stansbury Island is seriously one of the most beautiful places in all of Utah – the sunrises and sunsets here are amazing! The island is pure sagebrush desert with about a zillion types of rock and views stretching in every direction to the Salt Lake Valley, the Oquirrh Mountains, out to the Great Salt Lake Desert, and the entirety of the lake itself. You can seriously see everything from this island! In spring, the island is completely covered in tiny desert wildflowers so small you sometimes need to get down on your knees to see them all.
I had planned on attempting the entire Stansbury Island traverse on Friday, April 8, 2016 but I just didn’t have the time to attempt the full traverse plus cute little Kangaroo the Dog was begging for an adventure so we headed out to the island at the wee hour of 5am for the sunrise and some wandering. Good thing I hadn’t planned the full traverse since it was pitch black when we set out and I just picked a random canyon to head up, which thankfully delivered us to the proper ridge in time for the sunrise.
We traveled about four miles north along what I believed to be the main ridge before connecting to another ridge to return back to the car. The terrain instantly changed to jagged quartzite and limestone so we had to drop a bit below the ridge because it proved a bit to rugged and steep for little Roo. There are supposedly many petroglyphs and a few caves large enough to explore on the island so I kept my eye out, but didn’t see any nor any other person. Just cows, deer, and birds.
After a little bush whacking and scree sliding, I connected with the Stansbury Island trail which delivered me to the lovely no trespassing sign seen below. I then followed some dirt roads back to my car, which I finally found after going to the spot I had thought I had left it and not finding it and then having a minor freak-out… Sadly no post about Stansbury Island is complete without mentioning how sad it is that such a beautiful place is absolutely trashed with bullets and garbage grrrr, but I have ranted about that elsewhere.
All in all a great morning exploring and scouting the ridges. I hope to do the full traverse sometime in the next 2 weeks!