Wild Horse State Recreation Area is located in Mountain City, Nevada and is compromised of approximately 140 acres. Its shoreline lies upon the Wild Horse Reservoir. The park is great for camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, boating, and hiking.
The Wild Horse Reservoir was constructed in 1837 over the former Owyhee Meadows. It was named after the wild horses that freely roamed the area. Today, ranching has limited their movement but the horses can still be found in the Owyhee Desert just west of the park. The original dam was used for agricultural purposes for the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. It was eventually reconstructed in 1969, doubling in size. The reservoir, when full, has a surface acre of around 2,830 acres. The spillway sits at an elevation of 6,205 above sea level.
The Wild Horse Reservoir is a high and cold desert. Its countryside has no trees while the hills are filled with aspens and sage. The plant life is similar to those that are found in the Great Basin. In late Spring, the hills and landscape are filled with wild flowers with a background of snow capped peaks, many of which tower at over 8,000 feet. The reservoir is also among the state’s lowest winter temperatures, allowing for easy ice fishing. Wild Horse State Recreation Area is open year round although access may be difficult during winter months due to snow. The park is at an elevation of 6,205 feet.
Wild Horse State Recreation Area has many facilities including campgrounds, RV dump stations, fish cleaning areas, restrooms and showers, boat launch, and ranger station. The grounds also has areas for picnics, nature studying, and group camping. The park has 33 designated sites for camping, each complete with table, fire pit, and camp pad. Restrooms are available year round as well as showers, water faucets, and a dump station during the summer months. Several sites are pull through, which allows for large recreational vehicles. The stay limit is 14 days in a 30 day period. The picnic area allows for an excellent view of the reservoir and each area has a picnic table and fire pit. The boat ramp allows access to the reservoir. A small beach is also located next to the boat ramp for day use.
Fishing is easily the most popular activity to do at Wild Horse. Rainbow trout, yellow perch, small mouth bass, and catfish can be found in the reservoir. Fishing is best during the months of January, May, September, October, and November. In the summer, a fish cleaning station is available for use and is located next to the shower building.
In the fall, hunting is also a popular sport. Mule deer, water fowl, grouse, pronghorn, and many other game are available. Hunting is not allowed in the actual campgrounds, however the park is a great center point for hunting in the surrounding areas.
In the winter, snowmobiling and skiing are also very popular activities. The rolling hills are treeless along Sunflower Flats and Gold Creek Road and make for excellent skiing. Snowmobile trails are also cut through the terrain. Even with its low temperatures, ice fishing is still dangerous and must be attempted only by those with preparation and experience.
Fees are charged for day use, camping, and boating. For more information about the park, you may call the visitor’s center at (775) 758 6493 or visit them online at http://parks.nv.gov/wh.htm. Wild Horse State Recreation Area may also be reached at HC 31 Box 26, Elko, NV 89801.