Elko District Office/Wild Horse & Burro

Rock Creek Herd Management Area

The Rock Creek HMA is located in northwestern Elko County, approximately 80 miles northwest of Elko, Nev. The area is within the Columbia Plateau and Great Basin physiographic regions. The HMA is located just south of the Owyhee Desert area within the Columbia Plateau and Great Basin physiographic regions. These regions are located in the Great Basin which is one of the largest deserts in the world. It is characterized by a high rolling plateau underlain by basal flows covered with thin loess and alluvial mantel (see picture below). Elevations range from about 5,100 feet to 7,750 feet in the Tuscarora Mountains. Precipitation ranges from seven inches in the valley bottoms to 16 to 18 inches in the mountains. Most of the precipitation comes in the form of snow during the winter months with the summers being quite dry. Generally evaporation potential exceeds precipitation throughout the year. Temperatures range from 90 degrees in the summer to minus 15 in the winter.

Rock Creek East
Rock Creek HMA looking east.
The area is also utilized by domestic livestock and numerous wildlife species. The Rock Creek HMA is bordered on the north by the Owyhee HMA and on the west by Little Humboldt and Snowstorm Mountains HMAs (managed by the Winnemucca District BLM).

There is limited interaction of wild horses within the Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMAs and there is also limited interaction with wild horses in adjoining HMAs. For the most part, few fences exist within the HMAs and consist mainly of allotment boundary fencing.
Wild horses in the Rock Creek HMA generally winter and move from the lower elevations in the Burner Hills to summer in the higher elevations in portions of the Tuscarora Mountains (Soldier and Red Cow Fields).


The Rock Creek HMA is bisected by several water sources. The water sources range from springs and seeps to perennial streams. However, in dry years several of these water sources are unreliable.

In general, the vegetation consists of Wyoming big sagebrush, Sandberg bluegrass, squirreltail with scattered bluebunch wheatgrass and Indian ricegrass.

The wild horses in the HMA are descendants of Cavalry Remounts kept in the southern portion of the HMA in the early 1900’s or escaped from nearby ranches. The dominant colors are gray bay, black, brown and roan

Map