The Muddy Creek Herd
The Muddy Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) encompasses a total of 137,110 acres of Federal and State lands which is located 15 miles south of Emery, UT. It extends 5 miles north and 10 miles south of I-70 from the Dutchman Arch to Fremont Junction. Horses can be found throughout the San Rafael Swell.
The vegetation on the HMA is dominated by pinyon-juniper/sagebrush/shadscale/bunchgrass communities.
Wild horses and burros have occupied the San Rafael Swell area since the beginning of the Old Spanish Trail in the early 1800s. Early travelers would lose animals or have them run off by Indians or rustlers. Many of these animals were headed for California to be traded and sold and were of good stock. The herd was also augmented through the release of domestic horses from local ranches. By the early 1900s, wild horse and burro numbers had soared and were being captured and sold by local “mustangers.” This continued until the passage of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. Since the passage of this act, the horses and burros have been managed under federal law and Bureau regulation.
The dominant colors of the horses within the herd area are bay, brown and black with a few pintos, gray and roan in that order, the horses on the HMA are average in size ranging from 700 to 1000 pounds.
The BLM management goal is to manage the horse herd at near 50 head. In order to achieve this goal, some of the horses must be rounded up every 2 to 5 years. Excess animals are then offered for adoption through the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption program. For more information on adoption of animals from this herd, contact the Price Field Office.
For viewing wild horses take I-70, 43 miles west of Green River to the Moore Road exit 116. Travel south on the graveled road for 1 mile to Justesen Flat. Horses are common in this area. To make a loop back to I-70, continue on the main road to Copper Globe Mine to Cat Canyon, then through Kimball Draw and continue north to 1-70.
Or take I-70 to Fremont Junction exit 91 which is 11 miles southwest of Emery, UT. Travel southeast on a gravel road approximately 13 miles to the Mussentuchit Flat junction. Turn south at this junction and continue for 2 miles, then travel east towards Cedar Mountain. Horses may be seen in the Cedar Mountain area. Return to Mussentuchit Flat junction and take any of the three roads back to I-70.
Special Travel Conditions
For wild horse viewing, the main road from Justesen Flat to Copper Globe then through Kimball Draw will require a 4-wheel drive high clearance vehicle or off road vehicles. The road to Mussentuchit Flat and Cedar Mountain are graded gravel roads, which are passable by passenger cars. Summer storms and flash floods tend to damage even the well maintained roads so it is suggested that only 4 wheel drive/ high clearance vehicles travel through the HMA. When wet, the roads in this area are very slick and muddy, and very dusty during extended dry periods. Due to these conditions, the roads remain rough and should be traveled with care. Wilderness Study Areas occur within this HMA and at the end of many access roads. These Wilderness Study Areas are marked and have special travel restrictions not allowing motorized vehicles. Hiking and horse backing in these areas are allowed.