U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Rock Springs Field Office|
The Salt Wells HMA encompasses 1,193,283 acres, of which 724,704 acres are BLM-administered public lands. The majority of the herd management area consists primarily of checkerboard land ownership area created by the Union Pacific Railroad grant in the Northern portion. Consolidated public lands with state school sections and small parcels of private land making up the majority of lands in the southern section of the HMA. Topography within the herd area is generally gently rolling hills. There are several small streams passing through the area, and some high ridges. Elevations range roughly from 6,300 to 7,900 feet. Precipitation ranges 7-10 inches in lower elevations and 15-17 inches at higher elevations, predominately in the form of snow. The area is unfenced other than portions of boundary fence and right-of-way boundaries along I-80.
The AML for this HMA is 365 horses. A full range of colors is present. This herd has a high number of palominos and sorrels with flaxen manes and tails. Other horses colors are bay, brown, black, paint, buckskin, or gray. The Wyoming horses have a diverse background of many domestic horse breeds. They most closely related to North American gaited breeds such as Rocky Mountain Horse, American Saddlebred, Standardbred, and Morgan. The horses range from 14 to 15.5 hands and weigh between 750 and 1,100 pounds mature weight. The health of the horses is good, with no apparent problems.
Domestic cattle and sheep utilize the area lightly in the summer and moderately in the winter, cattle use predominating. Vegetation in the HMA is dominated by sagebrush and grass, with juniper, aspen, and conifers interspersed. Horses typically use a high amount of grass species, the most favorable being needlegrass, Indian ricegrass, wheatgrass, and sedges. The area supports significant wildlife populations including elk, deer, and antelope.
How To Get There
We invite you to view wild horses; however, it is unlawful to chase and/or catch them. Please allow them to live a free and unmolested life.
The HMA is located south east of Rock Springs, Wyoming. The area can be accessed from Rock Springs by going approximately 35 miles east on I-80 and exiting on the Bitter Creek Interchange Exit #142. After exiting I-80 take County Road #19 south and you will be in the Salt Wells HMA. Another option is to take US 191 south of rock Springs. Going south on US 191 there are gravel roads to the east and County Road #29 that goes to County Road #31 that intersects County Road #27. State Highway 430 can also be taken south of Rock Springs taking County Roads #26 or # 24 to the east or County Roads #30 or #32 to the West. County Roads are typically improved gravel roads maintained at scheduled intervals.
Therefore road conditions vary from very good to rough and rutted from wet weather and possibly impassable. It is easy to determine if you are in wild horse country by identifying the large piles of horse manure (stud piles) along road sides. Maps that cover this area are available at the Rock Springs Field Office located at 280 US 191 North. A quick stop at the field office would allow you to check local conditions and obtain maps.
The maps needed for this area are Rock Springs and Fire Hole Canyon and possibly Red Desert Basin and Kinney Rim. Before traveling to the area, make sure your vehicle is in good repair. If it has not stormed recently, you can make this trip in any full or mid-sized passenger vehicle, but a four wheel drive sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) is recommended. Make sure your spare tire is usable and have drinking water and emergency supplies with you. This area is fairly isolated, and it could be some time before help could arrive. Do not attempt to make this trip during inclement weather. Be especially cautious when there is snow on the ground. Travel in the area is restricted to existing roads and trails. Cross-country travel is not allowed. Don't forget to bring your camera and binoculars.