In the mountain peaks and sloping lowlands of western Utah roams a nationally recognized herd of wild horses with a Utah heritage much older than most of ours. These horses draw their bloodlines from the old Spanish Type, the Colonial Spanish Horse, the first horses brought to America by the Spanish Explorers in the late 1500s. Through time, the Sulphur Herd has bred with escaped ranch livestock, but some still hold many of the Spanish barb traits. There are only three other herds of wild horses in the United States with these characteristics. The original Spanish Barb displayed the characteristics of the extinct wild tarpan horse. The colors are buckskin and grulla, a gray or mouse color. The ears curve in like a bird's beak, with fawn colored insides rimmed in black. They may have a dorsal stripe down the back, bi-colored manes and tails, and tiger-striped legs. There may be some cob webbing or a mask on the face. The horses have a short back, because they have only five lumbar vertebrae instead of six.
Location: The HMA is located in western Iron, Beaver, and Millard counties, Utah approximately 50 miles west of Minersville, Utah in the Indian Peak and Mountain Home Mountain Ranges. The elevation ranges from 9,790 feet on top of Indian Peak to 6,000 feet in the valley floors.
Size: 267,208 acres
Topography/Vegetation: The Sulphur HMA supports multiple vegetation types including: Aspen, Mountain Fir, Spruce-Fur, Mountain Shrub, Pinyon-Juniper (PJ), sagebrush, grasslands, and salt desert shrub. The PJ woodland type dominates the HMA and is very dense with minimal understory forage. Open areas outside the PJ canopy are dominated by big sagebrush with Indian ricegrass, wheatgrass, bluegrass, and squirreltail grass as the primary forage species. Available water within the HMA is the limiting factor regarding these horse populations. Water is limited to isolated springs and man-made developments that supply water to permitted livestock, wildlife, and wild horses.
Viewing Opportunities: The Needle Range is characterized by steep slopes and narrow ridges. Access to the ridges and surrounding areas is good, provided you are driving a vehicle capable of traversing rough, back country roads. Viewing Map you will find most of the horses in the Mountain Home and Indian Peak portions of the range. An extensive dirt-road system provides access throughout the entire area for those properly equipped. Typically, roads wander through sagebrush flats and forests of pinyon and juniper. The high country of Mountain Home Peak is a particularly pleasant destination, providing outstanding views of Hamlin Valley and Great Basin National Park. The best access to the road network within the herd area is Utah Highway 21. Approximately 45 miles west of Milford on U-21 look for a BLM sign marked Pots Sum Pa. Turn south on this road to enter the northeastern portion of the Sulphur Herd Management Area.