#1. VIRGINIA range
Spanning nearly 500 square miles in Northern Nevada, the Virginia Range is home to one of the nation’s most high profile and historic wild horse herds. Smithsonian Magazine calls the Virginia Range the number one site in the West to see wild horses. Easily accessible from Reno and Carson City to Silver Springs and Fernley, the Virginia Range habitat is home to an estimated 3,000 wild horses of famous origin. Often called Annie’s herd, these are the horses that inspired Velma Johnston, aka Wild Horse Annie, on her national crusade 50 years ago to protect America’s besieged mustang herds. The Virginia Range was also the setting for the longest running Western television series, Bonanza.
Today, wild horses still roam free in this scenic western habitat, and can sometimes be seen walking down the streets of the historic Virginia City, running in the hills of Storey County and inhabiting the outskirts of Stagecoach, Nevada.
2. Fish springs, carson Valley
The Fish Springs wild horses call the public lands outside Gardnerville, Nevada in the stunning Carson Valley home. These famous and closely followed wild horses include famous stallions Blue, Blondie, Socks, Zorro and their families whose stories, as told by the Fish Springs Wild Horse Alliance and the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates, regale followers from throughout the world.
A visit to the Fish Springs habitat will often result in an up close and personal look inside the lives and families of wild horses, living wild and free on America’s public lands. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss. To learn more about the families of the fish spring horses, you can see the Fish Springs Wild horse Alliance on facebook here.
#3. Pine nut mountains herd management area
#4 Spring Mountains and Red Rock Canyon outside Las Vegas
The Las Vegas area is becoming the hub of southwest outdoor adventures. It has everything from helicopter rides over the canyons, to Red Rock climbing to Death Valley tours, but to get a sense of the true wildness you MUST go see the Spring Mountain and Cold Creek wild horses and burros. With the Spring Mountain Alliance, you can go on a variety of tours spanning from quick and comfy tour vehicles to long pack trips on horseback. No matter what you want to do or who you are from artist to adventurer there is something for you. Come see the historic burros along SR-159 near First Creek Trail and around the village of Blue Diamond and the incredible wild horses west of route 95, just 50 minutes outside of Las Vegas.
Just a hop, jump and a skip away from the horses you can see the origins of the wild horses you can see here. At the Tule Springs Archeological Site, (NV Historical Marker 86), paleontologists have uncovered extinct ground sloths, mammoths, the American camel and lion, bison, giant condor and at least two species of prehistoric horses.
#5. Calico Mountains/Black Rock Desert
The heart of Nevada mustang country, Soldier Meadows Ranch is situated in Nevada’s scenic and remote Black Rock Desert. Here, mustangs run free as they have since the 1800’s, when their ancestors were captured and “broken” and sent off to battle as Cavalry mounts overseas. Just down the road a piece is the playa, which once a year comes to life as the location for the Burning Man Festival. On the drive down the 50 mile gravel road from Gerlach to Soldier Meadows Ranch, you’re sure to spy some mustangs, running on the colorful hillsides of the aptly named Calico Mountains. On the way, rockhounding opportunities abound, and you can even visit an opal mine!
When you reach Soldier Meadows Ranch, you’ll find a homey lodge, family-style meals, hot springs, history and spectacular surroundings that provide a home to wild horses and burros as well as antelope, bighorn sheep and other wild animals. Take a deep breath, unplug, and relish the peace that accompanies this rugged, remote and stunningly beautiful area.