Listen for the sound of hooves pounding. Look for manes flying in the wind. Feel the rush of awe at the sight of these creatures. The Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop Tour is something you and your family will never forget because Sweetwater County’s cherished wild horses are living examples of a wide-open landscape and untamed frontier spirit.
You can begin this self-guided tour in either Green River or Rock Springs. After being extinct from this country, the Spanish reintroduced horses in the 1500s. Current herds are descendents of those Spanish horses, along with animals turned out by ranchers or enticed away from ranches by wild horse herds.
Watch for wild horses between Rock Springs and Fourteen-Mile Hill, and all the way across the top of White Mountain. Although this is a relatively dry area with seemingly little vegetation, it is home to a surprising array of wild creatures. So stay on the lookout for an abundance of wildlife – not just wild horses but also antelope, desert elk, deer, rabbits, coyotes, hawks, eagles and sage grouse, among others.
You’ll also have a chance to take in some of the best vistas in Wyoming. In fact, this route offers several scenic overlooks of the area’s prominent features, such as Pilot Butte, Boar’s Tusk, Killpecker Sand Dunes, Steamboat Mountain, North and South Table Mountains, Leucite Hills, Aspen Mountain, Wilkins Peak, and the Overland Trail and Union Pacific railroad corridors. The Wyoming, Wind River and Uinta mountain ranges are in full, glorious view along the way.
Most wild horses in Wyoming are located in the southwestern quarter of the state. The Rock Springs BLM is the headquarters for the Wild Horse Program in Wyoming. The appropriate management level for wild horses in Wyoming is approximately 6,000. Some 2,500 of these horses are in the Rock Springs District.
Wild horses have no true natural predators other than an occasional mountain lion, so populations can increase rapidly. This rate of increase is generally about 20% per year, with some years topping 40%. When populations of wildlife, wild horses and domestic livestock exceed the capabilities of their habitat, the environment begins to suffer. If prolonged, it leads to poor rangeland and an overall decline in the health of the wild horses.
To thwart this potential danger, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducts a periodic census of the wild horses to determine how many animals must be removed from the range. As a result, there are fewer cases of injury or death from starvation, dehydration and susceptibility to the elements. The horses are gathered at various times throughout the year.
Federal and private lands form a checkerboard pattern in the Rock Springs District. The existence of the herds of wild horses is a credit to the private landowners of this area who do not fence their land, thus allowing the horses to wander as necessary for food, water, and shelter in the winter as nature provides.
Wild Horse Viewing Area
Located within the city limits of Rock Springs are the Bureau of Land Management wild horse corrals. This facility is used to hold and process the horses that are gathered from around the area for adoption through the 1972 Wild Horse and Burrow Act. All animals are checked for their health, doctored and freeze branded at the Rock Springs corrals. This shelter is dedicated to educating and informing the public about the Wild Horse Adoption Management Program. To view the wild horses in these corrals, take Elk St. North to Lionkol Road and turn right and travel 1.2 miles to the corral overlook.
Download our Pilot Butte Wild Horse brochure
Survival Guide Precautions
These are backcountry roads with no services and few inhabitants. Use caution when venturing into these areas.
- Have a high-clearance vehicle; trucks or 4-wheel-driverecommended
- Travel in nice weather, mornings recommended
- Have a full tank of gas
- Carry plenty of water and food
Specials & Packages
Whether visiting for a week or just passing through, check out our current Specials & Packages!