Wild Horse State Recreation Area

boaters boating at the Wild Horse Reservoir

Wild Horse State Recreation Area is located on the northeast shore of Wild Horse Reservoir. The 120-acre recreation area is an excellent focal point when visiting Wild Horse. Visitors to the area enjoy camping, picnicking, hunting, fishing and boating. Facilities include campgrounds, a trailer dump station, boat launch and ranger station. The park is open year-round, but access may be hampered by extreme cold and snow in winter months. Wild Horse Reservoir commonly boasts the state’s lowest winter temperatures. The park is located 67 miles north of Elko on State Route 225.


  • Camping
  • RV Dump Station
  • Group Camping
  • Flush Restrooms
  • Picnicking
  • Visitor Center
  • Showers
  • Boat Launch
  • Trails Map
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Nature Study
  • Max. RV size: 45′
  • Fees


HC 31 Box 265
Elko, Nevada 89801
Phone: (775) 385-5939


Park News

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Road Conditions

In 1937, Wild Horse Reservoir was constructed covering what was once Owyhee Meadows. The reservoir was named after the wild horses that roamed abundantly in the area. Ranching has restricted the horses' movement, but they can still be found on the Owyhee Desert west of Wild Horse.

The stored irrigation water is for agriculture on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. The original dam was found to be weak. A new one was constructed in 1969. This doubled the size of the reservoir. When full, the reservoir has a surface area of 2,830 acres and holds 73,500 acre-feet of water. The spillway elevation is 6,205 feet above sea level.


Fishing is the most popular activity at Wild Horse. Most visitors pursue rainbow trout. German brown trout, small mouth bass, wiper, yellow perch, and catfish are also in the reservoir. Fishing seems best during spring and fall. Ice fishing is popular and can be quite productive in the winter months. Fishermen should be prepared for extreme cold and harsh winter conditions. During the summer months, there are abundant opportunities for sight-seeing, wildlife and bird watching, or just relaxing and enjoying an outdoor learning program.

Hunting is abundant in the fall. Pronghorn, mule deer, elk, grouse, chukar, waterfowl, and many other game species can be pursued. Although hunting is not allowed in Wild Horse Recreation Area, the campground makes a great base camp for hunting the surrounding area.

Winter activities include ice-skating and sledding. Snowmobiling and skiing are also popular on the treeless rolling hills along Gold Creek Road and Sunflower Flats.

For more information during your visit, stop in at the visitor center. Hours will vary.


The countryside around Wild Horse Reservoir is a treeless high and cold desert. The flora and fauna are typical of the Great Basin. Big sage dominates the landscape with patches of quaking aspen trees in the hills. Sub-alpine habitat can be found in higher elevations. Late spring, the latter part of May through June, brings beautiful wild flowers backed by towering snow-capped peaks, many of them over 8,000 feet.


Summer time is a favorite for many visitors. Daytime temperatures are moderate with cool nights. Although the park is open year round, winter can be harsh. Abundant snow and ice provide good recreation but temperatures reaching -20F can be common and sometimes reach as low as -40F. Spring and fall are unpredictable with the threat of winter weather at any moment.


User fees are charged for day use, boating and camping. The campground has 33 sites with a table, fire pit and a camp pad at each. There are no hookups, but restrooms and showers are available year round. Centrally located water faucets and a dump station are available during the summer months. Pull-through sites will accommodate large RVs, and there is a stay limit of 14 days in a 30-day period.
The picnic area has a nice view of the reservoir and offers some extra day-use parking. Each site has a picnic table and barbecue grill.
The boat ramp provides access to the reservoir. A small day-use beach is located next to the boat ramp.


The Nevada Division of State Parks has developed this area for the benefit of thousands of visitors each year. Please help keep our park safe and enjoyable by observing the following rules:

  • Drive only on established roads and park only in designated areas.
  • Snowmobiles and ATV use is restricted to exit and re-entry of the park on the designated trail.
  • Ground fires are allowed only in designated fire pits.
  • Pets must be on a leash.
  • All vehicles are subject to the entrance fee.

Visitors are responsible for knowing all rules and regulations. Current rules and regulations are posted in the park. Current fees are posted at the park entrance.