Directions, 30 miles west of Craig, Colorado, to Maybell, turn onto Hwy 318, 18 miles, turn north on to county road 67, there is dry camping along these roads.
Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area was started in 1971, with 65 horses, the numbers can double in 4 years. There can be 163-400 wild horses in the 150,000 acre basin. The area ranges from 5,800-8,125 feet. Desert floor, rolling type hills, to cliffs and pinyon/juniper woodlands. We were riding during hunting seasons, so we wore our orange vest while riding. You could spend 6 days here, viewing horses and riding on the nice BLM trails.
We stopped in Craig at the Chamber of Commerce, where they were very helpful and gave us numerous maps and information. We also purchased our Colorado OHV sticker for $25 per machine. Pick up a BLM map for this area, since there are numerous marked BLM trails. Before you leave town, load up on water and gas. This is a BIG area, so watch your gas gauge and have your maps and a GPS.
#Day 1,--30 miles We turned in on County road 67, just past the kiosk and we found a camping spot. Riding, we headed north on 67, then 48. We veered west on a marked BLM trail 2048D, where we found 28 wild horses grazing at the bottom of a juniper hill. They weren't afraid, and we were careful to stay our distance.
We were lucky enough to visit with Patti Mosby (who has been keeping records of the horses for 18 years) She is a professional photographer and chronicles the life of the horses. She was very informative about the lives of the horses, how they interact, plus she know many of the names of the horses. She mentioned where to find the famous Picasso, one of her favorites, a 25-28 year old, paint stallion (which we didn't see) Pattie documented to the BLM wild horse board, a foal which was born on Sept 7th, a filly named Jetta. The next two horse pictures are Pattie’s.
-Day 2--34 miles We headed west on the BLM trail, rising in elevation, going thru Juniper trees, with great views from the top ridge. We stayed on this trail for 8 miles. We came down on to Road 48, where we saw 2 groups of horses, with pinto stallions. As we turned on to Road 80, we stopped at a overlook and saw a herd of 24 coming up the hill towards us. We stayed put and out of the way and when they reached the top, they stared at us, yet continued on their way to the watering hole. It's not on the map, but here is the GPS # N 40* 43.285' W 108* 30.238' . We were told, to be at the watering hole about 3 pm and many bands come together to drink. We took a drive in our truck, on Hwy 318 to the Vermillion waterfall, and saw 7 elk.
Day 3-- 71 miles. We were going to ride on the east border of the Basin, but didn't come across a good trail, one was so steep, we had to turn around. We rode on the main road 67 to Lookout Mountain, elevation 8088ft. We stopped for lunch and enjoyed the incredible views all around. This is the north fence border of the Basin, but you can still see for miles. Later we were told that to the west is an area of Hoo Doos, in a valley. Some elk hunter said we could stay on 67b and ride all the way to Bears Ears. We took BLM trail 2058A, a short cut to the watering hole. We made it by 3pm. and right away a band of 20 were coming to the water. In the one hour we were watching, 2 more bands came to drink. totaling 45 horses. It was a privilege to watch them interact with each other. Amazing sights! A wild horse will drink 10-15 gallons and a breed mare will drink 20-30 gallons per water visit.
Video of Wild horses running to the watering hole
LOCATION> NEAREST CITY=Maybell, Colorado DIRECTIONS= 30 miles west of Craig/ 18 miles NW of Maybel, Co
AREA > TYPE OF LAND=-desert,hills , OWNER= BLM
QUALITY > Pro-Wild horses, not busy, lots of area to ride / Con- need better maps / Length of stay 3 days / Rating-stars 3-4
TERRAIN> MILES OF TRAILS, hills /high desert / mud-if wet, impassable / dust /elevation TRAIL MAINTENCE / SQ. MILE AREA 150,000-/ NEAR BY TRAILS- Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge- not sure
REGULATIONS> Camping-anywhere /whip-no / helmets req.-no / width req-no.
FEE> Camping-no / Entry-Just Co OHV decal
KEY SERVICES> Camping, Gasoline, Water, Dump, Food, Diesel-Maybell & Craig / First Aid in Craig
SIDE TRIPS>Dinosaur National Monument, Irish Canyon, Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge