Wildhorse Reservoir State Recreation Area

    Facilities & Amenities
  • Camping
  • RV Dump Station
  • Group Camping
  • Flush Restrooms
  • Picnicking
  • Visitor Center
  • Showers
  • Boat Launch
  • Trails
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Nature Study
  • Max. RV size: 45'

Wildhorse Reservoir State Recreation Area is a 120-acre site on the northeast shore of Wildhorse Reservoir. The Recreation Area offers boating, fishing, hunting (not on the Recreation Area but on the surrounding lands), picnicking and camping. The park is open year-round, but this is northeastern Nevada and Wild Horse Reservoir often serves up Nevada's lowest winter temperatures (which sometimes reach -40°F).

Wildhorse Reservoir was constructed for irrigation purposes, the water to be used on the Duck Island Indian Reservation. The original dam wasn't built strong enough so a second dam was built in 1969 that doubled the size of the reservoir. When full, the lake has a surface area of 2,830 acres and holds up to 73,500 acre-feet of water. This area was once the Owyhee Meadows, a treeless high, cold desert that was roamed by herds of wild mustangs. The growth of local ranching has restricted the movements of the wild mustang herds but they can still be found west of Wild Horse on the Owyhee Desert. The mountains around here rise to 8,000' and the peaks are usually snow-capped for the better part of the year. Most of the landscape is essentially treeless. There are some scattered clumps of big sage and a few patches of quaking aspens visible up in the hills. The area does support good populations of mule deer, pronghorn antelope, elk, grouse, waterfowl and chukar. Hunting is not allowed on the recreation area but the surrounding BLM property is wide open for those with the appropriate license in the right season.

The reservoir carries some nice rainbow and German brown trout, wiper, smallmouth bass, yellow perch and catfish. Ice fishing is popular in the winter, and usually quite productive if you can deal with the wind and the often extremely cold temperatures...

Wild Horse State Recreation Area

The campground has 33 sites, some of which can accommodate large RV's. Each site has a camp pad, fire grill and picnic table but there are no utility hookups. Restrooms are available year-round but showers, central water faucets and the dump station are only open in the summer. Stays are limited to 14 days in any 30 day period. The picnic area offers picnic tables and fire pits with nice views of the reservoir.

To get to Wild Horse State Recreation Area, take State Route 225 north from Elko. Go 67 miles. Part of State Route 225 is included in the Bruneau River Loop Back Country Byway and many travelers on that byway use Wild Horse State Recreation Area as their jumping off point.

Entry fees (prices quoted subject to change): $7 per vehicle per day for non-Nevada residents, $5 per vehicle per day for Nevada residents. Camping: $14 per site per night for non-Nevada residents, $12 per site per night for Nevada residents. Boat launch: $10 per boat for non-Nevada residents, $8 per boat for Nevada residents. Boat/Camp Combo: $17 per day/night combo for non-Nevada residents, $15 per day/night combo for Nevada residents.

Wildhorse State Recreation Area
The boat launch ramp at Wildhorse State Recreation Area
The boat launch ramp at Wild Horse State Recreation Area
Winter at Wildhorse Reservoir
Upper photos courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management
Lower photos courtesy of Nevada State Parks  
Bruneau River Loop Back Country Byway area map

Related Pages

Map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!