wild horse state recreation area

Remote and remarkable, this high-desert Nevada state park offers up incredible fishing, camping, and wildlife viewing throughout the year. During summer months, the sky’s the limit when it comes to water-based adventures. In the winter, locals and travelers alike head to Wild Horse for wildly satisfying ice fishing. Visit Wild Horse Reservoir during the spring and summer for a spectacular array of wildflowers you won’t want to miss.

Looking for a high-elevation escape into some gorgeous Nevada countryside? You just found your park. Brimming with winter adventures and summertime delights, this high-elevation Nevada state park wows in every season.

wildflower blooms at wildhorse
Spring Wildflower Blooms at Wild Horse
snowmobiles on wild horse moutain
Wintertime at Wild Horse

Early Days At Wild Horse Reservoir

Along with South Fork State Recreation Area, Wild Horse Reservoir was built in the late 1930s as part of the national Flood Control Act. Formerly known as the Owyhee Meadows, this new reservoir was named after herds of wild horses that roamed freely in the area during the time. Since the construction of the dam, wild horses are not so commonly found in the area, but can be spotted to the west throughout the Owyhee Desert. The reservoir doubled in size in 1969 when the original dam was deemed structurally unsound. Today, the Wild Horse State Recreation Area has a surface area of 2,830 acres, is equipped to hold a staggering 73,500 acre-feet of water, and is yours for the taking.

Visiting Wild Horse State Park Today

Situated at a stunning 6,200 feet—the same elevation as Lake Tahoe—Wild Horse Reservoir commonly boasts Nevada’s lowest winter temperatures, which makes the area perfectly ideal for prime ice fishing. Freezing early in the fall months, this reservoir freezes more quickly than other lakes in the area, and remains frozen the longest. Stocked with rainbow and German brown trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and catfish, the reservoir offers fishing during the summertime that is equally satisfying. Though hunting is not allowed within park boundaries, Wild Horse Reservoir is a popular basecamp for hunters looking to fill their tags. The northeastern corner of Nevada is typically home to some of Nevada’s big game animals, like pronghorn antelope, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, and rocky mountain elk. Of course, these animals are fun to shoot through a camera lens, too.

If you plan on visiting the Wild Horse during the summer months, get ready for a day on the water—Wild Horse is a popular favorite for some of the best boating, swimming, camping, and hiking in the area. There is a boat ramp located right next to the day-use beach. Best yet, more than several dozen wildflower species blanket the park in the spring and summer months, making it hard to take a bad photo of the place. 

 Wild Horse Reservoir Camping

Wild Horse offers 34 campground sites with shade, a table, fire pit, and camp pad at each one. Pull-through sites can accommodate large RVs. There are no hookups, but restrooms and showers are available year-round. Water faucets and a dump station are only available during summer months. Reservations for campsites can be made in advance but aren’t required.

Three cabins are also available to rent year-round at Wild Horse. All three have a covered front deck, living room with sleeper sofa, dining room area with table and chairs, a mini-fridge, microwave, bathroom (toilet and sink), heating, and air conditioning. Two of the cabins have an additional bunk room and can accommodate up to six occupants. The other cabin is ADA accessible and can welcome up to four occupants. None of the cabins have showers, but a shower building is located roughly 300 yards away. Cabin reservations can be made through Reserve Nevada.


Wild Horse State Recreation Area is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


Day-use admission to Wild Horse State Recreation Area is $5 for Nevada residents and $10 for out-of-state vehicles. Those on bicycles can enter for $2 per bike. Boat launching is $15 for Nevadans and $20 for non-residents.


Campsites are $15 per night for Nevada residents and $20 per night for out-of-state vehicles. Camping with a boat is $20 per night for Nevada residents and $25 per night for out-of-state vehicles. Cabins are $90 per night for Nevada residents and $95 per night for out-of-state vehicles.

This Location:

Northern Nevada, Nevada




Northern Nevada