This September we walked among the wild horses of Sand Wash Basin. The pictures do not even begin to describe the beauty and peace we experienced that day.
We had no idea what to expect when we set out for this amazing adventure because there is not much written about this beautiful and remarkably, colorful herd of wild horses. There are no guided tours, no park rangers, no big shiny visitor center bustling with people. Just the land, the horses, and you.
We arrived at the chamber of commerce in Craig, CO about 50 miles from Sand Wash to pick up a brochure/map. Of course, they were closed. With my phone at the ready, I began searching for any clues I could find about how to get there. We decided to keep driving west on 40 until we could find someone with the answer. Unfortunately for us, that man turned out to be a State Trooper who issued my husband a hefty ticket for speeding and then directed us to Maybell.
Finally, we came to the little town of Maybell, CO. As luck would have it, the gas station had a Sand Wash Basin brochure with a map and directions. About 20 minutes later, we arrived at the entrance to Sand Wash Basin. What happened next was surreal.
We spotted 3 horses about 35 yards from the road. We quietly parked the car and slowly approached. About the time we were 50 feet away, the rest of herd that was hidden downhill decided to come up and greet us. They were happy to let us walk with them, sit with them, talk with them, and photograph them. We completely lost track of time and spent nearly 3 hours with this incredible band of about 50 horses.
Sand Wash Basin is a 156,500-acre herd management area about 48 miles west of Craig, CO. The area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It is one of four wild horse herd areas in the state. The Sand Wash Basin is home to approximately 170-350 wild horses at any given time.
Directions: From Craig, CO take 40 west to Maybell, CO. In Maybell, there is a little gas station where you can pickup a BLM brochure that includes a map and directions to the entrance. From Maybell, head north onto HWY 318. Take 318 for 18 miles to County Rd 67 (the main entrance).
Note: There is no cell service, no bathrooms, no gas stations, and no restaurants from Hwy 318 and beyond. Maybell is the last stop so make sure you have everything you need. Sand Wash Basin is literally in the middle of nowhere. The roads are gravel and they are not maintained. I recommend a small SUV.