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“Great adventure”
Review of Sand Wash Basin

Sand Wash Basin
Reviewed 24 July 2016

Be prepared to deal with no amenities! Now that that's out of the way, this is an amazing place. We saw 5 bands of horses and one lone stallion as well as burrowing owls, a bald eagle, a golden eagle, antelope and of course, prairie dogs. The roads are not paved but are well marked and if you pay close attention it's possible to take 2 wheel tracks off the road and be able to get closer to some places. I say pay close attention because if you don't it could be very easy to get lost and there is pretty much no cell service there.
Needs for the visit: A FULL tank of gas (you don't want to run out, the nearest town is 15-20 miles away), sunscreen, a hat, LOTS of water (it's hot and dry, so you don't want to get dehydrated), bug spray (where there are horses, there will be horse flies) food for lunch (a picnic style would be good) and a map of the Basin (you can get one at the gas station in Maybell for sure). Don't forget binoculars and your camera! You won't be able to walk up to the horses, these are not pets, and if you don't have 4 wheel drive, I'd recommend NOT leaving the scraped roads. Some of them get a little tricky, too. If you get out of your car, watch for rattlesnakes, scorpions, cactus and badgers. You will see badger holes, but don't try to entice or harass them to come out....they're not really friendly!

The roads and much of the land has a high clay content, so if it starts raining, LEAVE. Traction could become impossible and it's an area where dry washes will become small rivers in a hurry.

I'm not trying to scare anyone, just being honest. It's a beautiful place and the horses are beautiful, too. Be careful, pay attention to where you are and how you got there and if you're able, renting or borrowing a satellite phone could be a good idea.

8  Thank lakotamom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (18)
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7 - 11 of 18 reviews

Reviewed 20 July 2016

The Sand Wash Herd Management is a 156,000 acre high desert about 45 miles west of Craig, CO. There are about 600 wild horses in the area, of various colors and ages. The elevation in the area ranges from 5800 - 8200ft.ft and the vegetation includes sagebrush, bunchgrass, saltbush, and pinyon-juniper woodlands. It is easy to travel in the area altho the roads are dirt or gravel. Because the area is open, high desert, it is easy to spot the many sub-herds that live there.

6  Thank carefree85377
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2016

Planned an anniversary trip here with my wife, hoping to catch a glimpse of some wild horses at the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Area (WHA) along Hwy 318 west of Maybell, Colorado. We based out of a hotel in Craig, Colorado.

Was it ever a success! We must have seen sixty wild horses at various places in the management area. In some cases we were able to sidle as close as 20 yards.

The most spectacular event involved a cross-country trek of about two miles to get within a 1/4 mile of two herds. We'd seen dust in the distance and using our binocs we located the two herds and began our hike to see if we could get some nice closer-up photos. As we got within range, we were fascinated to watch a younger stallion with four mares in his harem, trying to pick off a mare or two from an older, dominant stallion with a herd of about 20 mares. As the old stud tried to lead his harem away, the young upstart would cut a mare off the tail end of his herd, and drive her back to his group. The dominant stallion would then charge back to retrieve his girl, and a rearing, kicking fight would ensue. It was like something out of National Geographic! We watched this routine play out four times over a half hour, until the oldster got his group across a small canyon and away from that rebel. What a trip . . . what an awesome experience!

Bring binoculars and a good map. Bring plenty of water, food and sun protection. You won't be near any amenities. A high clearance, four wheel drive vehicle will help ensure you don't get stuck, but careful driving of a regular street car would have sufficed in most of the areas we went. We drove a Subaru Outback and had absolutely no problems. BTW, there is no charge to get into the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Area. But you'll leave enriched.

Hope you have as great a time as we did! The horses were absolutely amazing.

10  Thank R S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 October 2015

Sand Wash Basin is magical. To come around a curve and to see a band of wild horses, is unbelievable, beautiful and will be fill your heart with joy. The colors of the SWB wild horses varies from pure black, to paints and palominos. It is a trip of a lifetime. Personally I visit the basin several times a year. For more information find the Facebook page of the Sand Wash Advocate Team.

5  Thank Stormybear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 May 2015

We drove from Phoenix, Arizona to photograph the wild horses of Sand Wash Basin. There is such a gorgeous assortment of colorful horses and bands to watch and photograph!!! One of the most incredible experiences of my life! I am a wildlife and sports photographer. There are little to no trees to obstruct your views. There is a wild horse loop that you can drive around. (This a quite a HUGE area.) We have a 2 wheel drive vehicle that let us get to most of the places we had wanted to. There were some bands off of 2 tracks roads that if we had a 4 wheel could have accessed. Locals warned not driving on the roads during a storm due to the roads being impassable. Some roads appear they are clay. We did have a light rain and it did build up on our tires quickly, however the roads dried quickly. Make sure to get gas before you go in. You can get gas in Maybell. Our first day in we had taken a wrong turn to get out and had almost ran out of gas. Learned to check our gas gage the remaining days.

I HIGHLY recommend going to Sand Wash Basin if you love photography, wild horses, wildlife and nature!! We found a new baby foal and were blessed to name her. We watched stallions fighting for their bands, young stallions play fighting, the dynamics of wild mustang families!! The wind was blowing their thick manes whether they were running or standing still. It was such a beautiful experience watching the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses running wild and free!!

We stayed in Craig, Colorado which is about a one hour drive each way. We stayed at the Clarion Inn & Suites. Great prices, food and staff!

We received a map from the Craig Chamber of Commerce, that was very helpful in navigating through the area. Also contact the Sand Wash Advocate Team for more helpful tips on Facebook.

We will definitely return to Sand Wash Basin for more photography opportunities!

4  Thank Lori W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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