The Dirt: Wild Horse State Recreation Area



The Wild Horse State Recreation Area is an OHV-friendly outdoor recreation area in Northern Elko County, providing an ideal camping and staging base for year-round outdoor activities. Popular summer recreation in the area includes off-highway vehicles, hiking and biking, boating and fishing. This is also a popular winter location for snowmobiling, ice fishing, skating, and cross-country skiing.

At approximately 7,000 feet, the terrain near Wild Horse SRA varies from high-desert sagebrush near the reservoir to large aspen stands in the surrounding hills.  The trails consist almost entirely of old Forest Service roads in various conditions. Some major sections such as Meadow Creek Rd. are graded gravel/aggregate, while other more remote routes are primarily dirt and have received very little trail maintenance. Almost the entire west side of Wild Horse SRA has burned and the area east of it has patches of burned ground.  Difficulty of the trail varies but is mostly easy with sections of moderate to difficult erosion.  From the peaks, one enjoys a 360 degree view with no structures in sight and views to the North into Southern Idaho and Jarbidge area. Wildlife viewing is common.  Always ride with caution because some routes may have significant erosion damage and large stream crossings.

During the winter season, snowmobile access is open in parts of the recreation area. Following along US Forest Service roads – Meadow Creek, Point of the Rocks, and Haystack-Waterlog Summit roads – users can spend a day adventuring out to Big Bend Campground. This loop starts in a large staging area outside of the state recreation area, just off of Mountain City Highway (NV-225). Before starting any OSV routes, be sure to check the current snow levels and weather conditions – parts of these trails may not have adequate snow levels for traversing.  Make sure to come prepared and dress for extreme cold and winter conditions! 

Camping and staging is available at the State Park including some sites with RV hookups. The BLM also maintains the North Wildhorse Recreation Area campground north of the State campground. There are a limited number of cabins available at the south end of the reservoir. See the State Park website for more information on fees and reservations. 

Other staging locations are nearby; From Wild Horse SRA there is a large staging area on the west side of Hwy 225.  Directly across from the Park on SR 225, there is another staging area on Gold Creek Rd (Forest Route 037) which provides access to a multitude of available trails. 

During the winter season (December – April) the campground and US Forest Service ranger station along the route are not open. Be sure to plan ahead and bring plenty of water. There are campsite options within the State Recreation Area open year-round, including around 30 campsites, 2 cabin rental options with toilets and sinks, and an ADA-accessible cabin.  Hookups are not available, but there are restrooms and showers that are open year-round. Water access and dump stations are only open during the summer months.


Take SR 225 north from Elko approximately 65 miles.

Rules of the Road

Land Manager: Nevada Division of State Parks

HC31 Box 265
Elko, NV 89801

(775) 385-5939

Always plan ahead and prepare for uncertainty. Travel with warm clothing, first aid, food, water and appropriate tools to fix a problem.
Traveling in groups is always a good idea, as well as informing someone of where you will be going.

While there are a number of user created play areas and OHV trails, it is best practice to follow leave no trace and tread lightly principles. Users are encouraged to stay on existing roads and trails. Plenty exist in this area! Always ride within your limits and be courteous to other trail users. 

  • Register Your Vehicle
  • Make sure your vehicle is equipped with a spark arrestor
  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Trail Users

Leave No Trace

Tread Lightly

Historic Preservation

Land Manager

Plan Your Visit