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Colorado Trails

Time 2 Go See Wild Horses

From Florida to Wyoming, track wild horses for four hours or 10 days.

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4 hours

Paynes Prairie State Preserve, FL

Admire the smooth gait of Florida’s Cracker Horses, named in honor the whipcracking cowboys who rode them years ago. This 6,600-acre preserve south of Gainesville also harbors bison and gators. Pack a camera (and sunhat) for the flat, exposed Cones Dike Trail though the park’s wet prairie marsh; it’s an 8-mile round trip to the best views of these lean horses.

4 hours

McCullough Peaks Herd Mgmt. Area, WY

Between Cody and Yellowstone is the 100-strong McCullough Peaks herd, descendants of Buffalo Bill’s Wild Horse Show that pastured here in the late 1800s. This is the most easily viewed wild herd in Wyoming. Hike the 4-mile (round trip) Peak Divide Trail, located 12 miles east of Cody, for birds’-eye views into the the herd’s sheltered feeding grounds.

8 hours

Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area, CO

This pocket wilderness near Grand Junction is one of only three federally designated areas for wild horses. Ranging over more than 30,000 acres of craggy canyons and plateaus, the 100-head herd is best viewed from the demanding 10.2-mile Tellerico Loop Trail, which rises 2,300 feet from the canyon floor to the open glades atop the 7,300-foot Bookcliffs.

2 days

Mt. Rogers NRA, VA

Hikers summiting Virginia’s rugged 5,729-foot high point seldom leave without comical pony snapshots. With sweeping vistas, volcanic rock, and drastic weather, this 8-mile round trip starts in Grayson Highlands State Park on the Rhododendron Trail, then joins the Appalachian Trail to the Wilburn Ridge Trail and finally the Mt. Rogers Trail. Camp at the Thomas Knob Shelter.

2 days

Cerbat Herd Area, AZ

The 83,000-acre Cerbat, 105 miles east of Las Vegas, is dominated by 6,983-foot Cherum Peak. The 70 resident bays show signs of Spanish descent, but their exact origin is unknown. From Kingman, head 13 miles on US 93 N to Big Wash Road. Go 9 miles to Pack Saddle Campground. Access the 2.5-mile Cherum Peak Trail to the 6983-foot summit.

3 days

Cumberland Nat. Seashore, GA

This 18-mile-long island, with its 20,000 acres of forest and white-sand beaches, is home to descendants of Revolutionary War cavalry horses. Hike 10 miles from Sea Camp on the Parallel Trail north to Brickhill Bluff primitive campground; 250 wild horses roam freely nearby. From camp, explore the 17th-century Dungeness Ruins, dunes, and marshes.

1 week

Steens Mtns., OR

More than 1,000 wild Spanish Kigers roam the Steens Cooperative Management and Protection Area in southeast Oregon. From South Steens Campground, cruise the 8-mile Big Indian Gorge Trail through aspens to link with the Little Blitzen Gorge Trail. Camp anywhere in the gorge. Spend the next two days hiking north to Steens’s summit for views of the Alvord Desert and Wildhorse Canyon.

1 week

Sulphur Herd Mgmt. Area, UT

This 150-head herd roams the desolate, 143,000-acre, 40-mile-long Needle Range on the Nevada state line. While many high-clearance roads and wild horse trails lead to nearby peaks, no official footpaths exist. Stop by the BLM office in Cedar City, grab a map, and spend a week honing your GPS skills as you navigate between high-country peaks and natural springs.

10 days

Pryor Mtn. Wild Horse Range, MT/WY

In 1968, these 31,000 acres became the nation’s first federally protected horse range. It’s home to 120 Spanish horses, known for their mousy blue coloring and striped legs; they’re best viewed near Devils Canyon Overlook. Drive to the rustic Penn’s Cabin on East Pryor Mountain (first come, first served) and set up basecamp to hike and fish your way around the range.

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