Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range
Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, Wild Mustangs.
Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range
Located in Montana and Wyoming....
The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range is the second feral horse (wild mustang) refuge in the United States.
Located in the Pryor Mountains of southeast Montana and northern Wyoming, this 39,650 acre wild horse refuge was established in 1968.
It is felt by many experts that the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range may very well be the most significant wild horse herd in the United States because of their rare genetic makeup.
These wild mustangs may have lived near or in the Pryor Mountains since the late 1600s. The Crow Indian Nation strongly feels that these horses entered the Pryor Mountain area around 1725. By the time American pioneers began to settle in the Pryor Mountain region in the late 1800s, there were thousands of wild horses roaming the Pryor Mountain area landscape.
About The Horses
The Pryor Mountain Wild Horses are considered to be an extremely rare and endangered breed.
The precise history of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses is not clear to historians and scientists. Through determining genetic traits, and through many years of pain-staking genetic research and testing, it is felt by most scientists today that the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses are direct descendants of Spanish horses known as Colonial Spanish Horses, or also known as the Spanish Mustang, which are considered an extremely rare and endangered breed.
The Pryor Mountain Wild Horses have a natural "paso" gait, and these horses are felt to be quite intelligent, sure-footed, strong and have incredible stamina. These wild horses are quite shy and generally stay away from human contact and can be spooked very easily.
Their social structure involves bands or "harems", where a single stallion will mate with approximately six to eight mares. There will be about 9 to 11 "bachelors" following this harem at all times, and periodically one of the bachelors will challenge the stallion for ownership of the harem. These fights can be quite dramatic, and a real treat for visitors who are fortunate to be there to witness these confrontations.
There is a strict social order where one stallion will "own" a harem... but there are always challengers!
In 1992, the Bureau of Land Management set the maximum carrying capacity of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range at 95 adult animals. About every four years, the BLM will perform fly overs to count the number of horses in the herd.
Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center & Museum
Located just east of Lovell, Wyoming, the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Visitor Center is a great place to learn everything you need to know about the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. For now, this very helpful, informative and fascinating visitor center is a 30' x 40' log building, however there are plans in the works that include a brand new, much larger center that will be home to permanent displays as well as traveling displays. This 16,000 square foot facility will be a welcome up-grade to the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center.
You will truly enjoy your visit to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range....these mustangs are beautiful!
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area: Easiest Access
The Pryor Mountain feral horses are some of the most accessible wild horses in the country. Located between Billings, Montana and Lovell, Wyoming, this amazing wild horse refuge lies just east of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, and in fact a quarter of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range lies inside of this recreation area.
There is a conveniently placed paved road (Route 37) that takes you along the east side of this magnificent canyon and not only provides access to amazing views of the Bighorn Canyon, but also offers access into the wild horse refuge.
A majority of the Pryor Mountain Horse Range is located in Montana, but there are some amazing sections of the refuge found in Wyoming as well. But even though most of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range is located in Montana, the only way to access this refuge via a paved road is by first driving to Lovell Wyoming, and then driving northward along Route 37 along the west side of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. This is by far the most popular road to enter the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.
By driving up Route 37 along the west side of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, you will not only have terrific access to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, but you'll get to enjoy great views of the canyon! By the way, nearly a quarter of the wild horse range is in the national recreation area.
Dryhead Overlook, Penn's Cabin Routes: More Difficult Access
The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range can also be accessed from Billings, Montana. While travelling west on Interstate 90 for 15 miles, take the U.S. Route 310 Exit and follow this road into National Forest Service land.
There is a gravel road that takes you to Dryhead Overlook as well as other locations along the the route. A 4-wheel drive route to what is known as "Penn's Cabin", is also a good place to view the wild horses. There are several other vantage points via rough gravel roads, such as th Burnt Timber Ridge Road, and Sykes Ridge Road. These roads are not driveable during wet weather or snowy conditions, and to get the details on how to locate this primitive routes, contact the local Forest Service Office in Billings, Montana.
The Crow Nation also allows access to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, but they require a permit to cross tribal land.
Before you embark on any of these primitive roads, visit the local National Forest Service and/or BLM office in Billings Montana to find out EXACTLY where to go, and what the road conditions are like. Also, make sure you know the weather forecast because if it rains or snows, these primitive roads can become impossible to drive on.
Route 37 is by far the easiest way to gain access to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.
This wild black stallion gave us a "look" before he returned to his harem.
In addition to wild horses, the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range is also home to many other species of wildlife, such as Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, black bears, mountain lions, mule deer, pronghorns, blue grouse, elk, sage grouse and gray wolves. There are also 10 different species of bats found in the Pryor Mountains, as well has a tremendous diversity of plants.
This is a view of the Prior Mountains from the north as you come into the range from Billings, Montana.
If you like wild horses, you'll love the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range!