When Spanish explorers introduced horses to the Americas, some of the animals inevitably escaped and roamed wild across the land. You can see some of the last members of these breeds in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, the first such nationally designated refuge. Some 200 horses, generally broken into small family groupings, roam these arid slopes with bighorn sheep, elk, deer, and mountain lions. Coat variations such as grulla, blue roan, dun, and sabino indicate
Spanish lineage, as do markings such as dorsal stripes, zebra stripes on the legs, and a stripe on the withers. The best way to view the herds is simply to drive along Highway 37 and look out your window.
Hwy. 37, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Montana, 59035, United States
Dec 4, 2009
Seeing these wild horses, that are reported to be descendents of Lewis and Clark's horses, and the true Crow ponies, who have lived on top of this mountain for several hundred years is definitely an extraordinary experience. You can get from Billings, MT or from Lovell, WY. We stayed in a modest motel in Lovell, WY, the Horseshoe Bend Motel, and there is not much there in the way of restaurants. We went to the next little town for dinner, but some
of the rooms have small kitchens. You can see a few of the wild horses in the Big Horn National Park near the road, but take the whold day and go up Pryor Mtn. where the majority of these beautiful wild horses live, including "Cloud" of the PBS series. There is also a great visitor center in Lovell, Pryor Mustang Center, and it is worth taking the time to learn about the Pryor horses and where to see them. The drive to the top of Pryor Mtn. requires a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle and there's no charge. It's on BLM land. It's 20 miles to the top, but takes a good 2 hours. But the destination is more than worth it. Take your camera, visit the water holes, look for them on the high grassy meadows, and snap away. We walked to the water holes, but we were careful to keep away from the horses and stayed near the trees--they won't bother you, but you don't want to infringe on their habitat. We went up before dawn one morning and had breakfast on the mountain, and watched 50 horses come to the waterhole. If you don't want to drive up the mountain, the Pryor Mustang Center gives guided tours--well worth the cost for lots of information and history, as well as wear and tear on your vehicle. This is a don't miss experience if you in MT/WY. There is also another wild horse range, McCullough Peaks Range, on the way to Cody, WY not far from Lovell, WY. It is said that the genetics of those horses has been linked to Buffalo Bill's horses, as he was known to winter his horses there.