BLM protects and manages wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands.
The 220,000-acre Red Rock Herd Management Area is located in southern Nevada, approximately 20 miles west of Las Vegas. The Herd Management Area contains both wild horses and burros that represent living symbols of the Western spirit.
It’s often easier for visitors to see the burros in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area because they often congregate near Bonnie Springs, Spring Mountain Ranch and the town of Blue Diamond along State Route 159.
Burros are well adapted to the Mojave Desert and survive high temperatures and long periods of time without green forage by using shade under rocky cliffs and shrubs and by being most active in the early morning and late afternoon. They survive the apparent lack of water by seeking out the natural springs and hidden waterholes found throughout Red Rock Canyon. They eat grasses and shrubs. Burros are generally less than half the size of a horse. Males are called jacks and females are called jennies.
Each year people are injured by burros as they try to feed or pet these animals. Feeding burros also causes them to lose their natural fear of roads and cars. Every year both burros and humans die from burro and automobile collisions due to this adaptation.
Wild horses may be seen at the extreme northern end of Red Rock neat Cold Creek. They also may be spotted at the extreme southern end of Red Rock on the dirt road leading from State Route 160 to Goodsprings.
To observe these beautiful animals safely:
- Pick a safe place to stop and pull completely off the roadway.
- Observe the burros from a distance. The safest place is from your car.
- Do not stand close to them, or get on their backs.
- Refrain from the temptation to feed or water these hardy desert creatures. If you have food in an open container, seal it if a burro approaches you.
- Drive carefully and be cautious when you see animals on or near the road. Burros may step out in front of your car unexpectedly.
For more information about BLM’s wild horse and burro program, please click here.