Wild Horse Reservoir, Nevada, USA

Also known as:  Wildhorse Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Wild Horse Reservoir — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Wild Horse Reservoir

Lake Locations: USA - US West Region - Nevada - Cowboy Country, NV -

Wild Horse Reservoir, also known as Wildhorse Reservoir, is located along the Owyhee River in the deserts of northeastern Nevada near the Idaho border. The reservoir was originally built in 1937 to provide water storage for irrigation for the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. The original dam was replaced in 1969, increasing the size of the lake to its present 2,830 acres. The reservoir’s distinctive name came from the wild horses that roamed the Owyhee Meadows where the lake was constructed. Today, wild horses can still be seen in the Owyhee Desert west of the lake.

The high-altitude reservoir, 6205 feet above sea level, is surrounded by treeless desert, and the nearby mountains provide a stunning backdrop for recreation and relaxation. Wild Horse Reservoir’s climate can vary greatly from season to season. Temperatures can top 90 degrees F in the summer, and lows of -20 degrees F are common in the winter months, making Wild Horse Reservoir home to some of the coldest winter temperatures in the state of Nevada.

Fishing is the most popular activity at the lake, and most anglers come in search of rainbow trout and yellow perch. Wild Horse Reservoir is also home to brown trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, white crappie, and bowcutt trout. Many anglers also have good luck fishing in the Owyhee River below Wild Horse Dam. Anglers visit the lake year-round, with fly fishing popular in early spring and late fall. The cold winter temperatures make the lake ideal for ice fishing, and the Wild Horse Ice Fishing Tournament held annually each February draws anglers from all over Nevada.

Wild Horse Recreation Area, a 140-acre park on the northeastern shore of the lake, offers visitors an ideal place to enjoy the lake every season of the year. The park is open year-round, but visitors should be aware that access can often be difficult in the winter. The recreation area boasts a boat ramp, picnic area, and even a small swimming beach–a perfect place to cool off from those 90 degree temperatures in the summer. In the fall, hunting opportunities abound in the lands surrounding the recreation area. And in the winter, the park comes alive with the sounds of snowmobiles and snow skiers. The park’s rolling hills and lack of trees make it a perfect place for winter sports.

Visitors who would like to camp at the lake have several options. Wild Horse State Recreation Area has a campground with 33 campsites, each equipped with picnic tables and fire pits. Restrooms and showers are also conveniently available. Camping is also available at lakeside sites managed by the Shoshone-Paiute Indian Tribe who inhabit Duck Valley Indian Reservation. The more adventurous can enjoy more primitive camping in many areas right on the shores of the reservoir.

If you are looking for a secluded lake with year-round interest, Wild Horse Reservoir is the place for you. Be sure to plan a trip to this relaxing oasis in the heart of the Nevada desert.

Things to Do at Wild Horse Reservoir

  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting

Fish Species Found at Wild Horse Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout
  • White Crappie
  • Yellow Perch

Find Places to Stay at Wild Horse Reservoir

If you’re considering a Wild Horse Reservoir lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Wild Horse Reservoir Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Wild Horse Reservoir lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Wild Horse Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Bureau of Indian Affairs

Surface Area: 2,830 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 6,205 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 6,210 feet

Average Depth: 40 feet

Maximum Depth: 70 feet

Water Volume: 71,500 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1969

Drainage Area: 60 sq. miles

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