Vehicle Wash basin - Castle Products

Vehicle Wash basin

(Information and graphics courtesy of BLM, Colorado District Office)

The Sandwash Basin HMA is the largest in the state. It covers 160, 000 acres of public lands between Vermillion Bluffs and Sevenmile Ridge. This area's history reaches back to prehistoric times and is a modern treasure chest for any adventurous geologist or archaeologist.

Recreational activities include horseback riding, primitive camping, motorcycle and all terrain vehicle riding, rock hounding, snowmobiling and seasonal large and small game hunting.

A landmark to look for when entering from the south is the prominent rock formation called Monument Hill.

The landscape may look flat but the area is full of dry stream beds, gullies and washes. The sandwash ravine cuts through the western side of the basin like a mini version of the Grand Canyon.

Don't camp in these washes because of possible flash flooding!

Go 31 miles west of Craig to Maybell. Continue northwest from Maybell on Highway 318 for 17 miles to the southern entrance. For additional maps or further information about this HMA, contact the Little Snake Resource Area Office.

Bands of Color

The herd runs about 200 head. Pintos, grays, blacks, palominos, red and blue roans, bays and sorrels can be seen.


The horses are typically 15 to 16 hands high; weight 900 to 1100 pounds


These horses live in a sage and saltbush vegetation zone. Bluebunch, wheatgrass, western wheatgrass, Indian ricegrass and blue grasses comprise the majority of their food supply. Springs and reservoirs provide much of the water throughout the year.


This herd management area encompasses 160, 000 acres of semiarid land. The topography varies from gently rolling hills to steep ridges and low bluffs. Elevations vary from 5, 400 and 7, 000 feet. Temperatures range from above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in summer to -30 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.


Migrating antelope herds, sage grouse (strutting grouse), raptors, great horned owls, burrowing owls, pinghorn and mule deer can be found in Sandwash Basin.

Spring and Summer

The horses are distributed throughout Sandwash Basin. Horses can be seen on ridge tops during the warmest time of the day.

Winter Places

Roads are not maintained during the winter and can be difficult to travel.

Best Chance for Viewing

Travel County Road 67 to Sheepherder Springs. County Roads 48, 80, 52, 126 and 67 are good routes to follow when looking for horses.

Best Travel

Stay on marked roads for the safest viewing trip. Four-wheel drive is recommended but two-wheel drive vehicles can be used. Roads can become impassable during wet weather.

This is not a BLM operated or BLM sponsored site. It is run by private wild horse and burro enthusiasts. We are thankful to the BLM for providing the information which is presented here.
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