The vast, open terrain of Tooele County has been home to wild horses for generations. Their power and majesty can be observed while venturing into the county’s outback around the Onaqui and Cedar Mountain Herd Management Areas.

The Bureau of Land Management oversees the HMAs, making sure that grazing areas are not overpopulated, or the horses are wrongfully taken. The BLM encourages visitors to see the horses, but it is illegal to chase or catch them because foals, pregnant mares and older horses can easily be hurt when pursued.

The horses are naturally wary and usually get spooked and run for cover when humans draw near. However, their wariness is known to diminish around BLM-maintained watering holes. The watering holes provide the greatest opportunity to observe their behavior, sometimes within only a few hundred yards.

The Cedar Mountain HMA is located approximately 35 miles west of Tooele City. The HMA extends from Hastings Pass southward to Dugway Proving Ground, and contains 179,584 acres of federal, state and privately owned lands. Wild horses have lived in the Cedar Mountains since the late 1800s. It is believed the Standard Horse and Mule Company, which provided remounts for the U.S. Army, controlled the original stock. However, according to the BLM, many of the horses on the Cedar Mountains are from descendants that were turned loose or escaped nearby ranches.

The dominant colors within the Cedar herd are bay and black, but other colors found are sorrel, red, and blue roan, buckskin, gray, palomino and pinto. The horses are average in size, with mares weighing 750 to 800 pounds and stallions weighing 850 to 1,000 pounds.

The Onaqui HMA is located 40 miles southwest of Tooele City. This HMA extends from Johnson’s Pass south to Lookout Pass. Wild horses can be seen on the bench and flat areas along the east and west side of the mountain range. The HMA contains 43,880 acres of federal, state and privately owned land.

In the Onaqui Mountains, wild horses have been around since the late 1800s. Most of the horses are descendants of horses that escaped from local ranches. The dominant colors are brown and bay. Other colors include sorrel, roan, buckskin, black and white.

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