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U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory

Picture of wild horses on a hillside on the Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory.The Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory (WHT) is administered by the Ely Ranger District, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.


The Monte Cristo WHT is located in Nevada approximately 30 miles west of Ely. The territory consists of 71,680 acres of National Forest land and 366,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land, Monte Cristo Herd Management Area (HMA). The territory lies on the west slopes and foothills of the White Pine Mountain Range.

Topography consists of canyons, mountains, and steep ridges. Elevations range from about 6000 to 11,000 feet. The climate is arid to semiarid. Average annual precipitation is 20 inches at the higher elevations and 8 inches at the lower elevations. Precipitation comes mostly in the form of winter snow and early spring rains. Temperatures range from summer maximums in excess of 90° F to winter lows falling below zero.

Major vegetation types are sagebrush-grass, pinyon-juniper, aspen, and meadows.

Wildlife within the territory include elk, mule deer, antelope, sage grouse, and various species of reptiles, small mammals, rodents, and raptors.

Livestock grazing is permitted within the territory.


There is no specific information regarding the original breeds of horse within the Monte Cristo WHT. It is known that the horses descended from ranch stock and horses that belonged to miners in the area during the 1800’s that were released or escaped and became wild. Curly horses are found within this territory, as they were introduced in the area by Tom Dixon in 1874.

Herd Description

Monte Cristo WHT/HMA is managed for an appropriate management level of 236 horses. These horses are average size for wild horses, 13-15 hands. Colors are varied and include roans, greys, buckskin, bay, sorral, brown, black, and white.

For More Information

Contact the Ely Ranger District at 775-289-3031.