Plan Your Visit

War Horse scene



War Horse National Wildlife Refuge is an unstaffed satellite refuge and is part of the Charles M. Russell Complex. The Refuge consists of three separate land units: Wild Horse, War Horse and Yellow Water. The refuge is open to hunting, fishing, hiking, and wildlife observation. A boat launching site for small craft is available on the Yellow Water Unit but no other recreation facilities are available. In addition to compliance with all applicable state hunting regulations, non-toxic shot must be used to harvest waterfowl and upland game birds.

The Wild Horse Unit, located approximately 11 miles northeast of Teigen, Montana, consists of two small and separate land parcels adjacent to the southern shoreline of Wild Horse Lake. The west parcel is 120 acres and the east parcel, located a half mile to the east, is 320 acres. The parcels are separated by private land. A county maintained road crosses both parcels and provides public access. Neither parcel is boundary fenced.

Wild Horse Lake is a natural depression that infrequently contains water, but is very valuable for waterfowl and shorebirds when it does. It is used mainly for migration purposes. Additionally, the sagebrush uplands surrounding the lake are critical for wintering sage grouse and pronghorn antelope which can be found in the area throughout the year. Visitors will also encounter prairie dogs, mule deer, and rattlesnakes.

To access the Wild Horse Unit, head east from Grass Range on Highway 200 for 11 miles to the old town of Teigen. Turn north on the Blakeslee Road. Go 10 miles north until you come to a four way intersection. Turn east and drive 1.5 miles to the lake.

The War Horse Unit, located approximately 7 miles northeast of Teigen, Montana, consists of three separate land parcels adjacent to War Horse Reservoir. One 160-acre parcel is along the north shoreline; the other two parcels (520 and 632 acres) are on the south shoreline. There is also a 40-acre Waterfowl Production Area that connects the two parcels on the south shoreline. None of the parcels are boundary fenced.

War Horse Reservoir is a natural depression that contains water only infrequently, but is very productive for waterfowl and shorebirds when it does. The uplands surrounding the reservoir consist of sage brush/grasslands, with an association of ponderosa pines to the south. These pines are part of the acid-shale pine forest unique to central Montana.

To access the War Horse Unit head east from Grass Range on Highway 200 for 11 miles to the old town of Teigen. Turn north on the Blakeslee Road. Go 6.5 miles north until you see the lake, passing the NWR sign (at 5.5 miles). At the cement bridge, turn east on the dirt trail to the lake.

The Yellow Water Unit is located approximately 8 miles southwest of Winnett, Montana. It lies along the west and southwest shores of the Yellow Water Reservoir which is managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for irrigation supply to neighboring ranches. As such, water levels fluctuate radically and prevent establishment of emergent vegetation along the shoreline. The shallow flats on the west end of the lake are quite productive with submergent vegetation and are attractive to waterfowl and shorebirds. The combination of mud flats, shallow water areas, and deep water areas provides habitat for a diversity of water dependent species. Surrounding uplands provide critical nesting and wintering habitats for sage grouse. Pronghorn antelope, mule deer and rattlesnakes are also commonly observed, and there is a large black-tailed prairie dog town located southwest of the reservoir. The reservoir contains rainbow trout which are stocked occasionally by the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. This unit has a boundary fence and a boat launching site for small craft is available.

To access the Yellow Water Unit, take Highway 200 to the town of Winnett, then drive south on Highway 244 for 7.4 miles to the Yellow Water Road. Turn west on the gravel road and continue 5.5 miles taking a left at the ‘Y’ to the reservoir.