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Rocky Creek – WIld Horses of Missouri

Rocky Creek is a stream that rises in Buckeye Township and flows northeast to the Current River in Bowlan Township. According to research by the University of Missouri, the creek got its name from the descriptive nature of the stream bed. I have hiked through and driven across Rocky Creek many times, verifying that the name is accurate!

The Rocky Creek herd is probably the most elusive and difficult to find. We can go months at a time or even longer between finding them. Their natural habitat remains very wild and rugged, even in modern times. It is like time stands still in this area.

The best way to stay up to date with the Rocky Creek herd is to be part of the Wild Horses of Missouri Facebook Group, where I post my latest photos, videos, and tips on the horses.

I had to search for two years to find them for the first time, and I live within 15 to 30 minutes of areas they have been known to frequent.

The terrain is rugged, and the horses know when people are in their space.

The members of each herd change over time because of several factors. Lead stallions are known for visiting other herds and bands to steal mares. Yes, that is correct; the stallions swoop in and steal mares from other herds. Also, because of the monitoring and management of the herd per the law, sometimes members are gathered to keep the size of the herds within the bounds of the legal agreement.

INFORMATION & DIRECTIONS

The Rocky Creek Herd is the most difficult to find and your chances of seeing them are pretty low unless you are a local that visits very frequently.
Difficulty Rating: Very Difficult

Frequency: Low

Tips: Need 4WD and Lots of Patience

Directions: Located near Klepzig Mill off Highway NN and Highway H. From Eminence, take Highway 106 east to Highway H and go south to H-522 on your left. You will need a lifted 4WD vehicle for most of this route. I don’t recommend this route unless you know what you are doing because you have to pass several creeks that can be dangerous, and some of the terrains can damage your vehicle. There is zero mobile phone coverage in this area, and it is very remote and isolated. If you get stuck, injured, or lost, it is very likely there will be no one around to help you, so keep that in mind. This is a remote area and I have seen many poisonous snakes during my hunts for wild horses, especially in the summer months. Avoid walking or sitting on down trees/logs and picking up rocks.

The best way to stay up to date with the Rocky Creek herd is to be part of the Wild Horses of Missouri Facebook Group, where I post my latest photos, videos, and tips on the horses.

Wild Horses of Missouri Map by Tim Layton - www.timlaytonfineart.com

Additional Tips & Helpful Information: There are several vegetation fields along this route where the horses have been seen before. I want to make sure you understand that it is highly unlikely that you will see this herd and the risk of either injury or damage to your vehicle is the highest of all the locations. If you get stuck or injured out here, there isn’t a lot of traffic to help. I have a satellite SOS device that I keep with me when I go here and I am fully prepared in the event of injury.

If you are brave enough and can make your way via this route, you will end up at Klepzig Mill (four creek crossings later) and dump out at Highway NN, which will take you to Highway H. If you go left, you will go to Winona. If you go right, you will go towards Highway 106 and Eminence.

From Winona, take High H off of Highway 19 to the signs for Rocky Falls (Highway NN). Follow NN past Rocky Falls and turn left on the gravel road towards Kelpzig Mill. This route can be partially accessible to regular trucks and 4WD vehicles up until you pass the mill and get to the first creek, which is very deep and swift. During the 1.1-mile drive from the turn until you reach Klepzig Mill on your right, you will see some vegetation fields on your right. The horses are sometimes seen in these fields and even on the gravel road too.

The horses could be seen just about anywhere in this region, and since a lot of the terrain is so rugged and difficult to navigate, I don’t recommend this for first-time visitors unless you are with an experienced guide. There are much easier and safer locations listed above that will provide a much stronger chance of seeing wild horses.

The best way to stay up to date with the Rocky Creek herd is to be part of the Wild Horses of Missouri Facebook Group, where I post my latest photos, videos, and tips on the horses.