Helping you find your next adventure!

States ⬇️


The Wild Animal Sanctuary Acquires Land for Wild Horse Refuge Property

The Wild Animal Sanctuary, A Colorado Non-Profit Corporation, announces the recent acquisition of a large parcel of land located in northwest Colorado not far from the historic town of Steamboat Springs. With more than 22,450 acres of land spanning 29 square miles, this contiguous parcel of land represents a landmass larger than Manhattan Island.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary purchased the land for its newly created Wild Horse Refuge, which will serve to rescue and protect hundreds of Colorado’s native wild horses, which are also known as Mustangs.  The Refuge is being created in response to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wild horse round up operations which began in early 2022 and were done within Colorado’s Sand Wash Basin and Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Areas (HMA).

The land, which consists of rolling hills and canyons covered in native grasses, sagebrush, and juniper trees, and features Lay Creek meandering through a large portion of the property, will be the perfect habitat for wild Mustangs to live and roam freely.

Due to its vast size, the newly formed Refuge is already home to an array of native wildlife, such as varmints, mountain lions, bobcats, deer, elk, pronghorn, dove, sage grouse, geese, duck, golden and bald eagles. The land was formerly operated as a large cattle ranch and breeding operation but will now be dedicated entirely to saving Colorado’s native wild horses.

Formerly known as the Rio Ro Mo Ranch, The Wild Animal Sanctuary plans to carry on the tradition of being an excellent land steward as it becomes one of the largest free roaming wild horse sanctuaries in the United States.  As the Refuge moves forward in the coming months, there are plans to rescue and provide a life-long home to as many as 500 head of wild Mustangs.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary has been rescuing captive wildlife, horses, and many other species of animals for more than 43 years and currently operates three other facilities for rescued animals. With a 1,214-acre facility located near Denver, CO, as well as a second 10,000-acre facility located in southeast Colorado near the town of Springfield, and a third facility located just west of Fort Worth, TX; total acreage for the organization now amounts to more than 33,000-acres.

Visit Us:

The Sanctuary’s two primary missions involve rescuing and caring for animals – and educating people about the Captive Wildlife Crisis.  To that end, we invite people who want to learn more about the work we do to visit our unique facility in person.

However, the Sanctuary is not a Zoo and offers a completely different experience than what most people are used to.  Our rescued animals live in large acreage open habitats and are never forced to remain front-and-center just so people can see them easier.  

Yet, our elevated walkway (which is more than 1.5 miles long) spans across numerous habitats and provides plenty of opportunities for our guests to see many of the rescued animals closer.

It is very important for people to come to the Sanctuary for the right reasons, and not just for entertainment.  With more than 170,000 people visiting yearly, it’s obvious the Sanctuary is an amazing place to visit and learn – yet, we purposely do not strive to attract the 1.5 million visitors that would normally go to the Denver Zoo.

Instead, the vast majority of visitors to the Wild Animal Sanctuary come to experience an incredibly serene setting where Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Prides of African Lions get to roam freely after having been rescued and rehabilitated.

Every Lion, Tiger, Bear, Wolf and other animal living at the Sanctuary was rescued from an illegal or abusive situation and desperately needs your help to survive.  Visiting the Sanctuary is a privilege, and requires a serious commitment by people in order to be part of the solution to the Captive Wildlife Crisis.

Day Pass Visit Costs:

  • Adults (ages 13 to 69) – $50 per adult
  • Seniors (ages 70+) – $20 per adult
  • Children (ages 3 to 12) – $30 per child
  • Children (0-2) – No entry fee


The Sanctuary is open from 9:00 AM to Sunset each day, with the exception of New Years Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Tips for Visiting:

Since it takes three to six hours to go through the entire facility, it is recommended that all visitors arrive no later than 4 hours prior to closing. They stop allowing entry into the Sanctuary two hours prior to closing time.​

Hats, Sunglasses, Water, and Umbrellas are helpful during summer months, and always dress for changing weather – as it can be very hot – very cold – and everything in-between – and there is almost always a breeze up on the walkway.

Binoculars are a great way to see better anywhere you go… so plan to bring yours, or they do have ones available to rent, too.

As you walk on the Mile Into The Wild Walkway, and its connected observation decks, there will be informational signs and audio kiosks posted at habitats and other important areas of the Sanctuary. There are also tour books given to visitors at no charge.

Each of the main observation decks has picnic tables and chairs – as does the rest area at the foot of the south-end ramp. You are welcome to bring your own picnic lunch, or there is a wonderful Cafe/Restaurant located in the Welcome Center where they offer a wide variety of food, snacks, and beverages.

January 28, 2023

Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *