Morgan Horse Ranch

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Morgan Horse Ranch (MHR) is to preserve the site’s rich history, educate visitors about the Ranch and the Morgan horse breed, patrol the Seashore, and provide community outreach. To fulfill plans for new restoration, ecosystem monitoring, and trail maintenance initiatives, the Ranch is working to expand its capacity and support park staff in accessing the park’s wilderness areas.

MHR’s six horses—Honcho, Mira, Knight Hawk, Gentry, Moon, and Gunner—are critical to the preservation of cultural and natural resources as they help park rangers access and patrol the backcountry and beaches without disturbing the natural beauty of the Seashore. To preserve delicate ecosystems and opportunities for tranquility, the Seashore limits the use of modern machinery in wilderness areas. By providing non-mechanized access to these remote areas, the Morgan horses are essential to daily operations. They support biologists with vegetation projects, carry heavy tools and equipment, perform beach clean-ups with a viable way to carry out trash and prevent illegal fires. In the future, MHR hopes to include a mule on the team to help with these critical operations.

MHR also provides opportunities for visitor engagement, particularly with youth. In addition to being vital to park operations, the mission of the Ranch is to preserve the history of the Morgan horse breed through community outreach and to honor the history of the U.S. Army Cavalry—the first National Park Rangers—who worked in the late 1800s.

Ranch History & Continued Relevance

The Point Reyes Morgan Horse Ranch was established in 1970 as a breeding program to support education and protection patrols in National Parks across the country. During its peak years, nearly 80 foals were born at the ranch, which sustained 30-40 Morgan horses at one time. The breed continues to be sought after for its versatility and kind temperament.

In 1999, the last filly, Los Reyes Liberty Rose, was born at the ranch and the need for additional horses at other National Parks dwindled, largely due to lack of funds. At Point Reyes, renewed public support has meant the Morgan horses can continue to play an important role in conservation and visitor services. “In a 70,000-acre park with legislated Wilderness, our Rangers can’t just jump into their patrol cars and drive out to reach an injured visitor or search for a lost hiker. The horses give us a great mode of transportation to perform vital work,” says Lead Ranger Julie Byerly. Fellow Ranger Bonnie Phillips adds, “We have achieved great success the last few years, thanks to Point Reyes National Seashore supporters and we know we can reach the next level to do more work for the betterment of park trails and wildlife, both plant and animal.”

Morgan Horse Fund

After over 50 years of service, the Morgan Horse Ranch remains an active and integral part of Point Reyes National Seashore, thanks in part to your participation and contributions! Since 2019, PRNSA members have helped raise more than $271,000 to fund the Ranch Revitalization Project and the addition of several new Morgans to the herd—Knight Hawk, Gentry, Moon, and Gunner. These horses have been essential in supporting park safety and initiatives to preserve the Seashore’s ecological health.

The Ranch needs your help in maintaining and caring for these beautiful horses. Each year it costs between $50,000 to $80,000 to sustain a herd of six—this includes the cost of shoeing, feed, vet bills, and more. If you would like to help support the Morgans, a gift of any amount to the Morgan Horse Fund would be greatly appreciated and matched up to $20,000 to achieve our expanded vision for the ranch.

Map of Bear Valley area at Point Reyes National Seashore

Visiting the Ranch

The Morgan Horse Ranch is open to the public seven days a week with staff and volunteers usually present from 9 am to 4 pm. Interpretive exhibits in and around the ranch buildings highlight the history of the Morgan horse, the site, and how the horses were trained.

The Ranch is located on a small hill to the southwest of the Bear Valley Visitor Center. To visit, walk up the maintenance road located near the start of the Bear Valley Trailhead.

Directions to Bear Valley | Map of the Bear Valley Area