Some people call it Nevada’s friendliest town, and with plenty of visitors coming to Winnemucca for its events and access to endless outdoor activities, the town is certainly not short on hospitality. It’s situated smack dab in the center of northern Nevada, the halfway point between San Francisco and Salt Lake City. The Cowboy Territory town isn’t the state’s first settlement, but it has been occupied since about 1830, when trappers first arrived in the area on the hunt for fur-bearing animals. In 1863, the town was formally named in honor of Paiute Chief Winnemucca. His daughter, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, became the first American Indian woman to publish a book in the English language.
Today, many of Winnemucca’s locals find employment with area mines and establishments. The town has a rich Basque heritage that’s evident in its four Basque restaurants – a must-have Winnemucca experience. Take your pick and get ready for hearty, family-style dining. Much of the town is best explored on foot, so stop by the Humboldt County Visitors Center for a walking tour map of the area. Before you go, take some time to browse the William Humphreys Big Game Collection, the Buckaroo Hall of Fame and other exhibits that feature mining, historical representations of the Great Basin, American Indian heritage, the Basque culture and the pioneer trail. There are also impressive mineral and rock collections. And when you’re ready to explore the town, Tip’s Western is a must-see, with its custom saddles, leather goods, spurs and other cool items.
Outside of town, there’s no end to the hiking, biking, hunting and off-roading to be enjoyed on thousands of trails. The well-known and daunting Bloody Shins Trail beckons experienced mountain bikers, while hunters flock to the area for some of the best Chukar hunting around.
Winnemucca also has a jam-packed annual events calendar that runs all year long. The Run-A-Mucca motorcycle rally means more than 800 bike enthusiasts rumble through town over Memorial Day Weekend, and it’s the big kick-off to a summer filled with events. The Winnemucca Mule Show and Draft Horse Challenge, Fifties Fever and the Basque Festival follow. Other events include the National Senior Pro Rodeo Finals and the Rand Hand Rodeo Weekend, plus a number of traditional holiday celebrations.