Winnemucca NV

Winnemucca

Billed as the “Friendliest Town in Nevada,” Winnemucca will welcome you with big Basque dinners, rich buckaroo history, and all kinds of ways to enjoy the great outdoors. From the mighty Humboldt River to sprawling sand dunes and a mountain biking trail that’ll make your shins quake, pack an appetite (and your favorite cowboy hat) for endless adventure.

Where Basque Heritage Meets Buckaroo History

Fresh Air & Cowboy Flair

Your first trip to Winnemucca certainly won’t be your last. After all, there’s a reason this Humboldt County, Nevada gem boasts of being the “Friendliest Town” in the Silver State. The warm hospitality will get you in the proverbial door, but it’s the scenic outdoor opportunities, hearty Basque cuisine, and vibrant cowboy culture that’ll keep you coming back for more. 

Located halfway between San Francisco and Salt Lake City, there’s no better basecamp than Winnemucca, NV. Book a few overnights in town as the perfect respite from days spent chasing ghost towns, rockhounding opals, and bagging unbelievable views. 

Northern Nevada Map Graphic

Season

All Seasons

Region

Northern

Winnemucca History & Culture

Does “Winnemucca, NV” ring any bells? It might if you’re familiar with Chief Winnemucca of the local Northern Paiute people, the first to call this region of Nevada home, and his daughter, Sarah Winnemucca. The 1860s construction of the Transcontinental Railroad (which built out existing East Coast railways all the way to San Francisco) also helped put Winnemucca on the map. This historic endeavor brought a community of Chinese workers to the area who, along with Basque sheepherders from southern Europe’s Basque Country, contributed to the town’s cultural background. 

Humboldt Museum

Dig even deeper into the region’s origin stories at the Humboldt Museum, where you can get up close and personal with a wooly mammoth skeleton and fossils from an ichthyosaur species discovered in the nearby Black Rock Desert. Robust exhibits on Winnemucca’s American Indian and Chinese heritage and Humboldt Soda Works, which later sold to 7UP, will equally wow you.

Buckaroo Hall of Fame & Heritage Museum

Winnemucca also brims with Wild West history. Learn all about the cowboy roots here by boot scootin’ to the Buckaroo Hall of Fame & Heritage Museum, which also doubles as the Winnemucca Visitors Center. You’ll be introduced to 70+ bona fide bronc riding, cattle handling, and roping inductees while being surrounded by western memorabilia and displays of saddles, chaps, brands, art, photos, and more. 

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Add Johnny Cash’s “I’ve Been Everywhere” to your playlist – the very first town he names in the song is Winnemucca!
Winnemucca Sand Dunes

Fast Tracks Productions

Things to Do in Winnemucca, NV

Grab all your adventure gear before hitting the road to Winnemucca – you’re gonna want it. The Winnemucca Sand Dunes are a must if you’re itchin’ to rip up almost 100-foot-tall mounds that span 40 miles. And if you don’t have your own dirtbikes or ATVs, you can snag some rentals from Reno-based UTV Addiction. Anglers will reel-y enjoy fishing for white crappie, walleye, channel catfish, yellow perch, and both smallmouth and largemouth bass in the Humboldt River, along with primitive camping and serene views. The Water Canyon Recreation Area is great for hiking, biking, wildlife sightseeing, picnics, and overnight camping, too.

Paradise Valley

If you wanna explore outside of Winnemucca, there are some A++ day trip opportunities awaiting you. You’ll practically have spring wildflowers, craggy granite formations, and pockets of aspens (plus jaw-dropping vistas) all to yourself in the Santa Rosa-Paradise Peak Wilderness. And mountain bikers of all skill levels can let loose on the Bloody Shins Trail, which offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced grades over seven-to-seventeen trying miles and a trailhead right of the edge of Winnemucca.

Head 40 miles north of Winnemucca for the living ghost town (population: about 50) of Paradise Valley, which will fully feel like the movie set of an 1885 western. On select Saturdays, the Paradise Valley Saloon & Bar G hosts a mighty appetizing ribeye cookout for dinner, too. Rockhounders and sparkle seekers can try their hand (or hammer) in Denio, right on the Nevada/Idaho border, and hopefully head home with opals for souvenirs.

Winnemucca Restaurants

Treat your tastebuds to the most delicious history lesson they’ll ever enjoy. Winnemucca is big on Basque cuisine, and there’s no better way to get introduced to the Nevada slice of this culture than a five-star, course-after-course meal. The Martin Hotel has served up braised lamb shanks, chorizo, ribeyes, and one stellar steak sandwich since 1898. And over at Bakarra Basque Bistro, exquisite seafood and pasta dishes neighbor meaty entrees, and sampling some pintxos – tapas-styled bites featuring classic Basque flavors – is absolutely part of the experience. Wash it all down with a Picon Punch, Nevada’s unofficial state cocktail that you’ll be hard pressed to find outside the Silver State.

The Griddle
The Martin Hotel

For those who’ll pass on the Basque, The Pig BBQ & Pub is another local favorite, whipping up St. Louis-style ribs, Louisiana hot links, and hickory-smoked chicken. Sink your teeth into homemade, stone-baked pizza and calzones at Winnemucca Pizzeria, or go for fresh and authentic Mexican favorites made from family recipes at Chihuahua’s Cantina & Grill. And for breakfast, step into what feels like a 1960s time capsule at The Griddle, a nostalgic diner making damn good crepes, hotcakes, and benedicts with a side of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Scott Shady Court

Where to Stay in Winnemucca

Cap off your best day ever with a sleepover, as you’ll have a fair share of Winnemucca hotels to choose from. Glowing neon will beckon you to the Scott Shady Court, a retro roadside inn that pairs vintage charm with comfy beds, a grassy playground, and a heated pool and sauna. Pets are welcome at the Best Western Plus Gold Country Inn, but only humans can take advantage of the complimentary full breakfast. If it’s a hotel casino experience you seek, The Winnemucca Inn pairs spacious suites with slots and a sportsbook. 

Winnemucca hasn’t forgotten about RV travelers, boasting more than 350 spaces for you. Silver State RV Park features a shuffleboard court and koi pond in addition to being big rig friendly, plus two cabins, a park model, and a safari tent for rent. Huge pull-throughs, a dog park, and spectacular sunrise/sunset views are waiting for you at New Frontier RV Park

Winnemucca Events

Mark your calendars for some extra special Winnemucca events. Traditionally held over Memorial Day weekend, the Run-A-Mucca Motorcycle and Music Festival packs free concerts, a $1,000 poker run, bike shows and games, a tattoo contest, and the literal burning of a bike into three memory-making days. For a glimpse into the real lives of Great Basin cowboys, mosey into town for the Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo Weekend, where 30+ teams show off skills in saddle bronc riding, ranch doctoring, team roping, cow dog trials, and so much more.

Shooting the West Photography Symposium
Michael Okimoto
Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo Weekend

At the Shooting the West Photography Symposium, both budding and professional photographers can take part in hands-on workshops with industry leaders, participant shows, juried contests, and portfolio reviews. And last but nowhere near least, the Winnemucca Basque Festival is one more way to latch onto the region’s heritage. Come for the food, stay for the time-honored games, like weight carrying and Jota dancing. 

#TravelNevada

Wayfaring in Winnemucca? Let us tag along by tagging #TravelNevada. And save a Picon Punch (or two) for us while you’re at it. 

Went out and about last night to explore around town. Love old neon and the night.
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#bnwphotography #bnwphotograph #bnwphoto #bnwphotographer #bnw #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotographylovers #blackandwhitephotos #colorphotography #landscapephotography #urbanexploration #urbanphotography #nightscape #ilovethenightlife #nikon #nikond500 #nikon28300mm #nikon1855mm #nikonphotographer #nikonphotography #nikonphoto #homemeansnevada #onlyinnv #explonrenevada #northernnevada #nevadadesert #winnemuccanevada #winnemucca #nevada
Diner classic since 1948 🍒
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Always great to stop at a classic dinner when road tripping. Here from The Griddle in the small town of Winnemucca, Nevada. One of Nevada’s original diners. Was a nice stop on the way to Utah.
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#blastfromthepast #roadtrip #neonsign #neonsigns #diner #dinersigns #vintagesign #retrosign #retrosigns #colortv #vintagesign #hotelsign #motelsign #motelsigns #motelsignage #retro #retrolove #retrostyle #midcentury #midcenturymod #midcenturysign #1950s #1940s #vintage #lookingupatthesky #coolfont #winnemucca #winnemuccanevada #nevada #visitnevada
#getoutside #adventurer #mountains #sunset #nevada #dfmi #winnemucca #tw200
Family strolls always take the longest, but are usually the best

#family #manzoclan #desertrats #optoutside #outdoorfamilies #trailmothers #adventuremamas #highdesert #bloodyshinstrail #pinball #winnemucca #naturalnevada #dfmi #travelnevada #explorenevada #mountains #nature #trailchat
Grand Opening of the Basque exhibit at the Humboldt Museum in Winnemucca, NV 7/22/20 🖼 🐑 🥘
I love this little place. And lodging like Scott Shady Court is hard to come by these days. So many of its contemporaries are long gone. Or gone to seed.

A family of Swiss immigrants – owners and operators to this day – opened Scott Shady Camp in 1928 offering travelers a service station, grocery store and auto court, each room with its own attached covered driveway just feet from the front door. Over the years,
There’s a mysterious monument beckoning travelers off Interstate 80 – and it’s way worth the detour. ♻️⛰🖼
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Next time you find yourself on the road between Lovelock and Winnemucca (or more specifically, in Imlay), park it at Thunder Mountain, an unconventional sculpture garden built by hand with decades of found objects. With hundreds of statues and objects surrounding the three-story structure, it’s a veritable feast for the eyeballs. 👀 #TravelNevada #WeirdNevada
“But he's still out there ridin' fences 
Still makes his livin' with his rope
As long as there's a sunset he'll keep ridin' for the brand
You just can't see him from the road”
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#chrisledoux #cowboy #winnemucca#ridingfences #westernart #TravelNevada #explorenevada #nvmag #naturalnevada #renegade_rural #rural_love #ranchlife #backroad_visions#westernphotography #raw_country#countryliving#landscapephotography #jw_snapshots #ig_masterpiece #artofvisuals #sky_captures #skylovers  #natgeotravel#bns_landscape #getoutside
#ExpeditionEarth#bestnatureshot #naturelovers
Amazing to see this guy hanging out 😍
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#landscapephotography #landscapephotograph #nikon #nikond500 #nikon28300mm #nikonphotographer #nikonphotography #nikonphoto #homemeansnevada #onlyinnv #explonrenevada #northernnevada #nevadadesert #winnemucca #paradisevalleynevada #humboldtcountynevada #nevada #getoutandexplore #historylovers #nevadahistory #ranchingheritage #nevadaranching #nevadafarming #america #baldeagle
Photo of the day: Humboldt River in Winnemucca. Love those twists and turns! Posted by Art Director Kippy Spilker. #nvmag #nevada #humboldtriver #winnemucca
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