Humboldt County is the oldest county in Nevada, with a description dating back to 1881 of “alkali plains, covered in part with scattering sage-brush, with now and then a tuft of bunch-grass.” Bordering Oregon and near California and Idaho, today the Humboldt high desert is mostly characterized by flat valleys and abrupt mountain elevations, with views to wildflower, sagebrush, meadows and even sand dunes. This geographic backdrop and history in the west lends Humboldt County to being part self-reliant and part community-driven.
In Humboldt County summer days are hot, and at night the temperature drops. In the winter, lows average around 16 F. The county averages 18 inches in snow. While the county was originally named for the Humboldt River, it is currently made up of less than 0.1% water. Apart from census-designated places in the county, such as Paradise Valley or Fort McDermitt, Winnemucca is the county’s sole incorporated city. This city, partly due to its rich history, supports activity that makes it the chief outsourcing center in Humboldt County. For example, Amtrak, with its California Zephyr, provides daily service in Winnemucca toward both San Francisco and Chicago. Winnemucca also houses the headquarters of the Winnemucca Indian colony of Nevada, which is a federally recognized tribe of both Western Shoshone and Northern Paiute Indians.
As the county seat, Winnemucca, together with its surrounding area, is a very involved community. Annual events are hosted here that draw people from across the country. The Annual Basque Festival celebrates the region’s very prominent Basque culture, which both historically and to this day plays a huge role in the county’s leadership and industry. The Run-A-Mucca Motorcycle Rally and the Winnemucca Wheels Car Show celebrate all things automotive, with concerts, vendors, a parade, the Ranch Hand Rodeo and more.
For 31 years, the Ranch Hand Rodeo has been one of Nevada’s largest rodeos. Here folks gather and compete and enjoy Saddle Bronc Riding, Steer Stopping and more. Similarly, the Western States Ranch Rodeo Association hosts a rodeo. In 2019, together with La Rena’s team, book proceedings were forwarded to cancer patients in Humboldt and Lander. La Rena’s race has previously raised grant money for people totaling more than $340,000. Other annual events that solidify Humboldt County’s role in the state and nation include the Tri-County Fair & Stampede and Shooting the West, a photography symposia celebrating the beauty of western landscapes.
Even a glance at the current calendar events shows Winnemucca and the rest of Humboldt County to be culturally alive. Recent events include the Winnemucca Nevada Big Game Banquet, the Winnemucca Toy Run, Winnemucca Futures as part of the Boys & Girls Club of Winnemucca, real estate workshops, general business workshops, Wine Walks and archery challenges. There is also the Humboldt Museum, the Winnemucca Sand Dunes, the golf course, a half a dozen city parks and, of course, the visitor center.
Humboldt County NEAP
The NEAP team would like to give our thanks to the following members of the Humboldt County Community who have assisted us in this process.
- Humboldt County Commission
- Office of the County Manager
- Residents of Humboldt County