Battle Mountain

Located between Elko and Winnemucca in the center of Nevada, most people know Battle Mountain as little more than a strategic rest stop as they skirt quickly across the Silver State on Interstate 80. After leaving Winnemucca that car seat begins to gum to your pants and then your soft drink runs out. Just as the interstate grind has become too much, Battle Mountain appears on the horizon saving the day as a mini oasis of population. For many people, Battle Mountain is caught as a fleeting town, but those people who stop immediately see something is a little different here. Battle Mountain lacks the neon-bonanza common in other Interstate 80 towns like Elko, Wendover, Reno, and even Winnemucca. Instead, this is a town where residents still count the numbers of cars cruising down Main Street. Although Battle Mountain treads through life at a tortoise's pace, it is ironic that it remains steadily dependant on the race-like interstate and supporting itself from the thousands of tourists who stop for gas, food, and lodging. The town's primary economic base, though, is gold mining found in the nearby hills of the Galena Range.

The name "Battle Mountain" comes from a prospector by the name of George Tannehill, who discovered rich copper ore in the nearby Galena Range in 1866. Immediately, he formed the Battle Mountain Mining District, and in 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad, the western half of the first transcontinental railroad, built a siding to offload supplies for the mines of the district. In 1870, the railroad decided to move their station from Argenta to this new area and a town was surveyed out, aptly keeping the name, Battle Mountain. Mr. Tannihill told a newspaper that he chose the name because he, Captain Pierson, and twenty-three emigrants fought Native Americans here in 1857! Although we doubt this is true, we do know that there were three attacks in the area during the summer of 1857. The events that occurred that year near Battle Mountain were well documented in diaries, California newspapers, and the daily records and journals of the government survey crew that spent the summer near Battle Mountain. However, nowhere in all the records is there any mention of George Tannehill, Captain Pierson, or twenty-three emigrants fighting the Indians at Battle Mountain. With that, we're left to decipher the origins of "Battle Mountain" and out of a handful of historical possibilities the likeliest scenario indicates that Tannehill simply wanted to make himself sound prestigious and important. Hence, instead of naming the town "Tannehill," he stuck with the much more interesting name, "Battle Mountain!" Now that's a story!

Battle Mountain is a rather new county seat in Nevada. It was granted the title of seat after statesmen moved it from Austin in 1979. And, Battle Mountain is a relatively quiet community here in Nevada. Regardless of its somewhat staid appearance, the small community has just about every basic service imaginable for a county the size of Lander, including well-priced fuel, lodging, a hospital, the Owl Club Casino, county library, a high school, golf course, grocery store, camping facilities, and full RV and truck services. Nearby attractions include the Willow Creek Ponds found about fifteen minutes south of town and the Mill Creek drainage east of town. Here, a cache of some very hidden mountain streams provide nice respite from the dry desert air. Like most of Nevada's population centers, there is more here than meets the eye.

  • The Lander County Courthouse in Battle Mountain
  • Downtown Battle Mountain, Reese Ave & Main Street.  Battle Mountain is one of the many towns along former US 40

Status: Seat of Lander County (Incorporated City)
Founded: December 8, 1866
Population: 3,835 (2012)
Zip Code: 89820
Motto: "Get Primitive"


Distance in miles from ...
Carlin -- 49
Winnemucca -- 53
Elko -- 70
Austin -- 90
Tonopah -- 206
Reno -- 218
Las Vegas -- 420

Fun Facts:
- Battle Mountain was the site of the land-speed luge record at 315 mph!

Battle Mountain, Nevada
Lander County Visitors Guide

Call it an armpit. Call it a quick rest stop on the 80. Call it what you will, but Battle Mountain's got flavor.