About Elko County
Sagebrush-covered valleys, separated by numerous mountain ranges, cover the 17,179 square miles of Elko County. With a population of 45,291 people, its population density is 3 persons per square mile. With most of those clustered in a few cities along Interstate 80, a vast area of near-wilderness covers most of the county.
The Humboldt River flows through the deserts of northern Nevada, fed by springs at the feet of the East Humboldt Mountain Range in the central part of the county. The river has provided water for early explorers, and the subsequent settlement of the area. Its path has been followed by the railroad, and by Interstate 80, and Wells, Elko and Carlin lie near its banks.
Rising dramatically above the flat valleys, the peaks of the East Humboldt Mountains and the Ruby Mountains reach above 10,000 feet. Alpine lakes and forests dot their highest slopes. Numerous lower mountains in the county are covered in forests of juniper trees.
Elko County was created on March 5, 1869, divided off of Lander County. The county seat is at Elko. The Western Pacific Railroad laid track through the county in 1908. U.S. Highway 40 was completed in 1927, and was replaced by Interstate 80 in 1975. U.S. Highway 93 crosses the county north to south.