NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Winter Recreation Opportunities on the Santa Rosas

Written by Sierra Sampson, NE Botanist, US Forest Service, Humboldt - Toiyabe National Forest

This just in… the great outdoors are still open through winter! Come out and explore the winter wonderland that is your Santa Rosa Ranger District! A perfect way to have a socially distant adventure in your own backyard! Are you trying to make the most of the snow season? Looking to try out a new winter sport? Want to create chilly memories with friends and family? We have got you covered, get out and explore your public lands!

Back Country Skiing

Hinky Summit Road- Easy, 6 miles round trip-

Under the right snow conditions, it is a 3-mile skin up to the summit, with an incredible view of the Santa Rosa ridgelines at the top, the journey down is swift ride when the powder is good.

Singas Creek Trailhead- Moderate, 10 miles round trip-

You will need a good 4-wheel drive vehicle to access, it is a beautiful opportunity to ski through magical mahogany forests.

Hansen Creek- Difficult, 5.5 miles round trip-

You will need a good 4-wheel drive vehicle to access, this is a steep section of the mountain and the skin up is a tough one, but from the ridgeline, the views of paradise valley make it worth the hard work!


Falls Canyon- Easy, 4 miles round trip-

Located on the West side of the Santa Rosas, this trek will take you up to an icy waterfall.

Horse Canyon- Moderate, 6 miles round trip-

This is a great opportunity to for winter bird watching, this is a moderate out and back trail that leads into the Santa Rosa Peak Wilderness.

Hinky Summit Road- Moderate, 6 miles round trip-

This is a good place to start for snowshoeing beginners, easy to access, a bit of a climb, but beautiful views, it is 3-miles to the summit.


Hinky Summit- Beginner skill level-

Easy to access popular destination.

Buttermilk Meadows- Moderate skill level-

An easy to access area, with deep snow drifts, and good views.

Granite Peak Area- High skill level-

This high-altitude area often has enough snowpack for good sledding.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Get Outside: We Are Here to Help Make That Happen!

 Happy New Year!  Thank you to our communities for the amazing support of our school-based programs and community events as we closed out 2021.  For many, 2021 was yet another challenging year, but we certainly felt your love as we experienced being together outdoors!

Nevada Outdoor School (NOS) is a nonprofit organization what was started in 2003 in Winnemucca, Nevada with the mission of inspiring exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat, and dedication to community.  After nearly 20-years in existence we have met thousands of people, kids of all ages, in and out of classrooms, in parks, in campgrounds, in far out places in rural Nevada and enjoyed exploring and just being in nature together. 

Are you ready to get outside?  NOS has some fun things brewing for 2022! 

For our school-aged participants, through our Nature in My World program we are in elementary schools throughout Humboldt, Elko, and Lander counties.  Our outdoor lessons and field experiences are tailored and intentionally designed to provide nature-based learning that deepens kids’ connection to, understanding of, and respect for the natural world.  Ask the kids in your world if they have seen NOS in their classroom and, if so, what they have learned.  This month, January, we will be in 4th grade classrooms learning about minerals and durable surfaces. 

Are you an active adult?  Are you a family with active kiddos?  Are you a parent wanting to get your kid off a screen?  Are you not-so active but want to get active?  Awesome! We are here to help!  Each month NOS hosts two kinds of community events.  The first is our Outdoor Skill series.  Outdoor Skill Trainings are usually 1 to 2 hours in length and you will leave with a better understanding relative to a specific skill.  For example, in December our outdoor skill workshop was on first aid kits.  Participants reviewed all the components of their own first aid kits and then prepared activity specific kits, actively thinking about what may be needed for their favorite outdoor adventure. 

The second type of community events are Community Nature Programs or Hikes.  These events are all about just getting together and having fun outdoors.  These are things like low-key hikes, trivia nights, and campfire nights and they usually end with s’mores and/or hot chocolate, at least during the winter!  For any community event, either the outdoor skills or the community nature programs, all ages and abilities are welcome.  These are intended to be any-age friendly and for families or friends to do them together.  We take great pride at NOS welcoming everyone and making it fun for all.

Interested?  We hope so!  Getting outside is a great way to fight back against the few extra holiday pounds or the winter blues.  NOS provides a safe place and way to become more comfortable in the outdoors, as we love to teach and inspire exploration.  We are also always interested in connecting with other nature enthusiasts who have a skill to share or want to volunteer to help.  If this is you, call Brandolyn at 775-777-0814 to volunteer.  To find out the latest information and learn about all our amazing programs visit our website: or call either our Winnemucca location at 775-623-5656 or Elko location at 775-777-0814. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Destination Recreation – Jarbidge the Canyon of the Evil Giant and Lost Gold

 Tales of cursed canyons and cannibalistic giants might deter most people from exploring a wilderness area far out of the way with an extremely isolated little town named Jarbidge, but not myself. This little town lies on the Nevada side of the Nevada-Idaho border about 100 miles north of Elko, go to Wells on Interstate 80 head up past Jackpot and into Idaho on Highway 93 and back down again into Nevada and over a dam and past Dave creek.

Photo: Sign to Jarbidge past the dam

I went there much like the original prospectors did looking for gold but I learned there is a lot more to Jarbidge than meets the eyes. With any journey you start with the beginning, and for Jarbidge that means its namesake; Tsawhawbitts (pronounced “tuh-saw-haw-bits”) meaning "monster that lurks in the canyon" or "weird beastly creature" According to Shoshone legend a giant would roam the canyon looking for unlucky souls to devour. This occurred until one day a group of warriors chased the giant into a cave and sealed it closed with boulders, this was not without a fight as the giant hurled rocks back, scooping rocks out of the ground and some out of the walls themselves.



Photo: A hole in the canyon wall where Tsawhawbitts scooped boulders out to throw at the warriors.

Regardless of your belief in the legend, it is undeniable that humans have been in the area for 14,000 years beginning with Native Americans, Archaeological evidence of bison and big horn sheep bones found in archeological sites confirm this. Remember, archeological sites should not be disturbed; take only pictures leave only foot prints.

When settlers came to visit the area in the mid 1800’s for sheep and cattle herding and later prospecting they did not have the best of luck. Disaster after disaster and fight after fight led people back to the cursed canyon story of Tsawhawbitts guarding his resting place. In the years of 1906- 1908 the Ogden district office made Nevada’s first protected forest to avoid a range war between Nevada cattle ranchers and Idaho sheep herders. The wilderness consists of, around 113,167 acres, including expansions in 1958, 1964, and 1989. This is also Nevada’s first designated wilderness areas and there is a lot to do and see here.

Luck somewhat changed for the settlers when one of them by the name of David Bourne discovered pay dirt gold in 1909 and a boom was on. Bourne was also where the name Jarbidge came from, after mishearing and mispronouncing Tsawhawbitts. The town boomed and was even in consideration for the seat of Elko county at one point. This little hidden gem is an outdoorsman’s dream town, a small hotel/diner, a brook filled with trout, mountains with elk, deer, and birds of all kinds. Even gold for the modern prospector and a cursed legend for the superstitious. And a giant shovel for that has a history all its own.

Photo: The giant shovel from the Jarbidge shovel brigade constructed after the successful protest of Elko county gov’t to help with the road conditions. 

The hiking trails, camping, and gold panning is just awesome by themselves. Even if I only got a small dusting of gold, the feeling of being followed, and one sleepless night from a roar of unknown origins after a rockslide, I still had a blast. When I asked one of the locals about the roar, the old man just laughed and said “That’s just the old giant telling everyone that he’s still here, and that also reminds us to give thanks to the earth for what we have.” I left that day after giving thanks to the earth and to Tsawhawbitts for leaving me alive to tell the tale. As I was leaving the canyon I looked back and could swear I saw his outline looking over his curses and lost gold, his canyon, or more appropriately his resting place.

Keep exploring, take only pictures and leave only footprints.


P.S. Give thanks and watch out for giants!