Originally home to Northern Paiute and Shoshone tribes, the Battle Mountain area was first seen by fur trader Peter Skeen Ogden in 1828. Beginning with the Walker Expedition of 1833, the Humboldt River was used by trappers and explorers seeking routes west. By 1845 the emigrant trail along the Humboldt was well established. Legend declares a conflict between settlers and Native Americans took place in the region between 1850 and 1860, hence the place name of Battle Mountain.
The Town began as a rail stop servicing the Battle Mountain Mining District, formed in 1866, consisting of a number of mining operations located to the south of the town site. The rail line, built by the Central Pacific, is still in service and has been a major factor in the economic life and resulting urban form of Battle Mountain. The town continues to serve as a regional center in support of mining, ranching and tourism.