For those making the hour’s drive from Reno to Pyramid Lake, there’s a plethora of recreational activities to enjoy. Boaters can take to the warm, salty water for great waterskiing, wakeboarding or tubing, while fisherman are drawn to the lake for its trophy cutthroat trout. Campers flock to the shores of Pyramid, while day trippers often come for the mere sight of the immense lake in its stark desert surroundings, to take a dip in the nearby hot springs, or to get a little history at the lake’s visitor center and its small museum. And that’s just to start.
Approaching Pyramid Lake from Reno on State Route 445 brings motorists directly past an incredible viewpoint. It’s the perfect place to appreciate the lake’s immensity and fascinating features. The lake’s namesake, a pyramid-shaped island on the eastern shore, is also visible from here. Another feature near the eastern shore of the lake is Anaho Island, a National Wildlife Refuge that is home to one of the largest breeding colonies of American White Pelicans. Many other migratory fowl pause here as well. The mountains surrounding Pyramid Lake provide refuge for antelope, deer and bighorn sheep, so keep your eyes open. On the lake itself, visitors will also see a number of watercraft. At its deepest point, Pyramid measures 300 feet, making it capable of sustaining an array of plants and animals. Anglers from across the globe come for the fantastic fishing. The lake is well-stocked with quality fish by the Pyramid Lake fisheries, which are operated by members of the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe. The tribe offers tours of both the hatcheries, which are best during the spawning season of March through May, and the lake itself. And for insight on the history and culture of the local tribe, don’t miss a visit to the Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway Visitors Cultural Center. Visitors will get a real sense of the lake’s significance to the Paiute people. The center is also where necessary permits for camping, boating and fishing can be purchased.
Visitors to the area should note that weather patterns at Pyramid Lake shift significantly in short timeframes and often without warning. Winds can be very strong on parts of the lake. There are no designated campsites and conditions are primitive. Visitors should bring in their own water and heed close attention to all regulations enforced by the Paiute Tribe.