One of the largest natural lakes in Nevada is also among its most incredible, with a fascinating history to boot. Pyramid Lake stretches 125,000 acres and is the largest remnant of the ancient Lake Lahontan, an enormous inland sea that once covered most of the Silver State. The intriguing desert lake is a component of the National Scenic Byways Program, and the only byway in the country that is entirely within a tribal reservation.
Visitors drawn to the lake can learn more about its history and native inhabitants, the Paiute Indian tribe, at the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitors Center. Exhibits at the multi-purpose museum describe the tribe’s history and culture and offer insight into why the Paiute people hold the lake and its surrounding landscape so sacred. Other displays focus on Pyramid Lake’s natural history and the many creatures that make the lake their home. These include the ancient Cui-ui fish and the world-famous Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, which draws anglers the world over. The lake also features a breeding ground for one of the largest colonies of American White Pelicans, which is certified as a National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitors Center can also purchase permits for an assortment of recreational pursuits, including camping, boating, fishing, and daily-use passes. The museum also provides visitors with important information about the lake’s recreational policies.