Friday, January 13, 2012

Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake is a desert lake in Nevada [1], located about 30 miles northeast of  Reno and Sparks. The lake was named by John C. Fremont (nicknamed the Pathfinder of the West, who visited the lake with his party in January 1844) for the shown pyramid-shaped tufa formation on the eastern shore. Pyramid Lake is part of the land of the Paiute people and was established as a reservation in 1873 by Ulysses S. Grant [2].

Pyramid Lake is a popular fishing lake [3]. Hiking along the shore, one can see—all year round—fisherman who wade out deep to cast their lines. Bird watchers and tufa enthusiasts also enjoy the lake shores. If you don't mind the alkaline water and are prepared for sudden dangers such as undercurrent, cold water pockets and uprising mud patches, the lake is great for floating and swimming on hot-summer days.

Getting to Pyramid Lake
From Sparks take Route 445 (Pyramid Highway) north. From Wadsworth (north of I-80 near Fernley) east of Sparks go north on Route 447. You need a permit for day use, camping, fishing, boating, jet skiing and other activities. The permit can be obtained online (Pyramid Lake Permits) or along the way; for example, at the Nixon store at the intersection of Route 447 with 446 (when coming from Wadsworth) or at the Texaco station at the intersection of Eagle Canyon Drive and La Posada Drive with Route 445 (when coming from Reno/Sparks and getting to Spanish Springs).
Unfortunately, the area near the pyramid has recently been closed to the general public until further notice due to respectless vandalism of cultural sites and natural beauty. The above picture was taken in March 2008, when the Pyramid surroundings could still be accessed via a dirt road off Route 447. Arriving at the lake via Route 445 over Mullen Pass, you'll have an excellent view of the lake with The Pyramid and Anaho Island right in the center of the scenery.

References and more to explore
[1] Sessions S. Wheeler: The Desert Lake - The story of Nevada'd Pyramid Lake. Caxton Press, Caldwell, Idaho, Seventh Printing 2001.
[2] Nevada > Destinations > Paiute Tribe:
[3] Lee Allen: Fishing Pyramid Lake. Lahontan cutthroat trout go from threatened to plentiful in ancient Northern Nevada lake. Nevada Magazin, July/August 2011 [].

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