Deep in the desert rests a lake oasis just under an hour out of Reno, Nevada which makes a truly unique daytrip. Heading away from the city the open road falls quiet, you are about to enter a strange and beautiful place. Be sure to make your first stop the Pyramid Lake Museum and Visitors Center [709 State St, Nixon, NV 89424] to learn about what lies ahead.
The museum is free to visit and extremely informative, geology, wildlife, and people who inhibited the land – from past to present. Take time to watch the video of a native Paiute Tribe woman who saw the land change dramatically over her lifetime. The helpful staff drew points of interest on a map for me and I was off to the lake. If you plan to hike, fish, or camp tribal permits are required and can be purchased at the Sutcliff Ranger Station. The lake is almost unbelievable in its beauty. The arid landscape is interrupted by green, blue, and gold.
This is a terminal lake, where the Truckee River ends its journey and an extremely popular fishing destination. Cui-ui is a fish that is only found at Pyramid Lake and there are more Lahontan cutthroat trout found in the lake than anywhere else in the world! Don’t miss a visit to Popcorn Rock, a peculiar geological formation made of tufa.
Tufa is calcium carbonate, created when the fresh spring water and alkaline lake water mixed thousands of years ago – look closely at its prickly composition. There are multiple other interesting tufa formations around the lake including the pyramid for which the lake was named and the stone mother you can learn about in the museum. Be sure to use the binoculars to look for birds around the lake and wildlife on the other side of the road in the mountains.
Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge is located on the lake, although closed to the public, have a look with the binoculars. It is a breeding ground for the American white pelican. Blockhouse Beach is a great viewing point for the tufa pyramid which is remarkable,
but as you move around the lake road you’ll notice that different angles create a whole new look!You don’t need to go all the way to Egypt to see a spectacular pyramid, just head east from Reno!