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Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway

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Quick Facts
Designation: National Scenic Byway
Designation: Nevada State Scenic Byway
Fees: A $5 day-use permit is needed when camping, swimmi
Length, One-Way: 37 Miles (61.67 Kilometers)
Time: Varies from 2 hours to all day

General Information

Description - Pyramid Lake is a bright jewel in the arid Nevada landscape. Fish, animal, and plant life are sustained by its 300-foot deep waters and by the fresh water flowing in the Truckee River. In addition to the cui-ui fish, the Lake is known for the Lahontan cutthroat trout that the tribe manages through its fisheries program. The mountains surrounding the lake support deer, antelope, and bighorn sheep. The lake is also a resting place for a variety of migrating waterfowl. Anaho Island, a National Wildlife Refuge, is the breeding ground for the largest colony of American white pelicans. It is also home to a variety of other shorebirds. The tufa formations found at this lake are some of the lake's most distinctive natural features. These formations are calcium carbonate deposits formed by precipitation over hot springs. They include The Pyramid (which gives the lake its name) and The Needles Rocks.

Attractions - The Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway is known for it's Archeology, Cultural, Historical, Natural, Recreational and Scenic Attractions.

Directions from : Byway travelers can start in either Sparks or Wadsworth, because the driving directions given here start and end in the Reno/Sparks area. These directions were written following the flow of the Truckee River.

Start your trip by taking I-40 to West Wadsworth. Follow State Route 427 into town, and then drive north along State Route 447, following the course of the Truckee River. You can stop at the Numana Hatchery Visitors Center to find out about the area's natural history and the tribe's fisheries program, or take a walk along the wetlands nature trail where you can experience the unique habitats of the river valley.

As you continue to drive north, you will come over a rise and see the lake spread out before you. Just ahead is the Scenic Byway Visitors Center and Tribal Museum. From here you can take a side trip north on Route 447 into the town of Nixon, site of the Tribal Headquarters, and beyond to Marble Bluff and Lake Winnemucca. You can also head west on Route 446 toward Sutcliffe. Route 446 follows the west shore of Pyramid Lake, with plenty of beaches where you can stop for swimming, fishing, or enjoying a picnic lunch. In Sutcliffe, you'll find the Pyramid Lake Marina, with a visitors center and museum, as well as stores and visitors services. North of Sutcliffe are more beaches, especially at Pelican Point and Warrior Point.

Returning south from Sutcliffe, take State Route 445 south toward Sparks. As you drive up toward Mullen Pass, you can stop at the turnout on the left for a scenic vista of the lake. If you get a chance to visit here as the sun sets, the Pyramid, Anaho Island, and the slopes of the Lake Range may be bathed in a red glow, offering a dramatic counterpoint to the urban glitter awaiting you as you return to Reno.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Scenic Driving Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway
ICON Viewing Scenery Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway

More Information

Contact Information:
Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway , , , , Phone: 775-476-1156

Additional Information:
Nevada Scenic Byways - Nevada currently offers one All-American Road, the Las Vegas Strip, two National Scenic byways, Lake Tahoe Eastshore Drive and Pyramid Lake Scenic Drive, and eight state designated byways.

Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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