• Activities:

    Stand Up Paddle, Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Kayaking, Swimming, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    0.25 Miles

Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Experience the isolation and awe-inspiring desolation of an oasis in the heart of Nevada desert, at what is the last remnant of a vast inland lake which once stretched across Oregon, Idaho, California, and Nevada at the end of the last ice age.

Pyramid Lake is the last remnant of the vast Pleistocene Lake Lahontan which reached its peak at the end of the last ice-age, being the terminus of many of the glaciers and ice sheets which covered much of California, Oregon, Idaho, and Nevada.

Today it is an oasis in the heart of the Basis and Range desert and the terminus of the Truckee River flowing from Lake Tahoe 60 miles to the Southwest. It is an endorheic lake, having no outflow and roughly a salinity of 1/6 that of sea water. It is also home to the Lahontan Cutthroat trout, the largest Cutthroat trout species in the world with regular catches of 20 lbs.

The lake and Tamarack Bay on its southwestern shore is barren, desolate, and fiercely windswept year-round (secure your tent!). There is a small, first-come first-serve drive-in campground off State Highway 446 south of Sutcliffe and Mullen Pass, though there is additional camping all along the west shore. There are no facilities, but a portable toilet is often present.

The campsite itself looks directly across an Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to one of the two largest American White Pelican colonies.

The lake itself is on Paiute tribal lands and an overnight camping permit is required which can be purchased in any of the stores and gas stations in Sutcliffe, Nixon, Wadsworth (just off I-80), and Fernley. 

Pack List

Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Leave a Review

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Josiah Roe Admin

The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark. - John Muir

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

8 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves