Camping at Pyramid Lake in Nevada

Camping at Pyramid Lake in Nevada
About 40 miles from Reno, in northwestern Nevada, lies Pyramid Lake. The land it sits on belongs to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and the lake itself is home to native Lahontan cutthroat trout. Although stark, the lake, with its 110,000 surface acres and a 125-mile shoreline, has a natural beauty and is known for unusual wildlife and the fisheries.


If you are planning a short stop, you are required to have a permit (available at I-80 Smokeshop in Wadsworth) for pulling off the road for a swim, hiking or just to take a break. However, all beaches surrounding the lake allow overnight tent camping, and permits are required. The cost of a permit, as of September 2009, is $9 per night and includes day use. The marina is equipped for RV parking. The lake has a "Pack In, Pack Out" policy, so bring only what you need, and take it with you when you leave. The east shore of the lake is restricted to day-use only, so there is no camping allowed in that area. Many of the areas on the east shore can only be reached by dirt roads.

I-80 Smokeshop
1000 Smoke Shop Circle
Wadsworth, NV 89442
(775) 575-2181

Pyramid Lake Marina and Store
2500 Lakeview Drive
Reno, NV 89510-8930
(775) 476-1156



A tribal fishing permit is required for all anglers. Pyramid Lake species include Lahontan cutthroat trout, Sacramento perch and other fish including rare, endangered cui-ui fish. The cui-ui, which appeared more than two million years ago, is protected by the U.S. government. Good bank fishing areas include the Great Stone Mother, Warrior Point, L.A. Rock, Sandhole Beach and Popcorn Beach. Trout season is from Oct. 1 to June 30, and perch can be taken all year.

Boating and Swimming

A boat launch is located on the west side of Pyramid Lake and a number of outfitters offer guide services. Boaters are not permitted to land on Anaho Island, nor can they be within 500 feet of the shore. Wizard Cove on the northwest shore is also closed to public access, as are other areas holding bird populations. The Pyramid Lake Store has supplies and tackle available for purchase.

Pyramid Lake Store
29555 Pyramid Lake Road
Sutcliffe, NV 89510-9725
(775) 476-0555


The east side of Pyramid Lake gives easy access by unpaved roads to points of interest to sightseers, bird-watchers and photographers. The pyramid-shaped rock that the lake was named for is near Red Bay just off the east shore. Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge is a large island that houses a colony of American white pelicans, snowy egrets, California gulls, great blue herons and Caspian terns.

Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex
1000 Auction Road
Fallon, NV 89406
(775) 423-5128


Pyramid Lake is centered in a harsh outdoor environment, prompting the need for a few warnings. Remember to use common sense when on or near the water. There are no lifeguards available and the lake has sudden drop offs near the shore. If you cannot swim, do not get into the water. Drownings are not unheard of at the lake. Sudden changes in weather can be treacherous, also, with high winds and thunderstorms bringing danger. On windy days, do not try to go boating. Drowning is possible if you should capsize.

Burining Man Festival

The Burning Man Festival is held each year in Black Rock City. The month-long festival held in late summer encourages tent-camping in and around Pyramid Lake, and the area is filled with a community of resourcefulness. It serves as a reminder that even though there is water all around, there is little or no vegetation and temperatures climb high in the summer.

Burning Man Festival
(415) TO-FLAME


Article Written By Leigh Kelley

Leigh Kelley is a freelance writer who provides SEO Web copy to industry leading companies. Her work has appeared in publications such as "Bullys Magazine" and "Jonesboro Sun." Kelley earned a bachelor's degree in English from Arkansas State University.

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