Pyramid Lake’s sparkling waters and tufa formations stand out like gem in Nevada’s desert landscape. Allow the state’s third National Scenic Byway to introduce you to it. SR 445 (Pyramid Way), which runs north from the city of Sparks, takes you along the ancient lake’s west shore. The first nationally designated scenic byway entirely within a tribal reservation, the road trip offers views of Pyramid Lake’s natural tufa rock formations – a pyramid-shaped rock juts out of the water and is the lake’s namesake. For centuries, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Tribe has celebrated its unique features.
As you drive along the west shore, take note of the water’s shade shifting from green to turquoise to deep blue – contrasted with the earthy hues of the surrounding desert, the water’s boldness is striking. The lake is 356 feet deep and is supported with fresh water from the Truckee River running out of Lake Tahoe. Stop in Sutcliffe for general information or to fish. Anaho Island, sitting off-shore on the southeastern side of the lake, is a National Wildlife Refuge and the breeding ground for the largest-known colony of American White Pelicans.
If you want to pay a visit to the Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitors Center, from SR 445 go south and east on SR 446, which leads you to the lake’s southern tip and eventually to the town of Nixon (a left on SR 447). Here, visitors can purchase camping, boating and fishing permits or learn about the history and culture of the Paiute Tribe. Call 775-574-1088775-574-1088775-574-1088775-574-1088 for hours of operation.
Also on SR 447 are the Numana Fish Hatchery and the Marble Bluff Fish Hatchery. The Numana Hatchery is committed to securing the survival of the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout, while the Marble Bluff Hatchery is focused on the survival of the cui-ui, which is not found anywhere else in the world.