Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake covers 125,000 acres, making it one of the largest natural lakes in the state of Nevada. Pyramid Lake is also the biggest remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan, the colossal inland sea that once covered most of Nevada. The scenery is spectacular, and the color of Pyramid Lake changes from shades of blue or gray, depending on the skies above. Pyramid Lake is also surrounded by unusual rock formations, including the Stone Mother. Pyramid Lake’s significant role in the history of the Paiute Indian tribe also adds to its mystique and many myths and tales surrounding it. The Truckee River, which runs from Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains, terminates in Pyramid Lake.

Today, Pyramid Lake is part of the National Scenic Byways Program and the only byway in the country located entirely within a tribal reservation. Visitors can get a sense of the Pyramid Lake’s importance to the tribe with a trip to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitors Center.The multi-purpose museum features several exhibits and displays about the tribe’s culture and history, the natural history of Pyramid Lake and why the Paiute people hold it in such esteem.

Other exhibits are dedicated to the many creatures that make Pyramid Lake their home, including the ancient Cui-ui fish and the world-famous Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. In addition to excellent fishing at Pyramid Lake, other outdoor activities include kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, mountain biking, and hiking.

Widely acclaimed as North America’s most beautiful desert lake, it’s actually the world class fishery that has brought Pyramid Lake worldwide fame. Pyramid Lake is the only habitat in the world for the Cui-ui fish that has been around for over 2 million years. The Pyramid Lake fishery includes the famous Lahontan Cutthroat Trout that have grown to record sizes and have lured fisherman from around the world over for several decades. Celebrities, foreign royalty, and even a US President have fished the lake in hopes of catching trophy fish at Pyramid Lake.

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Latitude: 40.11799 Longitude: -119.4818115 Elevation: 6212 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Scott Carey


Recreational Opportunities

Fishing, boating, camping, biking, hiking, birding and swimming.

Seasons Accessible

Year round recreational destination.


Permits Required: Day Use $6, Camping $9, Boating $9, Jet Ski $19, 3 Day Camping$24, 10 Day Camping $74, Daily Fishing $9, Annual Fishing $74, 3 Day Fishing $24, 10 Day Fishing $74, Youth Daily Fishing $5

Pet Friendly Notes

Good behaved dogs allowed on beaches with leash.


I swam there. Amazing soft sand, quiet and serene, and when I walked out, black beetles came up and walked along my feet like the Egyptian ones it was surreal.

Julie, 3/24/2013

My wife and I have visited Pyramid Lake two times in 1998 and were overjoyed with the friendliness of tribal members while we went to the visitors center and then to Pyramid Rock where John C. Fremont camped in the 1800’s. On our first visit we were approached by a young lady who asked why we didn't have a permit to visit tribal lands. We had no knowledge of the required permit and felt tremendously embarassed at our stupidity. The young lady was very polite and we gladly paid the fee and continued our excursion to see Pyramid rock, Stone Mother, thirty feet tall rock animal formations and the unique tuffa rocks adjacent. The lake water was cool and delightfully clear. How humble we felt in being able to see such beauty in a remote desert environment. On our second visit when we secured our permit, the young man who issued it chided me as to whether I was another engineer seeking a possible way to divert Truckee River water from entering Pyramid Lake. We explained that our visit was strictly for the purpose of seeing the beautiful site and to observe the location of Fremont's historic campsite. My GPS location was 39-58-55 Latitude and 119-30-05 Longitude, for those Fremont history buffs. This reading was for Pyramid Rock and the Stone Mother with basket. Comments seem to be few and I wanted to express my gratitude to the tribal members for their hospitality.

william j. cadman grants pass or, 3/26/2015

Looking all over to try to find current lake level data. Can't seem to find any current water level data anywhere. I expected that information to reported on the Tribe's website, but no joy. I an sure that someone is monitoring this statistic. It would be nice if a link to the data page were easily accessible.

Tim R., Reno, NV, 5/1/2017

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