Below you will find helpful information about Pyramid Lake.
The Pyramid Lake area has been an actively populated area for thousands of years, with native cultures using this water source as their main means of sustenance for eons. Thus there is an incredible wealth of archaeological sites in this area and enthralling Native American legends about the creation of the lake and its fantastic geologic formations. As the western deserts became acclaimed for their wealth of precious metals in the mid 1800's, this area became overrun with prospectors and there were several clashes between the native Piute/Numa tribe and the rough & tumble fortune seekers. More recently, Pyramid Lake area has been the center of a water rights dispute as cities both upstream and downstream on the Truckee fight for water to fuel their ever growing populations thirsts in the Nevada desert, and though the lake waters are stable for now, perseverance to preserve this area by both the Piute Tribe and private citizens has been necessary to keep it from drying up all together. And recently, the Piute/Numa tribe has taken steps to preserve areas of the lake that have been suffering due to vandalism and stupidity by closing entire areas of the lake shore to all but tribal members.
Pyramid Lake is home to two fish species of note, the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and the Cui-Ui Sucker Fish. Fishing for the Cui-Ui is a big no-no as it is classified on the endangered species list, and Pyramid Lake is the only place they are found in the world. The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout are fair game, however, but only for catch and release tactics. Boat charters are available and visitors should check with the local reservation for names of reputable outfitters and for more information regarding rules, licenses and regulations that govern Pyramid Lake's waters.
There are also land-based activities at the lake. Mountain biking and hiking along the dirt roads that flank the lake is an especially popular way to spend part of a day here. The natural rock formations here at Pyramid Lake are rather anthropomorphic and are the inspiration for many legends of the lake and its formation. The Great Stone Mother formation is a must not miss for visitors who make the trip out to the lake. Keep in mind, the north shore of the lake has been closed to visitors due to a rash of vandalism and overuse abuse. Visitors should check with the Piute Reservation for more information on activities, closures and rules and regulations regarding recreation.
Black Rock Desert
The Black Rock Desert is located in the northwest corner of Nevada encompasses 1 million acres of brutal desert terrain which draws recreationalists looking to explore uninhabitable and severe landscapes. Home to the annual fringe art festival known as Burning Man, the Black Rock Desert also offers its visitors a glimpse of one of the best preserved westward migration trails left in existence, the Emigrant Trail, formed between 1849-1870. Visitors willing to spend some time in this area with a 4x4 vehicle will be pleasantly rewarded for their efforts, with mountain ranges and side canyons at the deserts rim offering good hiking and amazing vistas. One range of note, the Granite Range, has miles of 4x4 roadways and is home to spectacular High Canyon, where visitors can view incredible polychrome volcanic formations that rise hundreds of feet from the desert floor. Visitors to the Black Rock Desert should be prepared for the full brunt that this climate, with miles upon miles of desert stretching in all directions as far as the eye can see and no amenities. The Black Rock Desert is best accessed via State Route 447 north of Pyramid Lake. There are few if any services in the Black Rock Desert area so all vehicles should carry detailed maps, plenty of water and supplies since a breakdown out there can turn into an adventure of epic proportions.
Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
Located on the Western border of Nevada and Oregon, Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge/Hart Mountain National Antelope Range was designated in 1931 primarily for the preservation of pronghorn antelope. Comprising over 575,000 acres of high semi desert and containing numerous ecosystems, the Sheldon/Hart Refuge contains an extensive variety of landscapes and wildlife. Hart Mountain is a massive volcanic ridge rising to an altitude of 8,065 feet. Hundreds of thousands of acres were burned here in the late 1990s and are being replanted with native vegetation. Re-vegetation is critical to support the wildlife that inhabits the refuge. Activities allowed at Sheldon/Hart include horseback riding, wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting and mining, primarily for opals at the Royal Peacock Mine. Visitors should contact a local Forest Service ranger for more specific information on the area, its rules and regulations.