Pyramid Lake Road
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (1996)
- Intrinsic QualitiesNatural
- Length40 miles
Sponsored by Native Americans, the byway is a Y-shaped route that runs partially along and from the southern end of this desert-locked body of water. The byway, which is located within the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, passes fish hatcheries run by the Paiutes. Keep an eye out for the rock formations for which the lake and byway are named.
Story of the Byway
John C. Fremont may have mapped Pyramid Lake in 1844 as he traveled the West with Kit Carson and John Walker, yet it has been the home of the Northern Paiute for centuries. Gold and silver lured European and American pioneers to the area in the 1850s and the Pyramid Lake War of 1860 was the culmination of the sudden onrush of new people and already scarce resources.
Start in Sutcliffe on SR-445, on the west bank of the lake. As you travel south, bear left to get onto SR-446, getting to Nixon in approximately 17.5 miles at the intersection of the “Y”. Continue straight onto SR-447 for just under 16 miles to Wadsworth. To complete the byway, turn around and head back up, passing Black Warrior Peak to the right of Nixon.
Points of Interest
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum & Visitors Center
Learn more about the history and culture of the Paiute tribe, and why they hold the lake and its surrounding landscape so sacred. Permits for recreational activities can also be purchased here.
Marble Bluff Fish Passage Facility
Part of the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex, aids the spawning of the endangered cui-ui, found only in Pyramid Lake, and the threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout. Open for tours during spawning season, March to early June
Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Desert oasis for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, more than 280 species sighted, includes Anaho Island and Fallon National Wildlife Refuges, though only Stillwater and Fallon can be visited
Pyramid Lake Fisheries
To help preserve and restore the native cuthroat trout to Pyramid Lake and Truckee River
Taking a Trip to Pyramid Lake
Starting in Wadsworth along State Highway 447 and heading north, your journey along the Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway has officially begun! Pass through the communities of Wadsworth and Dodge, taking in the culture and beauty of the area. Right past Dodge, you will fine Nevada’s Historical Marker 148, which recognizes the Battles of Pyramid Lake. A few miles past the historical site you can find Numana Fish Hatchery right along the Truckee River.
Once you reach the community of Nixon, you will be able to take in the history of the Paiute Tribe, since this is the location of their headquarters and the Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitors Center. From here, you are going to make your way to the shores of the beautiful Pyramid Lake.
Although the Byway technically ends in Sutcliffe, there are so many different things to do and experience in the surrounding area. There are plenty of ways to access the lake in one of the multiple recreation areas located around it. You can also just take in the views of the pristine waters, Pyramid Rock, Anaho Island, the Tufa Rocks, and much more! Make the most of your trip to this wonderful lake area and take advantage of all it has to offer!
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