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The Pyramid Lake Destination is located in Nevada along the border that the state shares with California. Within the destination is the namesake, Pyramid Lake, as well as Carson City, the state capital of Nevada, and Reno. Parts of the Tahoe National Forest are also found in the region, as well as the relatively smaller farming towns of Fallon and Yerington. Pyramid Lake is fed by the Truckee River and is a remnant of Lake Lahontan, which was once an inland sea that covered most of what is known today as Nevada. Fishing is possible in the lake, with the main catches generally being Cui-ui lakesucker, tui chub, and Lahontan cutthroat trout.[1] The largest city in the region is Reno, which has a population of 264,165 people, according to the 2020 census. Nicknamed “The Biggest Little City in the World,” the main industry in the city is tourism and entertainment, mainly casino-related. The city was named after US Civil War Union Major General Jesse L. Reno, who was killed fighting in the Civil War. [2]

What Reno is known for

The Pyramid Lake Destination lies in the western corner of Nevada, with its westward border being the state line separating California and Nevada. The namesake of the destination, Pyramid Lake, is found in the area on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation. The lake itself is a remnant of Lake Lahontan, a lake that was once roughly the size of most of the state of Nevada.[1] The destination’s largest two cities are Reno and Carson City, the former being the capital of the state. As of the 2020 census, the city of Reno had a population of 264,165 people. Often referred to as the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area, the metro area is the second largest in the state after the Las Vegas Valley.[2]

The name Pyramid Lake comes from a rock formation that is found near the banks, which reportedly resembles a bent pyramid. Originally a part of Lake Lahontan, which was reported to be approximately 890 feet deep and spanned most of the state of Nevada, was inhabited by the Paiute people for many years. The local tribe refers to themselves as Cui-ui eaters, referring to the fish that is found in Pyramid Lake, which has been a source of food for the tribe.[1] Today, the lake covers 125,000 acres, reportedly making it one of the largest lakes in the state of Nevada. The lake is also reported to change colors from blue to grey depending on the sky. There are a variety of rock formations around the lake, one of which is said to be shaped like a bent pyramid, giving the lake its name.[7]

Besides the lake itself, the destination has a variety of activities for tourists. There are multiple outdoor activities that are possible, specifically in Carson City, such as the Kit Carson Trail, which is a pathway through the historic district of the city. Those on the trail pass by various landmarks, which include 1800s-style Victorian homes, churches, and museums. There are also railbike tours that take place in the springtime. Pedal-assisted motor rail bikes can be ridden on tracks through the Carson River Canyon. Inside the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, there is an art exhibit featuring work sponsored by the Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum, Visit Carson City, and Great Basin Native Artists Collective. The exhibit is called “We remember your sacrifices, you are not forgotten; The story and art of the Stewart Indian School.” The exhibit is scheduled to be featured throughout the coming years.[3]

The city of Reno has a population of 264,165 people, according to the 2020 census. In the 2010 census, it was reported that there are 90,924 households in the city, with 51,112 families residing within the limits of the city. Reportedly, 74.2% of the population is White, with 2.9% being African American, 1.3% Native American, 6.3% Asian, 0.7% Pacific Islander, and 10.5% a different race than the aforementioned options. The city of Reno shares its eastern border with Sparks and is often referred to as the Reno-Sparks Metropolitan Area.[2]

In the Pyramid Lake Destination, there are a variety of outdoor activities that a variety of people may enjoy. Emerald Bay is partially located in the region, as it sits on the border of Nevada and California. There are campsites that surround the lake, and water sports are possible in certain parts of the bay. In the area, there are also multiple golf courses, including Wildcreek Golf Course—located in Sparks, Nevada—which spans over 1,420 yards. Also in Sparks is the Swan Lake Nature Study Area, which is a conservation area for different desert ecosystems. There are areas of high desert, marsh, and alkali mud flats that can be viewed. [8]


In the Pyramid Lake Destination, it is reported that the best time to visit the area, based on the average temperature and humidity from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is from late April to early July or the beginning of August through the beginning of October. The average temperatures throughout the year are reported to “vary drastically.” The hottest months are generally July, August, and June, respectively, with the average in the month of July around 96.2 degrees Fahrenheit. It is generally cold for half of the year and otherwise generally warmer, with a low chance of precipitation.[4]

The most unique geographic feature of the region is the namesake of the area, Pyramid Lake. The Lake Tahoe Basin supplies water to the Truckee River, which flows to Pyramid Lake. There are a variety of fish species in the lake, including the Cui-ui lakesucker, which is endemic to the lake; Tui chub; and Lahontan cutthroat. The cutthroat is also called “hoopigaih” by the Paiute people in the area. In 1905, parts of the Truckee River were diverted for irrigation purposes, and, as such, the river flow has made it relatively more difficult for spawning.[1] The lake is located near where the annual Burning Man event takes place, and many who have traveled in the past for the event have camped at or near the lake. Pyramid Lake has been called “North America’s most beautiful desert lake.” Many people travel specifically to fish at the lake for the Cui-ui lakesucker, which is reportedly only found in Pyramid Lake.[7]

In the area that surrounds Pyramid Lake, specifically Carson City, Nevada, there is a variety of flora and fauna that live in desert climates. The western fence lizard, mule deer, and gopher snakes are fairly common in the area. Additionally, the long-nosed leopard lizard, western whiptail, and North American racers are also found in the area surrounding Carson City, as well as the rest of the region. Some common flowers include blushing monkeyflower, giant blazingstar, cushion buckwheat, and clasping pepperweed. A variety of birds, such as the western tanger, hairy woodpecker, and barn swallow, are common for the region.[5]


The first people to inhabit the region surrounding Pyramid Lake first came to the area over 4,000 years ago. For the past 600 years, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has inhabited the land. In 1844, the first white settler came to the area, named John C. Fremont, and named Pyramid Lake after a rock formation rising up from the lake that looked like a pyramid. In 1860, disputes arose between the Paiute Tribe and the white settlers in the area. Each year on Pyramid Lake War Memorial Day, in May, the events of the disputes are commemorated by a ceremony at sunrise.[9]

Carson City, the capital of Nevada, was founded in 1858, seven years after the first trading post in the area was established. The name Carson City comes from the frontiersman and scout that lived in the area, Christopher Carson. After the discovery of gold in surrounding communities in 1859, more people came to the area looking for the precious metal, and Carson City became a commercial center. It became the capital of Nevada in 1864 when Nevada became a state, before development in the area began to decline in the 1880s. The population was on the decline for a number of years after. By 1960, the population had again increased, to the same relative size that it was in the 1880s. By population, Carson City is the 10th smallest capital city in the country, although, when measured by the incorporated geographical area, 146 square miles, it is one of the larger capital cities in the United States.[6]