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Monday, May 20, 2024 at 1:58 PM
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Day Trippin’ Part I — Recreation, Culture, and History in Harmony

Day Trippin’ Part I — Recreation, Culture, and History in Harmony
Pyramid Lake

Author: File Photo

Pyramid Lake

With summer days upon us, Churchill County offers a perfect jumping-off point to easily become a day tripper with many possibilities awaiting your visit between I-80 and Highway 95. The Oxford Dictionary defines a day tripper as “a person who goes on a journey or an excursion for pleasure, that is completed in one day.” Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some one-day excursions that your family may truly enjoy.  

Beyond Fallon’s valley floor there lie some exceptionally unique locations to explore. Heading west, just 35 miles north of Fernley on I-80, at Exit 46 (formerly Exit 18, Pyramid Lake/SR445), is the historic body of water called Pyramid Lake in Nixon, Nevada. Water once covered a majority of Nevada’s northwestern land mass, as this prehistoric terrain yielded Pyramid Lake became a residual body of water from what was originally known as Great Lake Lahontan.  

Here you will find one of the only lakes and museums owned and managed by an originating tribe as the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal lands encompass a shoreline of 125 miles, occupying 110,517 surface acres, which offers spectacular views, photo ops, covered picnic tables, and recreational opportunities, such as boating, fishing jet-skiing, hiking, bird watching, swimming, and biking.   

Fed by the winding Truckee River, this lake has been named one of the best fisheries in our northwest region. The upstream-bred Cui-ui fish are known for their large, robust sucker head and are only found in Pyramid Lake. The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, Nevada’s state fish, is also found in Pyramid Lake and known as Agi to the regional Paiute Numu People. The biggest Cutthroat Trout ever caught was registered at 41 lbs. 8 oz. and was 39 inches long, fished out of Pyramid Lake in 1925, it compared in size to a three-year-old child.  

In visiting the Pyramid Lake Museum and Visitors Center, one is greeted by a striking architectural building, mimicking an abstract pyramid rising out of the historic ground to protect the mission of its contents. With the lake named for the natural, pyramid-shaped tufa rock formations, you’ll see the famously named Fremont’s Pyramid and Pyramid Island near the southeastern shores of the lake. The Visitors Center provides an access map to direct you to the many named locations along the lake’s southern route, which includes the marina.  

The Pyramid Lake Museum and Visitors Center was formed to collect, exhibit, and preserve the history and culture of the Northern Paiute People and provide an educational forum for the appreciation, respect, and understanding of Nevada’s Paiute culture. Along with some ancient lifestyle memorabilia, the environmental and historic traditions of the Paiute’s daily living are also seen in various artifacts. The museum may take over an hour to view all the high-quality collections and experience the extensive displays while learning a broad amount of Nevada’s historical facts. A picnic bench and gazebo are offered outside the museum, along with a native garden walk. The museum entrance is located toward the back of the building from the parking lot area and is accessible to disabled visitors.  

The self-supporting gift shop also offers authentic items, such as handmade baskets and intricate beadwork pieces, as Nevada’s Paiute Tribes have always been exceptional in preserving their well-known, artistic handiwork. The Museum Visitors Center also welcomes year-round campers, boaters, and day-use visitors to register with the necessary tribal permits and information. Hours of operation during the summer months are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For further information call 775-574-1088. Admission to the museum is by donation only. 

 

 

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