Pyramid Lake is a beautiful ancient lake located in the heart of the Paiute tribal reservation 35 miles northeast of Reno, midway between Reno and the Black Rock Desert. Most people traveling to Burning Man from the south, east, and west via State Routes 445, 446, and 447 will pass by this wonderful lake and northwards through Nixon on their way to the playa.
The Pyramid Lake community — which includes the towns of Nixon and Sutcliffe, and Wadsworth to the south — has always been supportive of Burning Man over its history, and the traveler will find the community very hospitable and happy to see them.
Coming into Nixon, the traveler will find The Nixon Store with gas and last-minute supplies, as well as the breath-taking Pyramid Lake Museum and Visitor’s Center nearby filled with tribe, land, and lake history. Additionally, there will be several road-side shops in Nixon very accommodating with native food and crafts, last-minute supplies, services, and very warm hospitality. The Tribe encourages people to only buy food from vendors with a Food Handlers Permit from HIS (Indian Health Service), and to only dump their trash with vendors who have a trash permit from the Tribe.
It is highly recommended to check out Pyramid Lake, itself, if you have the time. Guaranteed to be a moving experience, whether you spend a few hours or camp overnight, especially after a week on the playa. BUT DO NOT LEAVE ANY OF YOUR TRASH THERE!
Day-use recreational activities and overnight camping around and upon the lake require a permit. Permits can be purchased at various locations in Nixon, Sutcliffe, Wadsworth, and in Reno/Sparks. Proceeds from the sale of permits help support the Tribal Government and the water quality and environmental programs that protect the unique eco-system of Pyramid Lake year round.
See below for locations to purchase permits, or you can purchase them online here. Information on local businesses and other resources can also be found below. For further information about Pyramid Lake and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, check here.
It is also important to note that, due to vandalism, graffiti, and theft over the years, the east side of the lake, Anajo Island, The Pyramid, and The Needles on the north side of the lake, are off-limits to everyone but tribe members. Moreover, please do not do any artifact or souvenir hunting. Not only is it illegal. It is disrespectful of the tribe, their heritage, and the land and lake. AND AGAIN, DO NOT LEAVE ANY OF YOUR TRASH! In short: Leave No Trace.
Finally, also found cropping up all over the place in Nixon are various, phenomenal solar arrays. As of 2012, the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe has over 301 kW in solar panels on their public and government buildings. If you are in Nixon and like solar, check out the Pyramid Lake Museum array–it is in the shape of an arrowhead and was designed in part by Konch Blindman, a member of the Black Rock Solar crew and Paiute tribe. Finally, in 2010, the Governor of Nevada declared Highway 447 America’s Solar Highway, thanks in part to the efforts of Black Rock Solar, which has led to 447 kW of solar installed in the past three years along 75 miles of the highway.
A FINAL NOTE TO TRAVELERS
PLEASE drive the posted speed limit, and keep an appropriate distance between you and the car in front of you, while traveling throughout the reservation. Please also SLOW DOWN (speed limit is 25mph) on your way through Wadsworth, Nixon, and Sutcliffe, while being cautious and mindful of children at-play and considerate of the townspeople that are trying to access their homes, businesses, tribal services, or crossing the road. Finally, throughout this last stretch of your journey to Burning Man, please keep a steady hand on the wheel and a careful eye out ahead for wandering cows, horses, jackrabbits, and other creatures along the road, as this is wide-open country. AND LEAVE NO TRACE!
Emergency Contact Numbers
All Emergencies: 911
Nevada Highway Patrol: (*647)
Washoe County Sheriff Dispatch: 775-574-0444
Pyramid Lake Ranger Station: 775-476-1155
Pyramid Lake Search & Rescue – 775-560-4417
The Nixon Store
50 Highway 447 – 775-574-0467 – map
Open daily 7am-6pm. Hours during Burning Man are Aug 21-22 7am-10pm, Aug 23-26 7am-midnight, Aug 27-31 7am-10pm, and open 24 hours Sept 1-5. Gas, food, ice, lake permits, other supplies, and ATM.
Pyramid Lake Museum & Visitors Center Gift Shop
709 State Street – 775-574-1080 – map
Open Wed-Sun 10am-4:30pm. Provides a moving history of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe history and culture and of the lake and environs. The Center will also be having a special Arts and Crafts event just for Burners on Sat-Sun Aug 24 and 25. This will be an absolutely invaluable opportunity to check out and acquire some art created by Tribe members before heading off to Burning Man!
Eagle Eye Charters
730 Basin Road – 866-958-7688 – 775-574-0900 – 775224-9815 – map
Open daily 6am-7pm. A very hospitable and knowledgeable crew providing both 2 hour (Anajo Island, The Stone Mother, The Pyramid) and 4 hour (the entire lake, stopping at various points of interest) tours on a 28.5′ bayliner.
The Nixon Store
50 Highway 447 – 775-574-0467 – map
Open daily 7am-6pm. Extended hours during Burning Man. The very last place for 60 miles to get gas and other supplies, so you might want to stop here! Also some food, ice, lake permits, other supplies, and ATM to be found here.
Car Repair / Towing
Smith n Tobey
413 Fourth Street, Wadsworth – 775-575-7320 – 775-771-7714 – map
24 Hour Towing, Roadside Repairs, and Off-Road Recovery Specialist.
RV Campground and Greywater Disposal
Permits (Day-Use and Camping)
1-80 Smokeshop & Campground
1000 Smoke Shop Circle, Wadsworth – 775-575-2181 – map
Open 6am-8pm daily. Extended hours during Burning Man. If you are traveling from the west to Burning Man, I-80 Smoke Shop & Market is right off I-80 as you enter Wadsworth. A gas station and convenience store flush with hospitality and having among many things, lots of water, smokes, dry ice and ice, tarps, goggles, hats, booze, and canned beer on-hand – one of the last for about 100 miles to stock up. See below also for camping details. RV greywater and trash disposal will also be available.
(Permits can also be purchased at these locations in Reno-Sparks):
Mark, Fore & Strike Sporting Goods
490 Kietzke Lane – 775-322-9559 – map
Open Mon-Thu and Sat 8am-6pm, Fri 8am-7pm.
8995 La Posado Road – 775-425-7600 – map
15 Eagle Canyon Drive – 775-425-1711 – map
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