Winnemucca Dry Lake

Located off Highway 447 at mile marker 32.7 is an overlook where travelers can view the once thriving Winnemucca Lake. The lake was also known as Mud Lake and at one time served as a habitat to variety of fish, water fowl, birds, and game animals.

The lake’s sole source of water was the Truckee River and at one time held up to 85.2 feet of water at its maximum depth. The demise of Winnemucca Lake was brought about by the construction of Derby Dam in 1907and other upstream diversions. The lake slowly dried out by about 1939, three years after U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated it as Winnemucca Lake National Wildlife Refuge. In 1962, the refuge designation was removed.

Since time-immemorial, tribal people used the lake as a traditional food base and habitation areas. But with Euroamerican intrusion the lake’s usage changed overtime and in 1880 the body of water was bustling with a Chinese fishing industry. Chinese fishing camps were set up at various locations around the lake. Fish were caught and sold to a cannery that operated in Wadsworth. During the Prohibition era a paddle-wheeler was launched out on the lake where alcohol was served to tourists. The steamer though hit a mud bank and became mired. For year’s remnants of the old steamer remained on the dry lake bed but has since deteriorated.

The overlook at mile marker 32.7 is handicapped accessible and has cell phone service. There are no restroom facilities.


Sunrise - sunset


Car, ADA


Pull out on side of Pyramid Highway