Nevada Nature November 01, 2018
Everyone In Nevada Should Take This Underappreciated Scenic Drive
When the urge to explore our state’s beautiful landscapes becomes unavoidable, there’s no better way to satiate it than by driving along one of our state’s scenic byways. This underappreciated scenic drive doesn’t get a lot of traffic. It’s located smack dab in the middle of the desert and on the surface it may seem like there aren’t many attractions to be found here. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This route passes over some of the most breathtaking desert landscapes that our state has to offer. Majestic lakes, towering mountains, and endless scenery make this a drive that you’ll definitely want to add to your bucket list. This drive definitely earned it’s title of scenic byway so keep reading to learn all about it.
The Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway stretches for 55 miles and is considered the ultimate way to explore one of Nevada's greatest lakes. However, there's much more to this scenic drive than that. Starting in Wadsworth, the route will lead you through a variety of landscapes that are bound to blow you away.
The byway follows a portion of State Route 447. You'll begin your journey in Wadsworth where you'll start to drive north while following the course of the breathtaking Truckee River. Some notable stops here are the Numana Hatchery and Visitor Center where you can learn about the area's natural history, unique habitats, and the Native American fisheries program.
You'll continue your drive north to see the byway's main attraction: Pyramid Lake. As you come over a rise in the road, the view of the lake will spread out before you. If you haven't seen Pyramid Lake before (and even if you have), this is a real treat!
Route 447 closely follows the eastern side of Pyramid Lake. From here you can see the lake's inspiring deep blue waters which is starkly contrasted against the mellow desert scenery. This lake is a hotspot of recreation and you should definitely spend some time getting out of the car to see it up close.
The scenic byway branches off from 447 onto Route 446 along the western edge of the lake. From here you can consider driving to Sutcliffe which boasts lovely beaches and great fishing opportunities. This region of the lake's shoreline also boasts Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary for migrating birds and home to the largest-known colony of American White Pelicans. The island is off-limits to the public but seeing it from afar is always a special experience.
Once you get back into the car, you can either continue onto the scenic byway which terminates shortly after branching off onto Route 445, or loop back on 447 where more natural beauty awaits. From here, Route 447 begins to follow the western edge of Winnemucca Lake, a dry lake that once was the terminus of the Truckee River.
The highway will then enter one of Nevada's most unique and otherworldly landscapes: The Black Rock Desert. This massive desert landscape is comprised of playa and lava beds. With unobstructed views stretching for miles and miles, it's considered one of the most remote area in the Silver State, and maybe even the country.
The highway officially ends 0.375 miles north of crossing the Union Pacific Railroad's Feather River Route in Gerlach. This drive may be located in the middle of nowhere, but it's far from boring. If anything, the Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway is one of the most underrated adventures our state has to offer!
Would you consider exploring this underappreciated scenic drive? Check out more options by visiting this list of
The 8 Best Back Roads In Nevada For A Long Scenic Drive.