Ready for adventure? Head to Nevada's final frontier. With the Black Rock Desert, one of America's most spectacular natural wonders, true blue skies, sage sprinkled dunes and purple mountain majesties, discover the untouched beauty of the wild, wild West. Discover Gerlach. See for yourself!
The gateway to the Black Rock Desert, Gerlach is a small town filled with small wonders. Although the town was established by the Western Pacific Railroad as late as 1905, the town's historical significance dates to prehistory. For centuries early man settled in this region, finding it plentiful in spring water, food and natural shelter. In more recent history, triangle-shaped Black Rock Mountain served as a compass point for pioneers en route to Oregon and California's gold country. These hardy immigrants traveled from spring to spring, stopping in Gerlach before passing through High Rock Canyon, where you can still find their names carved into barren rock as testimony to their ordeals.
Today, Gerlach is home to the New Gerlach Hot Springs, historic Water Tower Park and Bruno's Country Club, with its famous homemade ravioli.
Looking for a little wisdom along the way? Check out Doobie Road, appropriately billed as "a story with no beginning and no end." In this wonderfully strange and inspiring outdoor art display created by Dwayne Williams, a dirt road takes you among some of the most interesting and entertaining works you'll ever see. Explore creative scenes and sculptures as well as entertaining proverbs from "gurus" who have traveled the road. Like all the best things in life, admission is free.
Get set for beauty beyond your wildest expectations. The hills are alive with layers of color that change with the time of day. The untouched beauty of this desert landscape will stay with you long after you leave. The Black Rock Desert first became known for its location on the Lassen-Applegate Trail, one of the main wagon routes used by settlers heading West. The desert continues to be the site of history-making feats. In fact, in 1983, Richard Noble set the world land speed record of more than 633 miles per hour in his rocket-like car.
The vast desolation of the Black Rock Desert is out of this world. Just ask John Bogard, owner and potter extraordinaire at Planet X Pottery. Located 8 miles northwest of Gerlach, Planet X is an artistic oasis. This solar-powered studio has earned a national reputation for producing innovative and strikingly beautiful handmade pots and dishes, many incorporating magnificent scenes from surrounding terrain. Take home a lasting reminder of your visit to the Black Rock Desert. And tell your friends you took a trip to Planet X.
Cool your heels under the shade of the historic Water Tower. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the tower was built in 1909.
Down the road
from Gerlach is Empire, home of U.S. Gypsum, supplier of an extraordinary
90 percent of all drywall used in construction in America. If
golf is your game, go a few rounds at Burning Sands, an NCGA
approved nine-hole golf course. And you thought Pebble Beach
Named for Chief Winnemucca, an honored friend of early settlers and chief of the Pyramid lake Paiutes, Winnemucca Lake was once filled to the brim. Today, it is a dry lake bed. Large rock formations jut from its surface, many decorated with storytelling petroglyphs. The area is home to owls, horned toads, and other desert wildlife.
A small Indian town that lets you know you're headed in the right direction. You'll want to stop at the I-80 Smokeshop, your last chance for snacks, drinks and gas for 70 miles.
Above the desolate desert floor, the hills contain off-road wonders. Discover beautiful groves of quaking aspen surrounding desert streams with deer, jack rabbit and a multitude of desert wildlife. You'll also find camping sites from years gone by, with old Basque ovens, shepherd's stacks and more. Desert exploring is not for the unprepared. Be sure to drive a properly equipped off road vehicle with the necessary emergency equipment: water, shovel, jack, chains and emergency supplies.
This spectacular desert lake is unlike any other body of water in the world. As the largest remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan, a giant inland sea that once covered more than 8,000 square miles, Pyramid Lake is an astonishing reminder of the history of our earth. Archaeologists have discovered evidence that Pyramid Lake was home to cultures that existed more than 9,000 years ago. Petroglyphs depicting prehistoric Indian life still line the hillsides around the lake.
Pyramid is also famous for its fish. Ancient Cui-ui fish still swim in its azure waters. These exotic fish first appeared more than 2 million years ago. Once abundant, they are now protected by the Endangered Species Act. For a good look at Pyramid's variety of fish, visit the Numaga Fish Hatchery and Visitors Center located between Wadsworth and Nixon. Water-skiing, jet-skiing, swimming, camping and fishing are just a few of the recreational opportunities for Pyramid visitors. The new Pyramid Lake Marina at Sutcliffe offers complete boating facilities. Comfortable temperatures and clear waters have lured sportsmen to Pyramid since the turn of the century. In fact, the world record cutthroat trout was pulled from Pyramid in 1925.
Pyramid Lake's Anahoe Island serves as a sanctuary for pelicans, which nest on its shore and can be seen flying in formation each spring. The island is closed to the public.
Pyramid Lake is fed by the Truckee River, which originates at beautiful Lake Tahoe.
"We encamped on the shore, opposite a very remarkable rock in the lake, which had attracted our attention for many miles. It rose, according to our estimate, 600 feet above the water, and from the point we viewed it, presented a pretty exact outline of the great pyramid of Cheops. I called it Pyramid Lake." John C. Fremont