Silver State Sights: Walker Lake

Published: May. 6, 2019 at 1:32 PM PDT
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Located in northwestern Mineral County along the east side of the Wassuk Range, Walker Lake isn’t a place where you’ll find beaches like Sand Harbor, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t draw visitors.

“Other lakes tend to be overcrowded at times, whereas ours doesn’t have that problem,” said Mike McNeil, Director of the convention center in nearby Hawthorne, Nevada.

“There are relatively few boats compared to other places,” he added. “It’s like a hidden jewel.”

11 miles long and 5 miles wide, it’s a destination for boaters much of the year, and while it’s one of the biggest lakes in the state, it’s not nearly as big as it was years ago. That’s because Walker Lake, much like Pyramid Lake, is a remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan, which covered much of northwest Nevada during the ice age, but lately has been on the decline.

“We were losing 5 feet a year since 1995,” McNeil mentioned.

Recent court rulings however, will result in more water getting released into the Walker River, and raising the lake's level.

There are four campgrounds at Walker Lake, with Sportsman’s Beach being the most developed. And even though it’s in the middle of a desert, civilization isn’t far away in the town of Hawthorne.

“Just 15 miles away we do have casinos, hotels, restaurants, but it’s all out of view,” McNeil explained.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019

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