What to do in Washoe Lake State Park

Sitting at an elevation of 5,029 feet visitors to Washoe Lake State Park will find spectacular views of the majestic Sierra Nevada and the Carson Range. In addition to the natural beauty, the area offers several diverse recreational opportunities. The park provides 8,053 acres of land and water for year-round recreational use. The wetlands in the Washoe Valley provide critical forage and nesting habitat for hundreds of species of migratory birds and thousands of waterfowl. The sand dunes of Washoe Lake are another interesting feature. Washoe Lake State Park is home to wildlife such as deer, coyote, hawks, eagles, and pelicans.

The developed facilities at Washoe Lake State Park lie on the eastern shores of Washoe Lake and Little Washoe Lake. Facilities include the following:

Day Use Areas: These are located at the Wetlands, South Beach, Main, North Ramp and Little Wash. All areas have toilets. Developed picnic sites are found at all but the wetlands.

Campground: Camping is permitted only at the Main Area Campground. There are 49 sites, each with a table, grill and fire ring are open year round and available on a first come first served basis. Two comfort stations with showers are available. Several sites can hold RV's up to 45 feet in length (no hookup's). A dump station is available.

Equestrian Areas: These are found in the Main Area and North Ramp. The Main Area facility includes restrooms and a covered barbecue area with tables, grill, sink, power, water and lighting. Camping is permitted for both tents and RV's with large parking areas for easy horse trailer access. The area can be reserved for groups up to 200. The North Ramp facility is day use only.

Group Area: This is near the Main Day use Area and Boat Launch. It can be reserved for both day use and overnight use. Facilities include a covered pavilion, restrooms, 20 picnic tables, barbecue grills, power, lighting, sink, a sandy volleyball court and horseshoe pits.

Boat Launching Ramps and Docks: These can be found in the Main Day use Area and at North Ramp. Boat trailer parking sites are provided. No direct boating access is available at Little Wash.

Trails: Trails are available throughout the park, for motorized and non-motorized uses. Non-motorized trails accommodate hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian riders. Motorized trails are limited to the Virginia Range east of the park.

Popular activities at Washoe Lake State Park include camping, fishing, bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, catamaran sailing, and jet skiing.

The park is located 10 miles north of Carson City and 15 mites south of Reno. Take U.S. 395 north to the East Lake Boulevard exit, than drive north on East Lake Boulevard approximately 3.1 miles to the park entrance. From Reno, take 395 south to the East Lake Boulevard intersection, turn left, and drive south on East Lake Boulevard for 7.1 miles to the park entrance

Washoe Lake sits at an elevation of 5,029 feet below the tree line in open sagebrush country. Being higher than Reno or Carson City, temperatures are typically five to ten degrees below those reported for the cities. Highs in the summer range from 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit with lows between 40 and 50 degrees. Winters bring freezing temperatures at night with day time highs in the 30's to low 40's. Visitors to the site should dress according to the variations in temperatures.

4855 East Lake Blvd
Carson City, NV 89704

Phone: 775-687-4319

Fax: 775-684-8053

  • Washoe Lake State Park Travel Q&A