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aerial photograph of Washoe Lake State Park

If you ever find yourself in or around Carson City, you should definitely make a point of visiting Washoe Lake State Park.

Situated just 8 miles North of it, this picturesque outdoor recreation area is centered around Washoe Lake. A large, shallow body of water that is known for its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife.

Offering a wide range of recreational opportunities for visitors to enjoy, the park is a popular spot for boating and fishing. It also boasts several well-maintained trails that offer stunning views of the lake and the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains as it winds through the surrounding desert landscape.

Washoe Lake State Park is also known for its diverse plant and animal species, including many migratory birds that stop in the area during their annual journeys. Visitors can spot them through the many different habitats found in the area, which include its sandy shoreline and rocky hillsides.

Overall, this Nevada state park is an excellent destination for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. It also is a noted spot for picnicking and camping as well.


During your visit to Washoe Lake State Park, guests can enjoy a varied range of outdoor leisurely activities.

Outlined below is a quick rundown of some of the most popular things you can do whilst you are there.

Boating at Washoe Lake State Park

With its large lake and boat launch facilities, Washoe Lake State Park offers a great opportunity for boating enthusiasts.

The park has a boat ramp located on the south end of the lake, allowing easy access for boats of all sizes. As boats with electric or gas motors are allowed on the lake, it is a popular spot for fishing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and other water sports.

If you did not bring a boat or watercraft with you to the park there are also rental facilities for kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes available.

For those who do intend to head out onto the water, it is worth noting the lake can be quite windy at times. So if you are an inexperienced boater it could be quite challenging.

As such, it is advisable to check the weather conditions and forecast before heading out on the lake. While on the water, all boaters are required to follow Nevada boating laws and regulations, including having the required safety equipment on board, such as personal flotation devices and fire extinguishers.

tumbleweed on the trail to the beach at Washoe Lake State Park

Fishing at Washoe Lake State Park

Washoe Lake State Park is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. The lake features an abundant population of bass, catfish and trout, making it a great spot for anglers of all levels.

The best time to fish at Washoe Lake is from late spring to early summer when the water is cooler and the fish are more active. Anglers can fish from the shore or from boats, which are allowed on the lake. Additionally, there are several nearby fishing spots including the Truckee River and the Carson River, which offer even more opportunities for fishing.

If you want to fish at the park you will need a valid Nevada fishing license, which can be purchased online or at local sporting goods stores. However, once you have got one, you will be able to fish all year round.

Should you be successful in catching something, the park has a fish cleaning station to prepare your catch for cooking.

Hiking at Washoe Lake State Park

The park offers a range of hiking trails that enables guests to explore the park’s natural beauty.

One of the most popular trails in the park is the Deadman’s Creek Trail, a moderate hike that winds through sagebrush and leads to stunning views of Washoe Lake.

The park’s trails also offer a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities, with hikers often spotting birds, deer, rabbits, and other animals along the way. In the spring, the park’s hills are covered in wildflowers, adding to the already stunning views.

For those who prefer a longer hike, the 7.5-mile loop trail around Washoe Lake is a great option. This trail offers panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding mountains and is ideal for hikers who want to spend a full day exploring the park.

Birding at Washoe Lake State Park

Washoe Lake State Park is a popular destination for birdwatchers, with over 200 species recorded in the park.

The park’s diverse habitats, including wetlands, sagebrush scrub, and woodland, provide a home for a variety of bird species. Depending on the time of the year you visit, you should be able to spot wading birds, such as egrets and herons and the likes of sandhill cranes, snow geese, and various shorebirds.

To make the most of their experience, birders are encouraged to bring binoculars and a field guide.


Pets are welcome at Washoe Lake State Park and there are specific pet areas designated for dog activities such as swimming, hiking and running.

However, dogs will need to be kept restrained on a leash for the entire time they are there. Additionally, pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after their four legged friends if they make a mess.

It is important to note that pets are not allowed in any park buildings or beaches. Other conditions may also apply, so to clarify what they are if you do intend to bring your pooch with you, it would be worth contacting the main office.


The park offers a range of camping options for visitors looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of Nevada’s natural environment.

Overall, it features the Main Campground and the Equestrian Campground. The Main Campground offers 49 sites, including 18 with electric hookups, and is open year-round. It is located on the western side of the lake and offers amenities such as flush toilets, hot showers, and a dump station.

The Equestrian Campground has 15 sites, each of which has a corral, water trough, and picnic table.

Park Location

Washoe Lake State Park
4855 Eastlake Blvd
New Washoe City, NV 89704
Phone: 775.687.4319

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Washoe Lake State Park: