Washoe Lake

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Washoe Lake
Washoe Lake State Park.jpg
Washoe Lake, with Slide Mt. and the Carson Range in the background.
Washoe Lake is located in Nevada
Washoe Lake
Washoe Lake
Location in Nevada
Location Washoe County, Nevada
Coordinates 39°16′00″N 119°48′00″W / 39.26667°N 119.80000°W / 39.26667; -119.80000
Primary inflows several small streams
Primary outflows Steamboat Creek
Basin countries United States
Surface elevation 5,029 feet (1,533 m)
Washoe Lake and storm, 2011

Washoe Lake (Washo: c'óʔyaʔ dáʔaw [1]) is a lake located in the Washoe Valley of Washoe County, Nevada. It is between Reno and Carson City (nearer to Carson City). It is a very shallow lake, and the surface area can vary greatly from year to year.


Washoe Lake is fed by several small streams which issue from the Carson Range to the west as well as ephemeral streams which flow from the Virginia Range to the east. At its northern end, Washoe Lake narrows and connects to Little Washoe Lake, at whose northernmost end issues Steamboat Creek. From the Carson Range, Washoe Lake receives (from south to north) Franktown Creek, Ophir Creek,[2] Davis Creek[3] and Winters Creek.[4] Steamboat Creek receives Browns and Galena Creeks[5] in Pleasant Valley, Nevada, and then runs north to meet the Truckee River on the eastern outskirts of Reno, Nevada.[6] Much of the water from the Steamboat Creek/Washoe Lake Watershed is diverted for irrigation use.

Mark Twain[edit]

Washoe Lake is known for its high wind speeds.

Mark Twain wrote:
"A Washoe wind is by no means a trifling matter. It blows flimsy houses down, lifts shingle roofs occasionally, rolls up tin ones like sheet music, now and then blows a stage-coach over and spills the passengers; and tradition says the reason there are so many bald people there is, that the wind blows the hair off their heads while they are looking skyward after their hats."

The same high wind speeds have remained to this day and are capable of overturning commercial vehicles traveling along Interstate 580/U.S. Highway 395, which runs along the western shore of Washoe Lake.


Washoe Lake is popular with windsurfers, kiteboarders and (lake level permitting) small boat sailors.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]