America's most beautiful desert lake is a remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan, which covered some 8,450 square miles in western Nevada during the Ice Age. Caves and rock shelters along its shore have yielded evidence of Numu (Paiute) people living here for thousands of years.
John C. Frémont came upon the lake on January 10, 1844 and named it for the pyramid-shaped island just off the east shore. The Numu called the pyramid formulation (sic) Wono. The Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation was created in 1959. The history of the Numu people living here has been one of contention with encroaching settlers. With the Numu victory in the First Battle of Pyramid Lake, May 12, 1860, more European-American men died than in any other prior engagement west of the Mississippi.
Anaho Island, just to the south of the Pyramid, was established as a national wildlife refuge in 1913 and is today one of the largest White Pelican nesting grounds in North America.