Wild winds and Mark Twain may be familiar to some, but for those attuned to the history of Nevada's Washoe Lake, they will hold a special appeal. The lake is open for recreation, especially boating, though smaller craft due to its sometimes overpowering wind speeds, but it has also developed into a beautiful location for campers and fishermen. Most will situate themselves in more sheltered spots, a fair enough distance away to avoid being blown away, but close enough to enjoy the scenery and beauty for which the lake is renowned.
Mark Twain once wrote that Washoe Lake's winds were "… by no means a trifling matter." In fact, he, those before him, and those that came after, clearly know the powers that these winds possess. Though calm enough on the best of days to enjoy windsurfing, sailing and kiteboarding, these winds have been known to topple poorly built homes, send shingles flying and even on one occasion roll over a coach full of people. However, the lake is fairly shallow, so recreational pleasures are not impeded.
The lake finds its source from many tiny streams that trickle down from the Virginia and Carson Mountains, not far from Carson City and Reno. They drain into the Steamboat Creek, flooding the Truckee River with needed water for irrigation. Many valleys along their route rely on their needed nourishment. Agriculture most definitely depends on them.
Campers will not find specific campgrounds as such, but all around the lake there are spots with picnic tables, washroom, showering facilities and even fire pits. Most of these areas allow for tents and RV parking, though special fees and permits are needed in some locations.