“Enjoy a Variety of Activities!”
Rye Patch visitors enjoy camping, picnicking, fishing and water-skiing at the recreation area’s 22-mile long reservoir on the Humboldt River just west of Interstate 80. Located 22 miles north of Lovelock and 50 miles southwest of Winnemucca, Exit 129 will take you to the main park entrance, dam and campgrounds. Rye Patch is open year round. The reservoir has 72 miles of shoreline and 11,000 acres of water surface when full. The high water elevation is 4,135 feet. Thousands of years ago the Rye Patch Reservoir area’s climate was colder and wetter than it is now, and a larger Humboldt River fed ancient Lake Lahontan, a body of water covering most of the Great Basin. About 23,000 years ago, when the elevation of the ancient lake was lower than the present reservoir, large animals such as camels, horses, elephants and bison, as well as rabbits and squirrels, came to drink from springs in the riverbank. Some animals perished there, and their bones have been found at spring sites 14 miles north of Rye Patch Dam. It is not known whether people lived in the area then, but evidence shows native people were camping along the river 8,000 years ago. As the centuries passed, the climate grew warmer and drier. About 4,000 years ago the prehistoric Lake Lahontan had been reduced to what are now the Humboldt and Carson sinks. The river shrunk to its present size, and the area’s climate, topography and vegetation evolved to what they are today.
Tent camping is free??
We loved this little oasis in the desert.
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Rye Patch State Recreation Area
- Mon - Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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