Little Washoe Lake is a small area of interest within the larger Washoe Lake State Park. While much of the equestrian and day-use activity of the larger state park generally occurs adjacent to Washoe Lake several miles south, Little Washoe Lake offers its own set of opportunities, including boating and paddlesport opportunities, birdwatching, a short hiking trail, and fishing and picnicking opportunities beneath the large shade-giving trees on its northern edge. Local bands of wild horses also tend to visit Little Washoe frequently for watering.
Birds and migratory waterfowl, such as ibis, heron, and red-tailed hawks often nest around the area. Interpretive signs in the parking lot offer a look into the railroad's influence on the area, sparking the development that Washoe Lake State Park was eventually created in response to. The Scripps State Wildlife Management Area encompasses a portion of the lake area.
A large parking lot on Little Washoe Lake's east side has vault toilets and a boat launch ramp. A short rough drive over rutted dirt and cracked concrete leads to the lake's northern edge, where large trees offer a respite from the area's intense afternoon sun and benches sit haphazardly along the lake shore.
During cold winter conditions, the lake can freeze over, offering a great natural ice skating opportunity.
As part of the state park, a daily use fee of $5 is required and can be paid at a self-pay kiosk when driving into the Little Washoe Lake parking area.