black rock city nevada
black rock city

Burner Byway

Find Freedom in the Black Rock

Route Distance

110 to 250 miles

Suggested Time

2 to 4 days

Come trace the art-lined route Burners take on their annual pilgrimage “home” to Burning Man, the wildest arts event on Earth in the mystical Black Rock Desert. For a week-ish each fall, the pop-up metropolis of Black Rock City Nevada springs to life and—just as quickly—disappears. However, around northwestern Nevada, the Burning Man spirit never does. Road trip the Burner Byway any time of year and you’ll discover how Nevada’s do-it-yourself verve, splendorous wide-open spaces, spunky “why not” attitude, and unmatched freedom energizes people to come create something magical, from Reno to Gerlach and far beyond.

Highlights

  • Explore the Black Rock Desert playa—one of Earth’s largest, flattest surfaces
  • Gaze upon magnificent, kaleidoscopic Fly Geyser on a guided nature tour
  • Cast for salmon-sized trout and discovering Paiute culture at Pyramid Lake

Black Rock Bound on the Burner Byway

An Art-Tastic Odyssey to the Black Rock and Beyond

Each August the otherwise empty Black Rock Desert playa becomes Nevada’s sixth-largest city—the 70,000-person pop-up metropolis of Black Rock City Nevada—thanks to Burning Man, the world-famous celebration of art, technology, community, and radical self-reliance… for about a week. However, many Burners have infused the event’s spirit into northern Nevada’s soul, through public art, museums, shops, galleries, makers’ spaces, and more, keeping its rich vibes alive year-round. Feel it for yourself as you road trip from bohemian Reno—a hip town riding an art-fueled renaissance—to gorgeous, tribal-owned Pyramid Lake, the funky town of Gerlach, and off into the magnificent Black Rock Desert Wilderness.

COMMUNITIES ON THIS TRIP

Reno, Pyramid Lake, Gerlach

Glovebox Essentials

Prepare for Your Adventure

Get ready to come chase some horizons with this handy tool kit. Here, you’ll find all the Burner Byway road trip essentials, including downloadable directions, maps, and podcasts, and tunes to complement your upcoming adventure.

Landscapes Sure To Inspire On Nevada’s Burner Byway | Part 1

Landscapes Sure To Inspire On Nevada’s Burner Byway | Part 2

Awaken Your Spirit on Nevada’s Burner Byway

Refuel Your Soul on Nevada’s Burner Byway

Discover Sacred Secrets on Nevada’s Burner Byway

Kick Up Some Dust

Find Yourself on the Burner Byway

Follow the pilgrimage route Burners take each August on their journey “home” to Black Rock City Nevada. Start in Reno—where burners have helped fuel an artistic renaissance—then visit the quiet, sunset-splashing shores of Pyramid Lake, and venture onward to delightfully eccentric Gerlach, the fabled Black Rock Desert playa, and the wilderness beyond.

Leg 1

Reno: Hippest Little City in the World

As the urban gateway to Black Rock City, Reno’s Burner vibes reveal themselves in “post-playa” sculptures, 120+ murals, a vibrant artist/maker scene, and eclectic food.

Leg 2

Pyramid Lake: Pristine Views & Paiute Culture

Tahoe-sized vistas… minus Tahoe-sized crowds. Stop by the Museum & Visitor Center to learn about the local Paiute guardians and snag a permit to fish for salmon-sized trout.

Leg 3

Gerlach: “Center of the Known Universe”

That’s the perfect slogan for this funky little Black Rock Desert basecamp, home to multiple saloons, a coffee bar, a pottery shop, and the launchpad for Fly Geyser tours.

Leg 4

To the Black Rock Desert & Beyond

The 200 square-mile Black Rock Desert playa hogs the spotlight, but this 1.2 million-acre wonderland harbors hot springs, emigrant trails, unbeatable stargazing, opal mines, and more.

reno to black rock desert

Leg 1

Reno: Find Your Vibe

Local Miles

You certainly don’t need fluffy pink boots, sparkly glasses, or other outlandish garb to enjoy the Burner Byway. But if you want ’em, Reno’s definitely got ’em—in a district defined by locally owned vintage shops, costume boutiques, and funky antique stores. Reno also sets the right artistic mood with “post-playa” Burning Man sculptures planted around town, Art Spot Reno’s guided or downloadable tours to more than 120 vibrant murals, and the fabulous Nevada Museum of Art, accredited right up there with the Met and SFMOMA.

Nevada is all about open-road adventures, but please brush up on travel restrictions and safety guidelines before heading for our horizons.

The part lodging / part gallery Morris Burner Hostel, a burner go-to, is open year-round. For vintage-meets-modern vibes, check into Kramer’s Midtown or 1907-built The Jesse Hotel & Bar; or live it up at a casino-resort.

Kramer’s Midtown

Kramer’s Midtown

Reno

THE ROW Reno

THE ROW Reno

Reno

Whitney Peak Hotel

Whitney Peak Hotel

Reno

Peppermill Reno Resort, Spa, Casino

Peppermill Reno Resort, Spa, Casino

Reno

The Jesse Hotel & Bar

The Jesse Hotel & Bar

Reno

Nugget Casino Resort

Nugget Casino Resort

Sparks

Grand Sierra Resort and Casino

Grand Sierra Resort and Casino

Reno

Morris Burner Hostel

Morris Burner Hostel

RENO

Atlantis Reno Casino Resort Spa

Atlantis Reno Casino Resort Spa

Reno

Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

RENO

View All

Get your trip off to a colorful start with a mural tour, a trip to the Nevada Museum of Art, or a stroll along the sculpture-lined Downtown Reno Riverwalk; then score vintage duds at funk-tastic local shops and boutiques.

The Generator

The Generator

SPARKS

Reno Midtown District

Reno Midtown District

RENO

Reno’s cuisine scene is haute, fresh, and tasty. Gourmet grub is everywhere, from fresh vegan fare to gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese. Be sure to wash it down at dozens of swanky cocktail lounges, wine bars, tap houses, and more.

Noble Pie Parlor

Noble Pie Parlor

Reno

Hub Coffee Roasters

Hub Coffee Roasters

RENO

The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery

The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery

Reno

Basin & Range Cellars

Basin & Range Cellars

RENO

Beefy’s

Beefy’s

Reno

Chapel Tavern

Chapel Tavern

Reno

Louis’ Basque Corner

Louis’ Basque Corner

RENO

The Eddy Reno

The Eddy Reno

Reno

Great Basin Brewing Co.

Great Basin Brewing Co.

Sparks

View All

Reno loves art and wants you to know it. Especially in July, when Artown holds about 500 music, theater, dance, and visual art events. And in October when Off Beat Music Festival takes over Midtown with 100+ live bands.

Great Reno Balloon Race

Great Reno Balloon Race

Reno Santa Pub Crawl

Reno Santa Pub Crawl

Off Beat Music Festival

Off Beat Music Festival

National Championship Air Races

National Championship Air Races

Reno Rodeo: Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West

Reno Rodeo: Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West

Reno River Festival

Reno River Festival

Reno is Artown

Reno is Artown

View All
distance reno to black rock city

Leg 2

Reno to Pyramid Lake

50 miles

You’ll need more than your camera to take in the crowd-free, underrated scenic jewel that is Pyramid Lake. Tahoe-sized views, surreal colors, and remarkable silence… that’s the stuff northern Nevada memories are made of. Swing into the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum & Visitor Center to learn about the culture of the people who have lived in this sacred place for generations, as well as to purchase permits for camping or fishing for massive (and rare) Lahontan cutthroat trout—Nevada’s state fish—solo or with a local guide.

Pyramid Lake is entirely on tribal land. Get a permit to camp on the west shore; or, if you’d rather not rough it, Crosby’s Lodge offers rustic cabins and travel trailers with classic fishing resort ambiance. 

Crosby’s Lodge

Crosby’s Lodge

Sutcliffe

Although the record Lahontan cutthroat trout weighed 41 lbs, anglers seem content with the average being about half that. Not feelin’ fishy? Swing by the museum to learn about the Paiute Tribe who protect this place today.

Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake

NIXON

Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge

Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge

Fallon

Reno Fly Shop

Reno Fly Shop

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum & Visitors Center

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum & Visitors Center

NIXON

View All

Although it’s nearly Tahoe-sized, what you won’t find at Pyramid Lake are shorelines swathed in resorts. What you will find is Crosby’s Lodge, the best (and only!) joint around, serving up tasty burgers, fries, and cold beers.

Crosby’s Lodge

Crosby’s Lodge

Sutcliffe

black rock desert

Leg 3

Pyramid Lake to Gerlach

60 to 80 miles

Welcome to Gerlach, the last slice of civilization before 1.2 million acres of Black Rock Country. With advance reservations, take a Friends of Black Rock-High Rock nature tour of Fly Geyser, Nevada’s psychedelic riff on Old Faithful. Cruise to Planet X Pottery, a solar-powered studio and gallery filled with paintings and pottery inspired by the landscape, then reflect on whimsical art on Guru Rd. on the way back to town, where loquacious locals linger at Bruno’s Country Club and the Miners Club, often until the wee hours.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

Burning Man is NOT a tourist attraction. Preparation takes weeks and, done poorly, can result in one seriously bad trip. Learn what it takes at burningman.org.

Bed down at Bruno’s, a meatball’s throw from the bar/café/mini-casino of the same name; go west (literally) to Iveson Ranch and Wildlife Preserve; or cozy into adorable Black Rock Bungalow, with the playa is your backyard.

Bruno’s Country Club, Motel & RV Park

Bruno’s Country Club, Motel & RV Park

Gerlach

Iveson Ranch

Iveson Ranch

Gerlach

There’s a reason Fly Geyser made the cover of NatGeo’s “Rarely Seen” photo book; snap it yourself on a tour. Then shop for desert-inspired ceramics at Planet X and wander among witty art made by a revered local on Guru Road.

Fly Geyser

Fly Geyser

Gerlach

Friends of Black Rock – High Rock Shop

Friends of Black Rock – High Rock Shop

GERLACH

Planet X Pottery

Planet X Pottery

GERLACH

Guru Road

Guru Road

GERLACH

View All

Bruno Selmi is no longer with us, but Bruno’s Country Club—which he started with gypsum mine cash in 1952—carries on his fire with baseball-size ravioli in his secret tomato sauce, mean Picon Punches, and warm hospitality.

Bruno’s Country Club, Motel & RV Park

Bruno’s Country Club, Motel & RV Park

Gerlach

Miners Club

Miners Club

Gerlach

mountain ranges

Leg 4

Into the Black Rock Desert and Beyond

20 to 200+ miles

For Burners, the Black Rock Desert playa is the destination. For Burner Byway-ers, it’s just the beginning. And it’s true: one glimpse of the playa’s other-wordly majesty confirms why people love coming here for a week each year. But between you and us…it’s even better without 69,999 other people on it. And it’s only the threshold to some of the most remote country in the USA—a wilderness rife with natural hot springs, wildlife, starlit skies, and more—all spread across 1.2 million acres of pure, unwritten adventure territory.

Travel Nevada Pro Tip

If it’s anything other than bone-dry, DON’T DRIVE ON THE PLAYA.  Check recent conditions with Friends of Black Rock or a Gerlach business before coming.

“Hotels,” eh? Well, you won’t find any out here. Luckily, it’s public land, so as long as you’re up on your Leave No Trace ethics, you can camp nearly anywhere. If roofs are more your thing, lock these spots into your GPS.

Old Yella Dog Ranch and Cattle Company

Old Yella Dog Ranch and Cattle Company

VYA

Soldier Meadows BLM Cabin & Campground

Soldier Meadows BLM Cabin & Campground

GERLACH

Craving freedom? Burning Man certainly offers a certain kind. But the rest of the year—as long as you have the skills—an endless world of recreation, exploration, and fascination await you in the wider Black Rock Desert.

High Rock Canyon

High Rock Canyon

Gerlach

Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge

Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge

DENIO

Massacre Rim

Massacre Rim

Gerlach

Black Rock Desert

Black Rock Desert

GERLACH

Soldier Meadows Hot Springs

Soldier Meadows Hot Springs

GERLACH

Friends of Black Rock – High Rock Shop

Friends of Black Rock – High Rock Shop

GERLACH

Double Hot Springs

Double Hot Springs

GERLACH

View All

If you’re starting your day in Gerlach, fuel up for your Black Rock Desert odyssey with hearty omelettes at Bruno’s; then grab a smoothie, latte, or bar of locally made soap to go at the Miners Club.

Bruno’s Country Club, Motel & RV Park

Bruno’s Country Club, Motel & RV Park

Gerlach

We love Vegas. But if you’re looking for the opposite kind of nightlife, hop in a reliable rig and romp out to Massacre Rim, one of the darkest places on Earth, for front row seats to the most star-studded show you’ll ever see.

Perseid Meteor Shower

Perseid Meteor Shower

#BurnerByway

Bound for the Black Rock? Tag #BurnerByway so we can show major love for all your geyser-gazing, ravioli-scarfing, arty party snapshots along the way.

A 3 hr nature walk tour🚶🏻‍♀️all worth it to see this beauty 😮 #travelnevada #sheisnotlost #travelinladies #flygeyser #gerlach
Have you checked out our latest featured story on our page?
•••
We dove into the #BurnerByway from Reno to the Black Rock Desert. For more details on the road trip itinerary and cool things to see along the way visit our page.
•••
And find the Burning Man spirit year-round at gems like the Morris Burner Hostel in Reno.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#DFMI #TravelNevada #NVRoadTrip #DiscoverNV #BurningMan #BurningMan2018 #BlackRockCity #BlackRockDesert #Playa #NV #Nevada
Torchbearer maineflycastings doing work with his beast sling at Pyramid Lake with pyramidflyco while on the first vedavoogear Torchbearer RendezVoo -- 📸: jrizzle50 •
•
•
#vedavoo #betteramericangear #handbuilt #handcrafted #americanmade #madeinusa #flyfishing #flytying #fishing #trout #keepemwet #travel #cutthroat #outdoors #pyramidlake #nevada #travelnevada #maplesyrup #vedavootorchbearers #lohantoncutthroat
#ElvisLives! Here he is hanging out on #gururoad. We'll be visiting him on April 28 to clean up his #cape and take care of his neighbors. What's your favorite piece of #folkart? #fbrhr #blackrockdesert #elvis #theking #graceland #doobielane #gerlach #northernnevada #burnerbyway
5 months and 15 days until deep playa sunsets. Stoked to get to return to a flooded playa at the end of April for a little #boatingman #barbthebarbarian guada.lupe.diver #blackrockdesert #DFMI #burningman Van
.
.
.
#Westfalia #vanagon #vwlife #t3 #vwkids #vanlifeproject #overland #getoutstayout #wanderlust #poptop #campervan #VW #homeiswhereyouparkit #westy #vanlifers #kombi #vandwelling #smallfootprint #tinyhouse #projectvanlife #buslife #nomadlife #vanlifediaries #rockymountainwesty
The crew traversing the #Moon during the #PerseidMeteorShower (actually the #BlackRockDesert). F/8.0, 30 second exposure. 
toyotausa fjjcruiser fjcruiser_toyota fjcruiser_allterrain #775 #northernnevada #nevada #nevadadesert travelnevada #dfmi #fjcruiserforums #fjcruisers #fj #fjcruiser #magmafj #desert #highdesert #4x4 #offroading #offroad #overland #overlanding #renonv #nv #nvoffroad #meteorshower renotahoe #nightride #stars #nightsky #starfield #headlights #playa
Still one of my favorite scenes.  I remember taking a few photos with a composition set-up looking east (toward Pyramid Lake) until I noticed a glow over my shoulder.  I turned to witness this tableau unfolding before me.  Definitely a surprise that pretty much floored me.
.
.
.
#renotahoe #travelnevada #onlyinnv #cloudscape #eveningsky #nevada #nevadadesert #naturalnevada
Looking forward to returning to the Black Rock Desert for some quality glamping in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Hoping to return with many photos of starry and stormy skies.⁣
⁣.⁣
⁣.⁣
⁣.⁣
⁣.⁣
⁣.⁣
⁣.⁣
⁣#blackrockdesert #milkyway #longexposure  #longexposure_shots longexposure_features longexposure_pix #astralphotography #starrynight #highdesert #playa #nevada #travelnevada #fbrhr #desertsolitaire #dscvr_mood #ingenioustones #westbysouthwest #natureprimeshot #seekmorewilderness  #nikon #nikonusa #nikond3s #nikkor #benro #themountainair #breatheitin
Paintbrush and Lupine blooming with our camp behind it in the aspens. It was a cold and wet week up there but nothing beats camping and relaxing with friends.

#nevada #nevadaphile #exploreNevada #nevadasky #getoutside #Wilderness #travelnevada #howtonevada #nvmag #nevadawildflower #wildflower #flowers #wildflowerseason #nevadaflower #lupine #paintbrush #aspen #trees #greatbasin #mountains #peak #highcountry #canyon #dfmi #homemeansnevada #battleborn #nevadacamping #camping #scenery
The sun sets on another adventurous weekend in Nevada. What memories did you make? .
.
.
.
Thanks to this lovely shot of a playa sunset from dwayneburgess during Burning Man 2017 (don’t know what Burning Man is? Be sure to look into it! It’s a large part of northern Nevada culture). Tag us or use #naturalnevada to be featured!
#explorenevada #naturalnevada #naturalunited #howtonevada #homemeansnevada #dfmi #blackrockcity #blackrockdesert #burningman #keepitpublic #keepitwild #wildness #wildnevada #wildwildwest #greatbasin #sunset #summer #nevadasunset #nvmag #onlyinnevada #optoutside #outdoors #explore #adventure #adventurelikeyougiveadamn #industwetrust #instanature #naturephotography
Loading...

Loading…

Want a little more of the Weirdest, Wildest West?

Explore More Road Trips

Feel Free to wander. As the Road Trip Capital of the USA chances are, we’ve got a #NVRoadTrip with your name all over it. Maybe even 10 of ’em.