You'll Need to Travel Across This Barren Desert to Find Burning Man

You'll have to visit this vast stretch of desert to see The Man burn.

Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Photo: Keith Owens/Getty Images

Burning Man 2017 returned on August 27 to Nevada's Black Rock Desert, the location where the festival has been held for the last 28 years.

The first Burning Man ceremony was in 1986, on San Francisco's Baker Beach. It wasn't until 1990 that the burning of the now-iconic Man moved from Baker Beach to Black Rock Desert (and the beach bonfire evolved into a full-fledged arts event).

This region of northwestern Nevada is one of the largest, flattest surfaces on Earth; it's a barren, cracked-Earth landscape that can reach daytime temperatures of 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.

Related: What It Was Like to Go to Burning Man With My Parents

Every year, tens of thousands of people head to the Black Rock Desert for Burning Man. (At its peak in 2013, nearly 70,000 people attended the event.)

Burning Man participants live in Black Rock City — a temporary metropolis that sprouts up on the playa of the Black Rock Desert every year. Many travelers take flights to Burning Man by way of Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

From here, approved planes charter participants to Block Rock City Municipal Airport – though a majority drive to Burning Man. Reno is the closest major city, and Burners can take one of two routes to Black Rock City.

Related: The People and Art of Burning Man 2015

Whether you take the Wadsworth/Pyramid Lake Exit or the Pyramid Way Exit to Highway 445, all Burning Man-bound drivers will eventually find themselves on a rural, two-lane highway from Gerlach — the closest permanent settlement.

Travelers may also opt for the Burner Express Bus, which shuttles participants between Reno and San Francisco. Some have even been known to charter private helicopter flights.

Burning Man can only be found during the annual event.

When the event ends on September 4, the Man, the temple, and the entire city will be burned to the ground or dismantled.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles