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Getting to Gerlach from the West

From Reno, Nevada, take Hwy I-80 east for approximately 25 miles. Take the Wadsworth/ Pyramid Lake Exit #43 to Hwy 447. Go north one mile to Wadsworth and turn left, staying on Hwy 447. It's 75 miles to Empire where gas and supplies are available. Continue 3 miles on Hwy 447 to Gerlach where gas is also available. Get gas when you arrive so you'll have it when returning home. See LOCAL DIRECTIONS below.

Getting to Gerlach from the East
From Winnemucca, there is really only one primary option:
  1. I-80 is the primary route to follow for 130 miles to exit 43 then follow the same directions as above from Reno.

  2. The other route, Jungo Road, visible on a map, is a very rough dirt road with easy-to-miss turns, mining vehicles, a couple of treacherous dips and is guaranteed to cause one flat if not more. Please do not attempt this route.
Getting to Gerlach from the North

Begin at the town of Alturas located in northeast California along Hwy 395. This is the last opportunity to fill up on gas and the last services for a hundred miles. Take Hwy 299 east about 25 miles, then turn south onto Hwy 447 and proceed about 75 miles to Gerlach. Get gas when you arrive so you'll have it when returning home.

For directions to Gerlach from the South please see:

LA to BRC.

Local Directions: to Black Rock City from Gerlach, NV.

From Gerlach, go northwest on Highway 447 for one mile to the fork. Take the right-hand fork, Hwy 34, and continue 8 miles to the Burning Man entrance. You WILL see signs marking our entrance. Note: The 3-mile playa entrance (first turn-off) used in previous years is NOT an entrance to our event. The 12-mile playa entrance just beyond ours will not take you to Burning Man and will be patrolled by BLM Rangers. Please consider filling up on gas on your way into the event; it is much easier to do this than to get gas on the way out.

For more information visit Maps and Travel Information.

Travelers Advisory

The state highway leading to Gerlach (the closest settlement to Black Rock City) and all other roads in the area are patrolled by the Nevada Highway Patrol. 25 mph, as posted in nearby towns, means exactly that. Local kids and pets play in the road - BE CAREFUL!

If stopped for speeding on tribal lands (Nixon and Wadsworth) you should be prepared to post a fine immediately. Outside of town, be prepared to share the road with livestock and wildlife. Most vehicle accidents in which participants are injured occur on Hwys 447 & 34 on the final approach to Black Rock City. It is sadly ironic that people have often made it across the country only to have a serious injury in the last few miles.

Please be cautious!
Tired? Then stop to rest!

Be alert for cattle and deer that will dart into the road in front of you, especially at night. You may survive impact with a cow, but the animal and your car won't.

A note about jackrabbits: there is an overabundance of them and they are "kamikaze." It is not worth jeopardizing your safety to swerve in an attempt to avoid them.

Stop and look carefully at all train crossings. Estimating the speed of trains is misleading in the broad desert expanse. Always wait for oncoming train to pass before crossing railroad tracks.

Be advised that law enforcement has been known to search vehicles. Do not park alongside Highway 34. The county sheriff will ticket any vehicles that are parked by the roadside. The road to our encampment is your only access to Black Rock City. There are no other routes.

The Bureau of Land Management has declared an off-road closure throughout a two-mile area around our city. It will be patrolled by law enforcement agencies. Anyone attempting to enter the playa off-road will be subject to substantial fines. Furthermore, the margins of the lakebed are saturated with water flow. You will get stuck. Mired vehicles may remain stranded for days or weeks.

More Roadway Travel Tips

Many of the motorists traveling to the Black Rock Desert will travel on Interstate 80 until they reach the Wadsworth exit. The roadway from Wadsworth to the Black Rock Desert (State Route 447) is very different from I-80. I-80 is designed to accommodate several thousand vehicles per hour. SR-447 is a two lane road without wide paved shoulders, signs indicating rest areas or pull-outs like a major highway. SR-447 has many blind curves, grades, "open range" areas, and soft dirt roadway shoulders.

A few tips to follow when traveling on State Road 447:

  1. Use the Nixon gas station's rest area (and fill up your gas tank) before traveling north to the event. This will help reduce the need to stop alongside the road and the potential of getting stuck in the soft sand (this occurs often).

  2. This is "open range" area. "Open range" is a term that indicates there are no fences bordering the roadway, so cattle explore the range freely. After dark the cattle are often drawn to the road to soak up the warmth retained in the asphalt. Cows are worth over $500 each to a farmer, rancher, or the Native American tribe in the area. Hitting a cow is no fun, as anyone who's done so can tell you. Be safe, and smart. Travel the speed limit at all times, but do so particularly in areas indicating an "open range."

  3. If you do need to pull over, look for an area that is wide open and does not have steep dirt shoulders bordering the highway. The area needs to be large enough to get your vehicle completely off the highway, so as not to create a traffic hazard.

  4. Avoid pulling over near curves and grades. These areas can be extremely dangerous for you and other motorists when attempting to re-enter the roadway. Other motorists approaching the areas are often unable to see you and are usually traveling at or near 70 mph as they approach your vehicle.

  5. Make sure to pay attention to the roadway and obey all traffic laws. Buckle up. Drive safely. Have fun at the event.
(Thank you to the Nevada Highway Patrol for this custom tip list.)

For more information see transportation and exodus

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