The spirit of Burning Man can be found year-round in northern Nevada. This route will take you on the same path as the annual pilgrimage burners make every August for Burning Man out to the Black Rock Desert and beyond.
205 miles/330 kilometers
Check out the map HERE
- Day 1: Reno, The Generator, Morris Burner Hotel, post-playa art. Overnight in Reno.
- Day 2: Pyramid Lake. Overnight in Sutcliffe.
- Day 3: Gerlach, Planet X Pottery, Guru Road. Overnight in Gerlach.
DAY 1: RENO
In Reno, Burners are keeping the Burning Man magic alive all over the city. Take a day to explore burner boutiques, art from the playa, and the creative corners of the Biggest Little City where Reno-based burners thrive.
Reno is home to many local businesses that have a little extra burner flair. Pop into these shops while exploring MidTown, Reno’s hippest neighborhood.
THE RENO GENERATOR | A COMMUNITY ARTS AND BUILD SPACE
The Generator is an inclusive art space for anyone who wants to make art and be a part of a creative community. This collaborative art space operates under the same creative community ethic outlined in Burning Man’s Ten Principles. The Generator is best known for the large projects they create for display (and participation) at Burning Man. The best part: you don’t have to be an artist to browse through the working gallery of things being built here. The Generator is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
THE MORRIS BURNER HOTEL AND RENO BREWERY DISTRICT
The Morris Burner Hotel is part hostel - part art gallery. It is open to everyone, but you must become a member to rest your head here. An annual membership is $50. If you’ve made other hotel arrangements, this place is still worth checking out. They give free guided tours and no reservation is required. Just stop by and they’ll be happy to show you around and answer any questions you may have.
While in the area, check out the new craft breweries along Fourth Street as wekk as the Reno Bike Project, a community bike shop that fixes up old bikes for Burning Man.
POST-PLAYA ART TOUR
Some of the art from Burning Man finds a permanent home in Reno. You’ll find sculptures from the playa, but also murals and other creative pieces while strolling along the Reno RiverWalk, the Reno Playa Art Park, and at the plaza outside of the Nevada Museum of Art.
JUB JUB'S THIRST PARLOR
Described as a Burner’s bar, Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor is a perfect place to wet your whistle while getting in the Burning Man spirit. The owners are burners themselves and they have a Jub Jub’s theme camp at Burning Man. You’ll meet some characters in this dive bar that will leave you with some pretty great stories to tell.
CATCH SOME ZZZs
DAY 2: PYRAMID LAKE
The drive to Pyramid Lake is one of the most underrated scenic routes in the state. This vast sapphire jewel nestled in the desert mountains is completely different from the Tahoe experience and a must-see while experiencing the Burner Byway.
Many people drive out to Pyramid Lake to peacefully soak in the amazing views, desert colors and even the remarkable silence. State Route 445 leads directly to a magnificent viewpoint. Get out of the car and don’t forget the camera. From this spot the Earth’s most spectacular tufa deposits are visible. This is also a great spot to observe the lake’s namesake. Explorer John C. Fremont (1845) named the lake after the pyramidal-shaped island that lies along the eastern shore. The Paiute name for the island is Wono, meaning cone-shaped basket.
PYRAMID LAKE PAIUTE TRIBE MUSEUM VISITOR CENTER
The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitor Center features exhibits on the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe's history and culture so it’s a great place to continue an adventure. Here visitors can learn how the Paiute people hold this entire area very sacred to their culture. Visitors can purchase camping, boating and fishing permits at the center. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and during the summer, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
TAKE A TOUR OF THE PYRAMID LAKE FISHERIES
The Pyramid Lake Fisheries near Sutcliffe on Nevada state Route 445 is a great place to learn about fish husbandry. Spawning season can run from March through May. To schedule a tour, call the administration office at (775) 476-0500.
CATCH SOME ZZZs
- There’s plenty of places to camp along the west shore of Pyramid Lake (be sure to get a permit first at the museum), or if you don’t feel like roughing it, you can stay in cabins or travel trailers at Crosby's Lodge.
- Crosby Lodge, 30605 Sutcliffe, Reno, 775-476-0400
DAY 3: GERLACH
The town’s slogan is “Where the pavement ends, and the west begins,” and we think that couldn’t be more fitting. Gerlach is the last place to get gas before heading into the Black Rock Desert, but there are a few other reasons to hang around main street.
BRUNO'S COUNTRY CLUB
Stop at Bruno’s Country Club for the famous ravioli. The restaurant also has homemade pies and an ice cream machine, which makes for a perfect treat on hot days. Bruno’s has a bar and mini-casino, and this is where you’ll find the locals. The staff is very friendly and is a great resource on things to see and do in the area.
FRIENDS OF BLACK ROCK | HIGH ROCK
The Friends of Black Rock/High Rock office is the place to learn about the area and pick up last-minute supplies. The staff can provide tips to exploring the Black Rock High Rock Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, plus it's a great place to stop and check out a detailed map of Guru Road.
No trip to Gerlach is complete without a visit to Guru Road. Built by DeWayne “Doobie” Williams in the late '70s through the early '90s, this mile-long dirt road corridor can be found just 2 miles north of Gerlach and is easily accessible by any vehicle. Using local stone and other found objects, Doobie crafted tributes to family, friends and local residents. Words of wisdom line the road and there are several large pieces including a weather station, a tribute to Elvis, Aphrodite and the Desert Broadcast System. Guru Road is accessible year-round and is just north of town on Highway 34 (on the left).
PLANET X POTTERY
Planet X started with just the remnants of an old homestead on the Emigrant Trail. Today, it is a working pottery studio and has four show galleries, along with an outdoor bar and picnic area. It’s 28 miles from Gerlach, but trust us - it’s worth the drive.
BLACK ROCK DESERT | HIGH ROCK CANYON EMIGRANT TRAILS NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA
Burning Man has made the Playa at the Black Rock Desert an international icon, but much more happens in this area beyond Burning Man. Wagon ruts, historic inscriptions and a wilderness landscape largely unchanged since the days of the pioneers are found in the Black Rock-High Rock Region of northwestern Nevada.
CATCH SOME zzz'S
- Black Rock Bungalow, 325 Diablo Drive, Gerlach, 775-240-2620, blackrockbungalow.com
- Iveson Ranch, 2001 Highway 34, Gerlach, 775-557-2804, ivesonranch.com
- Soldier Meadows Ranch and Lodge, Soldier Meadows Road, Gerlach, 775-849-1666, soldiermeadows.com
TravelNevada PRO TIP: While adventuring our great big state remember to travel prepared to surivive, Loneliest Road in America or not. With so much room to explore, you'll likely be covering a lot of ground. Be sure to plan ahead and carry extra fuel, water, snacks and even a paper map, and pay attention to amenity opportunities along the way. Often times, it might just be your last chance to refuel, grab a bite to eat, use a restroom or catch some ZZZ's. And hey, it might be a good idea to call ahead to check on room availability or campsite reservations and plan your gas stops prior to hitting the pavement. While you're at it, also remember that a lot of these off grid gems are in fact small towns; don't expect restaurants to be open late, regardless of advertising online or even billboards you encounter as you ramble on. Nothing beats a good ol' fashioned phone call, especially if it can curb some serious heartbreak after discovering your favorite burger joint isn't open. Nevada is an incredible place to redefine your sense of freedom, but remember that a lot of our favorite haunts are most certainly remote in the most satisfying of ways. Take advantage of places to stop when you can get 'em. Our road trip rundowns should help get you off and running, but are a far cry from every place to see and do along this amazing route. Peruse this itinerary for some road trip inspiration, and customize your #NVRoadTrip by planning ahead and building out your very own itinerary in the toolbar above. Use that noggin out there, happy and safe exploring!