Virtual Guidebook to Northern and Central Nevada
The Black Rock Desert
near Gerlach Nevada


The Black Rock Desert is best known as the site of the annual "Burning Man" art festival and celebration. World land speed records have been set here, and probably will be again.

But other than during those brief events it is a place of solitude and vast emptiness. The heart of the desert is the clay-pan playa (dry lake), shallowly flooded most winters and drying to a smooth level surface again each summer. Most of the playa and the surrounding mountains are dedicated wilderness. One particularly disastrous branch of the California Trail came through here, using the Black Rock as a landmark.



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The historic Gerlach water tank in a small park above the salt flats

(August 4, 2011)


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Causeway across the Black Rock Desert salt flats

(August 4, 2011)


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Boundary of the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Vanyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area

(August 4, 2011)


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Approximate location of Noble's Route of the Oregon Trail across the Black Rock Playa

(August 4, 2011)


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Granite Outcrop near Trego Hot Springs in the Black Rock Desert

(August 4, 2011)


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Trego Springs, dug out and diked in, at the edge of the Black Rock Playa

(August 4, 2011)


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Trego Spring was a vital resource along the nineteenth century Noble's Cutoff emigrant trail

(August 4, 2011)


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Desert pavement in the Black Rock Desert

(August 4, 2011)


Next Locality: Pyramid Lake