Black Rock Desert

Black Rock Desert Geography / History

Black Rock desert is one of the most popular geological attractions in Nevada, US. This semi-arid region is located in the Black Rock–High Rock NCA (The Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area). Situated at an elevation of 3,907 ft (1,191 m), the Black Rock Desert region covers an area of about 1,000 sq mi (2,600 km2). This Y- shaped Black Rock has 3 major parts: the playa, west arm, and east arm. It is one among the largest flat spot on earth. It hosts over 120 miles of historic trails. It is part of the northern Nevada section of the Great Basin. This region is remarkable for a variety of reasons.

  • Stunning mountains, scenic landscapes and fascinating natural hot springs in the region attracts tourists.
  • The region is renowned for its paleo- geologic features.
  • It is a popular venue for rocketry. According to the amateur rocketry enthusiasts, it is the flat lakebed and open airspace of the Black Rock desert region, that makes it the most preferred launch site on Earth.
  • It is a popular land speed record venue.
  • It hosts the annual Burning Man festival. A week-long festival attracts thousands of people all over the world. Last year around 68,000 people visited the temporary city set for the Burning Man festival at the Black Rock Desert region.


Name origin: "The Black Rock" near a spring
Country United States
State Nevada
County Humboldt, Pershing, Washoe
Part of Great Basin section
Nearest city Gerlach, Nevada
River Quinn River
Location Quinn River Sink
 - elevation 3,907 ft (1,191 m)
 - coordinates 40°52′59″N 119°03′50″W
Length 100 mi (161 km)

1,000 sq mi (2,590 km2)

Biome Lahontan Playa ecoregion
and Salt Shrub Basin ecoregion
Public use Federal lands: restrictions,
Private lands: some grant permission
Easiest access State Route 447
Timezone Pacific (UTC-8)
 - summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
GNIS ID 863276
Zip Code 89419
Airports & Nearest Airport
  • Empire and Reno-Tahoe International Airports
  • Black Rock City Municipal Aiport
Distance From Las Vegas 9 h 20 min (533.9 mi) via US-95 N/Rte 95 N

Mountain Ranges

  • Antelope Range
  • Badger Mountains
  • Black Rock Range
  • Calico Mountains
  • Division Range
  • Fox Range
  • Granite Range
  • Hannan Range
  • High Rock Canyon Hills
  • Hog Ranch Mountains
  • Jackson Mountains
  • Kamma Mountains
  • Little High Rock Mountains
  • Massacre Range
  • Montana Mountains
  • Pine Forest Range
  • Poker Brown Mountains
  • Selenite Range
  • Sentinel Hills
  • Seven Troughs Range
  • Sheephead Mountains
  • Smoke Creek Mountains
  • Yellow Hills


  • Soldier Meadows
  • Stevens Camp
  • High Rock Canyon
  • The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Wilderness Study Area
  • Massacre Ranch
  • Chimney Reservoir

Burning Man


Begins last Monday of August
Ends first Monday in September
Frequency Yearly
Location(s) Black Rock Desert, Pershing County, Nevada, United States
Coordinates 40°47′13″N 119°12′16″W
Inaugurated 1986
Founder Larry Harvey, Jerry James
Attendance 65,922 (2014)

High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area

Nickname: Black Rock–High Rock NCA
Country United States
State Nevada
Region Black Rock Desert-Great Basin
Coordinates 40°54′38.64″N 119°3′21.64″W
Area 380,000 acres (153,781 ha)
Biome Northern Basin and Range (ecoregion)
Plants Sagebrush steppe,
Deserts and xeric shrublands,
Juniper-Pinyon woodlands
Founded 2000
Date December 21, 2000
Management Bureau of Land Management
For public Open to the public,
restrictions in Wilderness Areas
Timezone Pacific (UTC-8)
 - summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
Postal code 89412
Area code 775


  • Sagebrush
  • Greasewood
  • Rabbit Brush
  • Bitterbrush
  • Yellow Willow
  • Fremont Cottonwood
  • Chokecherry
  • Buffalo-berry


  • Salt Grass
  • Salt Bush

Fauna & Wildlife Animals

  • Kit Foxes
  • Antelope
  • Ground Squirrels
  • Kangaroo Rats
  • Horned Lizards
  • Badgers
  • Rattlesnakes


  • Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis)
  • Pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana)
  • Kit fox (Vulpes macrotis)
  • Mountain lion (Puma concolor)
  • Black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus)
  • Pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis)
  • Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)
  • Yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris)
  • White-tailed antelope squirrel (Ammospermophyllus leucurus)


  • Greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)
  • Chukar (Alectoris chukar)

Eagles and Hawks (Falconiformes)

  • Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
  • Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)
  • Northern harrier (Circus cyaneus)
  • Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

True Owls (Strigiformes)

  • Western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia)
  • Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus)

Songbirds (Passeriformes)

  • Western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
  • Loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)
  • Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus)
  • Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)


  • Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi)
  • Desert dace (Eremichthys acros)
  • Green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)


  • Great Basin rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)
  • Great Basin gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola)
  • Great Basin collared lizard (Crotaphyte bicintores)
  • Desert horned lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos)


  • Pacific chorus frog
  • Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)

Lovelock Aerial Gunnery Range

Bombing Range
Country United States
State Nevada
Counties North: Pershing
South: Humboldt
Nearest city Reno
Landmark (NRHP tbd)
North area
South area
0 sq mi (0 km2)
0 sq mi (0 km2)
Years 1945-1963

Backpacking / Hiking

  • Black Rock-High Rock Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area
  • The Desert Trail
  • High Rock Canyon Complex
  • North Black Rock Range
  • The Calico Mountains

Things to Do & See

  • Camping in the NCA
  • Fly Geyser
  • Hiking
  • Historic Trails
  • Hot Springs
  • Hunting
  • OHV Opportunities
  • Rockhounding
  • Stargazing
  • Wild Horses and Burros

Mines & Mining Companies

  • Oil Wells
  • Black Rock Oil, Gas, Refining and Developing Company
  • Reuters Stock Descriptions
  • Allied Nevada Gold Corp.

Mining Districts

  • Black Rock Mining District
  • Bluewing Mining District
  • Cottonwood Mining District - In the Fox Range
  • Deephole Mining District
  • Donnelly Mining District
  • Dyke Mining District
  • Farrell Mining District
  • Hooker Mining District - In the Selenite Range
  • Jackson Mountains Mining District
  • Leadville Mining District
  • Leonard Creek Mining District
  • Nightingale Mining District
  • Red Butte Mining District - North of Sulphur
  • Rosebud Mining District - South of Sulphur
  • San Emidio Mining District
  • Staggs Mining District
  • Sulphur Mining District
  • Varyville Mining District

Black Rock Desert Images / Photos

Black Rock Desert Geyser
Black Rock Desert Geyser
Black Rock Desert Google Earth
Black Rock Desert Google Earth
Black Rock Desert Map
Black Rock Desert Map
Black Rock Desert Tourism Map
Black Rock Desert Tourism Map