Traffic is one of the biggest nightmares at Burning Man. When you finally arrive at the tiny town of Gerlach, Nevada – your last place to stock up on gas and supplies before you hit the Playa – you still have a wait of many hours ahead of you before you get into the event. You will sit in a long line of vehicles in a single lane heading to the event, there is no need to overtake because you’re all going to be waiting for a long time once you get there. Once you turn off the blacktop and onto the dust, you are still miles and hours away from Burning Man. There is a separate area for Will Call, I suggest you keep right if you need to go there but you don’t have to. You have to make it past the inspection checkpoint (people boarding your vehicle and searching it, they won’t search for your drugs, but there are police with drug sniffer dogs walking outside vehicles parked in the line), past the greeters (people making newbies ring a bell and roll in the dust), slowly drive along the access road to the city, then find your camp. Pro tip: the higher the letter of the road, the longer it takes to drive along it. So if you’re camped at 10 & D, it will be faster to drive to A, drive along that to 10, then drive back up to D, than it would be to drive along the outer road of L or M. Speed is limited to 10 MPH on the Gate Road, then 5 MPH for all vehicles in Black Rock City, for dust reasons as well as for safety.
People have been asking us when is the best time to arrive to minimize the hours in the queue. The rules have changed so that the gates open at 10am Sunday now, so there is no historical data to use for this decision. Your guess is as good as mine! Please report back to us with your experiences. We’re @burnersdotme on Twitter, #burners.
This year, BMOrg are making more of an effort to keep the community informed about traffic conditions. Their official radio station, BMIR 94.5, will be broadcasting updates at the top of each hour. You can get the signal before you are near the event from iHeart.com, you can download the iHeartRadio app to your smartphone. You can also follow the traffic on Twitter @BManTraffic.
As well as Burning Man’s own rideshare board, BMOrg have teamed up with commercial ride-sharing companies Zimride and Amovens to facilitate trips. You can also arrive by bus or plane.
Want to know what the traffic situation is on Highway 447 or the wait time at the Gate? Beginning Sunday, August 24, we will begin broadcasting hourly traffic reports on BMIR 94.5 at the top of the hour. We’re aggregating real-time traffic information from Nevada Highway Patrol, Nevada Department of Transportation and our eye in the sky (ok, an IP traffic-cam on Poito Peak) to give you up-to-the-minute details on the drive to the event.
BMIR will be streaming via iHeartRadio again this year. You can download the app and tune in on your mobile device before entering the communications dead zones north of Wadsworth and south of Cedarville for a no-snark traffic update. Long wait time? Consider sitting tight until the back up lessens.
Wait? You want more? We’ll also be providing real-time traffic updates via Twitter. Just follow @BManTraffic.
BMIR will also begin reporting Exodus wait times and highway traffic reports onSaturday, Sept. 1 through Tuesday, Sept. 2.
Communication dead zones is an interesting concept. When I went to Juplaya a couple of years ago there was full signal on the Playa, and none of the 6 people in our group noticed any dead zones on the journey from Reno. Not that we were really looking, but it was strange when the same phones and carriers no longer got signal on the Playa later in the year at Burning Man. Do They use that spectrum for different purposes during the event?
This year the Jackedrabbit recommends Burners get their gas before you get to Gerlach or Empire, to improve traffic for everyone.
The only good solution is for people to gas up in Reno, Fernley, Nixon, Wadsworth or Cedarville. So please, do that.
Love’s Travel Stop in Fernley are open 24 hours and have RV dumping. Not sure about propane though.
The local Paiute Indian tribe have invited us to pass through their Pyramid Lake reservation, and have asked all Burners to please be respectful:
The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe would like to invite all Burning Man travelers to its native and sovereign lands. The Tribe would also like to advise all travelers to SLOW DOWN AND KEEP YOUR DISTANCE while traveling through the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation. All of the State Routes on the reservation are two lane roads and the Tribe would like motorists to turn on their headlights during the day and night, and be aware of the dangers associated with high speeds on two lane highways.
Due to the number vehicles traveling to and from the Burning Man Festival, motorists are advised to be extra cautious while traveling on any of the State Routes that run through the reservation. The entire Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation is an open range area for livestock; motorists are to be cautious of livestock that may be on the highways. While passing though the Tribal communities of Wadsworth and Nixon, the Tribe requests that motorists be cautious of children and courteous to Tribal Members that may attempt to cross the highway, or that are accessing their homes, businesses, or Tribal Services. For more important Burning Man travel information please visit this page.