In the middle of the Black Rock Desert, 20 miles north of the tiny town of Gerlach, Nevada, sits a wonder ripped straight out of the pages of Dr. Suess. Fly Geyser truly needs to be seen to be believed, and fortunately, this man-made marvel is now open to the public.
Fly Geyser is the rainbow-hued result of a test well gone wrong. In 1964, an energy company tapped into the hot water underneath Fly Geyser but found it totally unsuitable for their needs. They sealed the test well shut, but the lid was compromised and Fly Geyser continued gushing out scalding water. This created the perfect environment for thermophilic algae to flourish on its sides. The algae sprouted up in every shade of the rainbow and is what gives Fly Geyser its otherworldly appeal today.
Fly Geyser is part of the 3,800-acre Fly Ranch property, which was purchased by the Burning Man Project in 2016. In 2018, Burning Man opened tours of Fly Ranch and Fly Geyser to the public, and since then people have been streaming in to check out the incredible colorations of this accidental man-made wonder.
Exploring Fly Geyser
If you want to get up close and personal with the most unique geyser in the world, you must purchase tickets for a guided tour. There is a strict no-tolerance policy when it comes to trespassing, so make sure that you book your tickets well in advance.
Additionally, Fly Ranch is a device-free zone, so leave your smartphones tucked away. It’s the best way to immerse yourself in the spectacular natural beauty while you’re there.
The guided tours are conducted by the Friends of Black Rock-High Rock and run roughly three hours long. Wear comfortable close-toed shoes and put on ample sunscreen and insect repellent. The pace is leisurely and the vast majority of the walk is flat, but it can still be challenging in the heat of the Nevada sun. It’s also important to hydrate more than you think you need to when you’re doing outdoor activities in the desert.
Getting To Fly Ranch
It’s an understatement to say that Fly Ranch is off the beaten path. There are no major airports that serve Gerlach, with the notable exception of Burning Man’s airport, which is not easily accessible or comfortable for the average traveler.
It’s far better to fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport and drive to Fly Ranch. The road trip takes about an hour and a half, and is an easy journey down a well-marked stretch of highway. If you opt to drive from Reno, you can easily visit Fly Geyser in a single day.
Technicolor Fly Geyser is still not on the tourist radar, and their device-free policy means that you won’t be jostling with tons of other travelers trying to get the perfect Instagram picture. If you want to check out a harmonious and beautiful blend of man-made mistake and biodiversity, Fly Geyser needs to be on your travel to-do list.
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