Lonely Planet Writer

As registration opens for Burning Man, a flooded Black Rock Desert becomes a hotspot for kayaking

As Burners around the world are flexing their fingers to prepare for an online scramble for tickets, Nevada’s Black Rock Desert has been temporarily transformed into a lake and nudist beach.

Kayaking on the playa…😊 #playa #blackrockcity #blackrockdesert #burningman

A post shared by Chase Cinder (@chasendrunkenmonkeys) on Mar 13, 2017 at 4:12pm PDT

The recent long spell of wet weather along the USA’s West Coast has transformed the dry, dusty desert into a shallow lake. Locals have taken advantage of the unusual occurrence to pay a visit, turning the playa into a temporary hotspot for kayaking. A sign advertising a ‘nude beach’ has also popped up.

While the water is already starting to recede somewhat, the sheer volume of water will mean it will take longer for the desert to dry out this year. However, Burning Man, the famous week-long party that takes place in the desert at the end of August, is unlikely to be affected.

Registrations are open for 2017’s Burning Man now. People who wish to attend have to register online before noon Pacific time on Friday 24 March with tickets going on sale the following Wednesday. Tickets have sold out consistently for the last seven years and loyal attendees are finding it harder each year to get tickets as demand continues to soar

The annual gathering – which is thrown every year without sponsorship or the use of cash on the grounds – was once a free festival limited to a couple of thousand people. Now it welcomes 70,000 at a cost of over US $400 each and getting a ticket is generally dependent on a fast internet connection.

Despite criticism of the increasing ticket costs and the recent trend of Silicon Valley billionaires to attend and throw exclusive parties, Burning Man remains in high demand. Last year more than half the amount of people who registered for tickets were disappointed and similar numbers are expected this year.

In the meantime, Black Rock Desert remains a relatively calm oasis for local kayakers for now, the calm before the storm of debauchery that characterises one of the world’s most famous festivals.

Get the top travel news stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday by signing up to our newsletter.