Driving on the Playa

Is it safe (dry enough) to drive on the playa?

You can use color as one indicator to determine when it is dry enough to drive on the playa. A light tan color indicates that the playa is dry and safe. Dark brown (sometimes a reddish brown) indicates that it is wet. Mottled brown and white is usually wet, but can be soft. In addition to color, always use the "feel" of the playa to indicate whether it is dry enough to drive on, and, if you have any doubt, get out of your vehicle and test it. For more information, refer to the "Driving on the Playa" section of Chuck Dodd's Guide to Getting Around in the Black Rock Desert and High Rock Canyon. (Several of the photos shown here are not in the guide.)

Use color as one indicator to determine when it is dry enough to drive on the playa.

Dry

Wet

Safe

Not Safe

For more information, click on a photo (below) to see it larger, with a description of what it means for safety on the playa.

On a Dry Playa

At the Edge of the Playa

Dark Brown Playa

Wet Area on Playa

Dry Playa

Edge of Playa

Dark Playa

Playa Wet Area

Playa Color Variations

Deep Tracks on Playa

More Deep Tracks on Playa

Chuck Stuck on the Playa

Color Variations

Deep Tracks

Deep Tracks

Chuck Stuck