Fly Geyser is located on Fly Ranch, a 3,800-acre parcel of land in Northern Nevada purchased by the Burning Man Project in 2016. It is an amazing site that is located about two hours north of Reno, on the edge of the Black Rock Desert. The geyser was created accidentally in 1964 after a geothermal power company drilled a test well at the site.
According to later newspaper reports, the well was either left uncapped or was improperly plugged. In either case, the scalding hot water shot from the well hole and calcium carbonate deposits began to form, growing several inches each year.
Jump forward several decades, and those deposits have become three large mounds that rise out of a field of tall reeds and grasses. The sediments are now almost 6 feet tall and are brightly colored green and red. The geyser’s trio of travertine cones still spew scalding hot water about four or five feet into the air. Scientists familiar with the geyser note that the coloring on the outside of the mounds is the result of thermophilic algae, which flourishes in moist, hot environments.
Fly Ranch is located about 20 miles north of Gerlach, Nevada (a popular stop along the Burner Byway) via State Route 34. Fly Geyser is easily visible from the side of the road and its plumes of hot water can be seen from miles away.
Fly Ranch is not currently available for public access, but if you would like to get an up-close view of Fly Geyser, Fly Ranch is in partnership with Friends of Nevada Black-High Rock who offer three-hour guided tours of Fly Ranch. The walks explore a large portion of the property and include Fly Geyser. After your pit stop to Fly Geyser, make sure to stop by Bruno’s Country Club in Gerlach. Bruno’s serves delicious, round ravioli that are worth the trip.