These Images Of The 12 HOUR Traffic Jam Leaving Burning Man Are Wild (But I Still Want To Go)

Giphy Images.

Ah, Burning Man - The annual 9-day festival ending on Labor Day each year on a dried up lake (#ThePlaya) in the Nevada desert where wealthy Silicon Valley elites ride steampunk bicycles in assless chaps, their leather fringe blowing in dust storms as they pedal over to an underground, silent DJ set/orgy inside a fake 747 built with toothpicks all in the name of art, experimentation & community, or something like that. 

And ok, the event is easy to poke fun at, but in all honesty it's a bucket list event for me. Before I die I hope to 1. thru-hike the Appalachian & Pacific Crest trails, 2. raise a happy, well-adjusted son, and 3. drop acid at Burning Man & drive my art car (ideally a giant, metal cat on wheels with a wagging tail & it shits ziplock bags of weed) directly into the sun as my face melts off. 

So seeing this part of it hit Twitter earlier this week was a bit of a downer… After all the videos I've watched & articles I've read I'd never heard of "The Exodus" AKA the nightmare traffic jam when it's over:

Sheesh, a 5 hour wait?! At least it couldn't have gotten much worst than that.

Yikes, a 9.5 hour wait?! At least it couldn't have gotten much worst than that.


Zoinks! Multiple people reporting 12+ hour waits well after the festival was officially over? Dang. Guess that's what happens when around 80K people all have to be out of there by 6pm Monday, and there's only one way out. 

They deal with that by "pulsing", btw:

According to Wikipedia

When the Burning Man ends, and the mass exodus out of Black Rock City begins, a road traffic control procedure called "Pulsing" is used to direct vehicles out of the city. At regular intervals (usually an hour during the peak periods), all vehicles are "pulsed" forward all at once for about a mile along Gate Road. This allows vehicles to stop and turn off their engines, while those at the southernmost mile of the multi-lane Gate Road slowly merge and then turn onto the two-lane Highway 34.

But even though the pulsing method is meant to help cars make it out, SFGate highlighted some of the issues from dangerous heat to empty tanks:

With temperatures topping 100 degrees, those without air conditioning faced a daunting and potentially dangerous journey.

Running out of gas also became an issue that drivers needed to worry about. Burning Man Traffic reported at 3:50 p.m. that Empire Store, one of the closest gas stations to the playa, had run out of fuel. At 5:56 p.m. the account announced that Empire had started pumping fuel again, but supplies were not expected to last long.

Yeah.. I'm not sure I could make it through 9 days of drunk camping in a dust bowl & then sit with the ultimate scares through 13 hours of traffic in the baking sun. Then again…

Totally, Jeff. It's all part of the fun!

And people did seem to be making the best of it. Look at this guy cruising on his one-wheel, checking out the sights & the views… 

And I'm sure the following year it becomes a badge of honor. 


"Oh you left early & only waited 3 hours? I made it through the longest exodus ever still tripping balls. Tank on E, no water, group of hippies that I thought were cartoon puppies at the time that wouldn't get out of my car… They actually live with me now by the way. Good people. Awesome time."

Someday it will be me saying that, God willing. 

In closing, my entire TikTok algorithm is now Burning Man stuff from super hot women in rave outfits to locals who were tricked into renting their RVs to folks who SWORE they weren't going to The Playa to people who brought their parents to experience the magic with them. (Would love to take my dad to this mic'ed up & hear what he thought…). And I can't help but buy into the hype. I also saw plenty of videos of people who brought their kids (not judging but wtffff) so maybe next year I'll have the whole fam sitting in traffic with me as I blog it…