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The basin and range topography that characterizes most landscapes in Nevada is best illustrated by the Black Rock Desert in the far northwest, where the ground is flat for over 400 square miles, between the barren but mineralized Calico and Jackson mountain ranges. This part of the state was once covered by a huge area of water (Lake Lahontan), remnants of which are found today at the Carson Sink and Pyramid Lake, but most of its former area is now just a series of dry, alkaline flats, of which the Black Rock Desert is the largest example. The levellest and most uniform section is the Black Rock Playa, which stretches for 35 miles, beginning just south of the small town of Gerlach and extending northeast towards the edge of the Black Rock Range (see map below) - a region completely dry much of the year though partially flooded (and frozen) during winter. Together with the surrounding mountains and a remote, historically-important valley to the northwest (High Rock Canyon), the desert is managed by the BLM as a lightly-regulated, multi-use recreation district - a National Conservation Area (NCA) - offering many opportunities for adventurous, self-reliant visitors including cross-country hiking, primitive camping, off road driving, rock collecting and hunting. The playa is also home to the annual Burning Man event, attracting 50,000 people for a week-long festival at a temporary city built in the middle of the dry lake bed ten miles from Gerlach.