What to expect at the High Sierra

High Sierra fly-in tips

Heading to the High Sierra Fly-In this year?

First, here’s a little background on the High Sierra event. The High Sierra Fly-In was created as a celebration of backcountry aviation, at a gathering of like-minded individuals. It’s located at the Dead Cow Lakebed airstrip on private property in northwest Nevada about 65 miles north of Reno. Each year thousands gather from all over the country (and the world) to watch championship STOL Drag racing. Whether you fly in or drive in, you can set up camp right next to the airstrip. In addition to drag racing, the event features nightly bonfires, stargazing, food trucks, and backcountry flying adventures. It’s a great way to meet new pilots and share your enthusiasm for the sport. This year the High Sierra kicks off on October 12th. For more information visit the official High Sierra Fly-In website

High Sierra fly-in tips

Last year the FO crew was able to attend the High Sierra and get a first-hand account of a weekend of community and flying fun. 

Watch our videos below or read our blog


Here are some tips if you’re planning to go this year:


Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions.

At night the temps can get below freezing and then mid-day soar into the 70s-80s. So when packing, bring lots of layers. A warm jacket will get you through the cold morning hours and from there you can peel off one layer at a time. There is no break from the wind or the sun so sunblock and sunglasses are a must. And while watching from the flight line, an umbrella might be a wise choice. Then there’s the dust, this could be in a category of its own. When the wind kicks up, the dust starts flying. You’re in the desert after all. This is unavoidable, just know going in that you will carry High Sierra dust with you long after the event.

High Sierra fly-in tips

Get social!

No, I’m talking about social media (although there are plenty of video and photo ops) I’m talking about the STOL Drag community. There is such a wonderful sense of comradery at the High Sierra. Everyone went above and beyond when it came to being neighborly. From offering backcountry flights to breakfast pancakes, the High Sierra crowd is more than generous. It’s a great opportunity to meet new friends and catch up with old ones all the while sharing your love for all things aviation.

What/where do I eat?

With the recent addition of food trucks, food is a bit easier to come by. With any other camping adventure, bring lots of provisions. Be willing to share with your neighbors, and don’t be afraid to ask if they have a little extra. 

High Sierra fly-in tips

Bring cash.

Want to enjoy a meal from the food truck or pick up a souvenir? Bring cash. The desert doesn’t take credit cards. To say the WiFi is spotty is an understatement – don’t count on it!

Bathroom situation.

There are port-a-potties with water to wash hands-on site. They are in convenient locations and very clean. There are no showers, so plan to feel a little dirty – don’t worry, most everyone else is in the same boat. If you bring a camper, there is no water available and there isn’t a dump station, so plan accordingly. Lucky for us, we filled our little camper’s tank and were able to shower which felt nice after a long day in the sun.

Getting around.

Once at the High Sierra, it’s a great idea to bring a smaller mode of transportation. One wheels were popular and a great option to get from one end of the lake bed to the other. This is a large airstrip with miles of room to stretch out. One wheels, bicycles, skateboards, motorized coolers (yes it’s a thing), ATVs, and whatever you can rig up are all good options and will make your time more enjoyable. If you want to walk it all, you can do it, just bring a good pair of sneakers or better yet hiking boots/trail runners.

High Sierra fly-in tips

Getting there.

We drove in and camped so I can’t speak for flying in. There are specific directions for flying here. As for driving… that’s an experience! Everyone had a “war story” of how they got there and hopes for an alternative route to get out. If it weren’t for the sight of taildraggers in the air, I’m not sure we would have found our way. GPS will get you there, but you’ll have to drive on some rutted-out roads and desert. At one point we were following a GPS dot. If you know someone going, ask for advice, otherwise, buckle up and enjoy the experience!

Outside of drag racing, what is there to do?

While the main attraction is STOL Drag racing, there are other activities to enjoy. As we mentioned above, there’s a tremendous group of pilots to socialize, take some impromptu flights, and trade stories with. There’s a ton of space so you can bring along a cornhole set, play some frisbee, or any other yard games. Every night there’s a bonfire to enjoy and endless amounts of stars in the sky to gaze. There was even a “parade” of sorts one afternoon to the delight of attendees. Be creative, and you’ll have a great time.


Where can I gear up?

Flight Outfitters is the official team apparel sponsor of STOL Drag so you came to the right place. From officially licensed flight bags to the official jacket of STOL drag pilots, we’ve got you covered. Grab a hoodie, or t-shirt, and attend the High Sierra in style! SHOP NOW


STOL Drag bags and apparel

STOL Drag bags and apparel

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Copyright © Flight Outfitters All Rights Reserved. 675 Cincinnati Batavia Pike | Cincinnati, Ohio 45245 | site maintained by WebTec