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The Big Circle is a caravan route in northern California that loops through several settlements including Broken Hills, New Reno, Redding, the Den, Modoc and Vault City.[1] Gecko is also included, particularly when caravans from Broken Hills or other uranium producing settlements are involved.[2]


Before 2242 the route was very dangerous,[1] but by 2281, the NCR's expansion northwards made it considerably safer.

Year Served settlements
2241 Broken HillsNew RenoReddingThe DenModocVault CityGecko
2281 New RenoReddingThe DenModocVault CityArroyo



Existing for several decades before 2241,[1] the Big Circle is one of the most profitable trade routes in New California. Before the trade route was considered a safe route, it became a predictable route to be hit by raiders and other violent actors because of its growing renown of overuse by many caravan merchants. However, the rewards outweighed the risks, and many caravans and brahmin drivers braved the route despite the dangers that stalk the paths.[1]

There are many caravans on the trail, differing vastly in equipment, weapons and carried goods. By far the poorest are traders from the Den, usually traveling only with two bodyguards armed with knives and submachine guns, on top of personal slaves. Vault City, despite its wealth, typically dispatches merchant with a guard detail armed with hunting rifles, 10mm weapons, and Desert Eagles, clad in metal. New Reno does not skimp on protection and typically outfits its caravaneers with assault rifles and automatic shotguns, although sledgehammers are also a choice. But by far the best-equipped parties travel under the flag of Redding trading companies: automatic weapons, such as miniguns and assault rifles, are commonplace, as is rare high-caliber 14mm pistols and the vintage grease guns.

Caravans operating out of Broken Hills are well-armed as well: the merchant is typically accompanied by guards carrying miniguns. By comparison, their trade partner, Gecko, sends out ghoul caravans with relatively light weapons: hunting rifles, assault rifles, and shotguns.


Several towns have gone with the passage of time, such as Broken Hills and Gecko, but the Big Circle is still a viable route. Most merchants run the Big Circle frequently for its consistent work and pay.[3] Brahmin drives are also a common sight[4] and many caravan families have say on the running of the route.[5]


The Big Circle appears only in Fallout 2. However, while not appearing in-game, the Big Circle is mentioned by Rose of Sharon Cassidy & Ghost in Fallout: New Vegas and by Ulysses in Lonesome Road.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ed (Fallout 2):"{130}{}{When I was a lot younger, I used to drive brahmin through the 'Big Circle'... Broken Hills, New Reno, Redding, the Den, Modoc, then back here. It just got too dangerous after a while, so I settled here.}"
  3. The Courier: "There's other places to go."
    Rose of Sharon Cassidy: "Where? Like Vegas? Chewed and spit enough friends out. East? Get put in one of Caesar's little "camps?" No thanks. Head back West? I already know the Big Circle and everyone in it - 'cept now I go back there, ruined. Never really realized how small the Mojave's getting nowadays, hard to find a place to go to that's worthwhile."
    (Rose of Sharon Cassidy's dialogue)
  4. The Courier: "Why would I have brought it here?"
    Ulysses: "I've walked the East. You've walked the West, more than I have. Circle Junction. Reno. Vault City. Word of you at Fort Aradesh... Fort Abandon. Even further West than that, Brahmin drives on the Big Circle. Whatever you saw out there, wasn't enough to make you stay. Maybe the markings on the package reminded you of the road home."
    (Ulysses' dialogue)
  5. The Courier: "Hear any news from the West?"
    Ghost: "Kimball's Kimball, not sure which end is his ass or his head. Caravan families are causing trouble, Big Circle getting tense - the usual. Look, you want gossip, go to the bar downstairs and listen to a whole lot of nothing. Me, I got to keep watch, then fill out the daily log."