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Coachella: How to Avoid Traffic

How to Avoid Traffic Jams at Coachella 2007

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Difficulty: Easy
In the past couple of years, the traffic situation at Coachella seems to have improved a bit. I remember sitting in traffic over 2.5 hours after exiting Interstate 10 back in 2003-2004. It was miserable. Cars were overheating left and right (including mine). Getting out of the lots at midnight took just as long. In 2005, the wait was only about an hour and a half. The powers that be must have figured out how to improve traffic flow in and out of the lots.

Even with the improvements, the traffic still SUCKS.

But in 2006, we only sat in traffic about 20 minutes! You may ask, how is this possible? Did parking coordinators figure out how to make a quantum leap improvement?

Not exactly....

Part of the reason is that we made a conscious decision to arrive later in the day, around 3:30 PM instead of Noon or 1:00 when most people are arriving. But the biggest reason we hardly hit any traffic is because I finally wised up and did a little homework ahead of time to figure out a shortcut to the festival. It worked. And it's easy.

Want to know the best way to avoid the overheating line of automobiles that seems to stretch on endlessly? Check it out...

Things You'll Need

  • A vehicle
  • Gas
  • A map
  • The ability to read street signs


  • STEP 1: AVOID JEFFERSON, MONROE and JACKSON. No, not the dead presidents, but the streets that most Coachella-bound drivers are clogging. You can't blame them, they're only following the directions provided on the Coachella website. And they ARE the shortest, most direct routes to get to the polo fields. But in this case, the shortest route is definitely NOT the fastest!

    (These streets are labeled red in the picture.)
  • STEP 2: TAKE WASHINGTON INSTEAD. He was our first president, and he should be your first choice when it comes to how to get to Coachella. Whether you're coming from I-10 or Hwy. 111 (the main business artery that runs the length of the greater Palm Springs area) when you get to Washington, hang a right and head south. If traffic cops try to make you turn left at Ave. 50, tell them you're a local and you live in Tradition Golf Club. Keep going all the way to Avenue 52 (aka 52nd Ave.) and hang a left. Keep going straight past Jefferson (you have to go through a roundabout, but don't let it confuse you. Keep going straight!) When you get to Madison St., turn left, and you'll soon run into traffic cops who will guide you from there.

    (This route is labeled green in the picture.)
  • STEP 3: OR, TAKE HWY. 86 and 52ND AVE. If you're coming in eastbound on I-10, you could just keep driving past all the above exits and take Hwy. 86 as it splits off from I-10, and take the 52nd Ave. exit. Turn right and stay on 52nd all the way to Madison St. Turn right on Madison and you'll soon run into traffic cops who will guide you from there.

    (This route is also labeled green in the picture.)

    If you're coming westbound on I-10 (from Arizona) take the Dillon Rd. exit, turn left, then get on Hwy. 86 South, exit on 52nd, and follow the above directions to the festival.
  • STEP 4: YOU'RE STILL GONNA SIT IN TRAFFIC. No matter which way you go, you're going to sit in some traffic. But these shortcuts will likely cut your sitting in line time in half, at least. With each new year, more and more people will figure out these shortcuts... so let's just keep it our little secret, OK?