Driving Directions

Route 4

Route 4: Get Out of Town, Stay Out of Town
Seattle, Yakima, Bend, La Pine, Lakeview, Alturas, Cedarville, Gerlach via:
I-90, I-82, US-97, OR-31, US-395, CA-299, CA/NV-447

Pros: Although not the shortest route, it is by far the fastest route with the least amount of traffic congestion. You skip all of I-5 and the commuter traffic between Everett, WA and Bend, Oregon. Very few mountain passes, no commuter traffic and nice hot springs.
Cons: Very few services between Columbia River and Madras and La Pine and Lakeview.

Overview: This route takes you over I-90 and completely skips I-5 and all of the traffic. If you are towing a trailer, taking a fully loaded vehicle or just nervous how your car will do on a pass, this is a great route to take since you hit your first pass right away and there are plenty of places to get vehicles serviced along the way. It's a great route for anyone in Western Washington, British Columbia and if you are already in Eastern Washington, it's much faster than taking US-395 south. The route through the Cascades is very scenic and the area south of Yakima through the Columbia Gorge is worthy of the journey. The drive across central Oregon is remote and beautiful. Summer Lake Hot Springs in Paisley is a great meeting place for Burners along the way.

Estimated route time & distance:
Seattle to Gerlach, NV
Distance: 685 mi.
Driving time: 13 hours

Seattle to Yakima, WA
Distance: 144 mi.
Driving time: 2.25 hours
I-90, US-97, I-82

Gas stations are open the entire route and just about any service you need is available all the way to Yakima. We strongly encourage you to tank up in Yakima, since there are no service stations between

Yakima to Biggs, OR
Distance: 83 mi.
Driving time: 1.5 hours
I-82, US-97

Take I-82/US-12 towards Richland, WA until you get to Exit 50, Toppenish, WA. There are no services between Toppenish and Goldendale, a distance of 51 miles. Biggs a small town full of truck stops on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. I recommend that if you need to top off fuel, this is the best place and possibly the only open place until you get to Madras (94 miles).

Biggs to La Pine, OR
Distance: 166 mi.
Driving time: 3 hours

Bend is the last city where you can find most services it is 100 miles from Biggs.

La Pine to Lakeview, OR
Distance: 145 mi.
Driving time: 4.5 hours
US-97, OR-31, US-395

After fueling up in La Pine, you head east through Oregon on the second most desolate stretch of the trip. You pass through some wonderful country during the day and by night, well, have your windshield fluid topped off because you will pass through swarms of bugs that are unbelievable. Also, watch for animals on the roadway such as deers, cows and of course, skunks.

Lakeview, OR to Cedarville, CA
Distance: 65 mi.
Driving time: 2 hours
US-395, CA-299, CA-447

Gas prices are on average 17 cents higher per gallon in California than Oregon. We highly recommend that you completely top off before leaving Lakeview. There is one gas station south of town that closes around 10:00 PM and no other that is regularly open until Alturas. This is where you face the Cedarville Pass. It is 6305 ft and there is no other alternative. Check your water and if driving with a trailer, be courteous to other drivers going up the pass who may be able to pass you. If you ride your brakes going down the pass, they can easily overheat and catch fire. Instead, Downshift.

Cedarville, CA to Gerlach, NV
Distance: 83 mi.
Driving time: 2 hours

This is the most desolate stretch of the journey. The only business along the way between Cedarville and Gerlach is the small store and Post Office in Eagleville, Planet X Pottery a few miles outside of Gerlach and thats it. There is almost no houses and I do not know if the ones along the route are occupied or not. One mile before you reach Gerlach, there is a short road that allows you to cross directly to NV-34 and skip Gerlach entirely.

Gerlach, to Burning Man
Distance: 11 mi.
Driving time: 20 minutes
NV-447, NV-34

We can't emphasize this enough, when in Gerlach and the surrounding suburbs, drive below the speed limit. You will see more police officers in Gerlach than you saw during your entire journey. They have no problem writing tickets for any offense. However, it has been our experience that the officers will treat you with the same amount of respect that you show them. So our advice is to be courteous to the locals an participants alike. I hate to be preachy, but anything you do reflects on the festival as a whole.

I like to encourage people to fuel up completely before entering the event. In 2012, we can expect 60,000 people braving Exodus and most of those will leave on Monday. Even if you left at 6:00am, you can expect a 4-8+ hour wait in line before you hit NV-34. It is very wise to consider fueling up your vehicle before you get to Burning Man. I personally recommend a stop at the Empire Store. However, if you hit Cedarville, perhaps consider purchasing an extra five gallons of fuel, just in case. Optimally, you would have enough fuel in your vehicle to make it to Burning Man, wait to get in, wait to leave and make it back to Cedarville and skip any gas lines at Bruno's or Empire Store.

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Feel free to print out any of this information to help friends get to Black Rock City. Or if you use it to explore the Pacific Northwest. It's a beautiful area, go explore it. If you find the information useful, thank me, tell me some stories and buy me a frosty beverage. Hosting by GetWally