HESPERIA — As local schools prepare to conduct graduation ceremonies at the spacious San Manuel Amphitheater in Glen Helen, a little planning is good for the trip down the Cajon Pass.

With Sultana, Hesperia and Oak Hills high schools conducting commencement ceremonies Tuesday thru Thursday, and thousands of family and friends making the roughly 25-mile trip down to San Bernardino from the High Desert, here are some recommendations.

When to leave:

Traveling through the Cajon Pass is always an adventure and an accident or someone changing a tire can grind traffic to a halt. Each graduation ceremony begins at 6 p.m., so plan on leaving the Victor Valley no later than 4 p.m. Leaving earlier gives you a better chance for a parking spot closer to the entrance and a seat closer to the stage.

How to get there:

There are two traditional freeway routes from the Victor Valley to the amphitheater, located at 2575 Glen Helen Pkwy.

Commuters can take Interstate 15 south to Interstate 215 south, exit Devore Road, which transitions to Glen Helen Pkwy. Drivers can also take Interstate 15 south toward Ontario and exit Glen Helen Pkwy. Commuters can also use Highway 138 to access Interstate 15.

What to bring:

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so bring your camera or video recorder and lots of batteries. If you’re shooting with a tablet or phone, bring a charger. Bring a book or something that will entertain you while you wait, and don't forget the graduation gifts.

What to wear:

Check the weather and dress accordingly. Wear comfortable shoes as most parking is located in an open field and quite a distance from the main gate.

Gift Tips:

Balloons, stuffed animals, cards and flowers are the norm. Balloons have been known to pop while being transported through the Cajon Pass.

Other Tips:

Arrange an after-the-ceremony meeting place inside the amphitheater with your graduate. Exiting the venue and parking lot will take some time, so plan accordingly.

Check sanbernardinoamphitheater.com for seating charts, maps and event rules.

Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.