Las Vegas may only be a short drive from Los Angeles, but once you’re there, you’ll feel like you’re in another world, and a road trip is perfect to make the journey even more enjoyable.

The journey from Los Angeles to Las Vegas can be done in 4 hours on the I-15 if you want to get there quickly. To make the most of your trip, you can make a few stops and detours to visit national parks, explore nature and stop off in picturesque towns along the way.

Read on to find the best routes, accommodation and activities by car.

How far is it from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and how long does it take to get there?

The trip from Las Angeles to Las Vegas takes 435 km on a fast and normally relatively empty road. You can leave your house within 4 hours for lunch and a drink in the alley.

As anyone who has ever been or lives in Los Angeles will testify, your biggest concern about time leaving the city will be. Depending on where you live in Los Angeles, this can take a few hours, and if you’re driving during rush hour, you can easily extend the driving time by an hour or two.

If you plan to leave Los Angeles International Airport by car, you will have to drive all over the city. So expect a lot of time in traffic, or avoid it by going north through Santa Clarita and Palmdale north of the Angeles National Forest.

Route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas

The best route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas depends on how fast or how much fun you are looking for. The road between the cities follows the I-15, which leads directly to the center of Las Vegas.

Depending on where you start in Los Angeles, the I-215, I-10 or I-605 will connect you to the I-15, and the journey couldn’t be easier as the Interstate Road will take you to Vegas.

For those who want to enjoy the journey and admire the breathtaking scenery, there are several great opportunities to stop along the way or make a detour to Death Valley, Palm Springs or the Mojave Desert.

Best detours and stops between Los Angeles and Las Vegas

The direct route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas does not pass through many sights – every now and then you can spend the night in one of the hamburgers, but there is also a lot of flat desert.

As you approach Las Vegas, you will find Mojave National Park on your right. For some reason this beautiful nature reserve is often ignored by visitors, but it can be a great way to interrupt the trip.

Discover Mojave National Park

Beautiful sand dunes in the Kelso Dunes of Mojave National Park, California.
The enormous sand dunes of the Kelso Dunes in Mojave National Park are an unexpected sight.

John Dvorak/Shutterstock.com

There is beauty in the most unexpected places, and nothing beats Mojave National Park.

One of the hottest places on the planet, this seemingly deserted place lives its wild beauty: from flowering cacti and wild flowers in spring to strange volcanic rock formations.

The different parts of Mojave National Park offer very different landscapes and environments, so you should definitely drive around to see some great sites.

Kelso Dunes covers 45 square kilometres of windy sand dunes rising to an altitude of 650 feet – ideal for sandblasting or listening to the sand singing its strange song.

The petroglyphs carved centuries earlier by the original inhabitants of the local caves are the most popular hiking trail in the area, where you can climb the rocks and enjoy breathtaking views of the desert.

Death Valley National Park Bypass

Death Valley is a sort of diversionary road from Las Angeles to Las Vegas, but if you love nature or just want to explore the breathtaking scenery, this is an absolute must.

The best way to reach Death Valley is to turn right on Death Valley Road in Baker towards Shoshone. If you follow it further, you’ll eventually see signs marking the intersection of Death Valley and Creek Stove in the heart of this vast national park.

The Death Valley is not only the hottest desert on the planet, it is also salt plains, mirror pools, colorful rocks, volcanoes, sand dunes and even wild flowers in spring.

To make the most of your trip, spend the night in Las Vegas rather than rushing to the hotel. Death Valley Hostel is the perfect place to relax in an oasis in the heart of Death Valley.

This luxury hotel has been popular with Hollywood guests for decades and features excellent restaurants, a spring pool and lush green lawns. You’ll be forgiven if you forget you’re in the middle of an inhospitable desert.

The Death Valley Inn offers incredible comfort in a green oasis in the middle of the desert.
Death Valley Lodge is the best place to stay and explore the national park.

Travel collection © Xanterra Travel collection

Stage route through Palm Springs and Yeshua Tree National Park

Another interesting alternative to driving to Las Vegas is to drive east and spend some time in Palm Springs and the Joshua Tree National Park before entering the Colorado River.

This route takes about 7-8 hours – almost twice as long as the direct route, but in return you’ll definitely add some great scenery.

Palm Springs is a renowned luxury resort in the Coachella Valley, between the San Jacinto Mountains and the Mojave Desert, known for its warm and sunny climate all year round.

The Sparrows Lodge combines a comfortable ranching atmosphere with impeccable service, making it one of the favourites in Palm Springs. From the chilled pool to the large restaurant – everything you need to relax after a walk.

Yeshua Tree National Park is the beginning of the Mojave Desert, which stretches to Las Vegas and beyond. It is named after the unique, humanoid trees that can be found everywhere, and there are several great hiking trails in the park.

Stop at Lake Havasu on your way to Las Vegas and look at the Old London Bridge. Yeah, it’s true. This bridge was dismantled in the 1970s and moved from London to its new location.

Sunset around the mountains in Yeshua Tree National Park, California.
Yeshua Tree National Park is ideal for walking sooner or later in the day to avoid the intense heat.

FrankDeBonis/Shutterstock.de

What to see on a trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas

To interrupt your desert trip, take the time to make a few stops and enjoy some sights along the way.

Of course, you won’t pass through big cities or tourist attractions, but there are more unusual places where you can stretch your legs along the way.

  • Mormon Rocks: The nearest stop in Los Angeles allows you to get up early and start the day on foot. Explore the characteristic sandstone hills or take a kilometre and a half interpretive path and look out for claws and winged residents.
  • California Highway 66 Museum: Route 66 is one of America’s most famous highways, the iconic American Road, and the museum immerses you in its glorious past with memorabilia such as a 1950s restaurant, old road signs, cars and general nostalgic attributes.
  • D’Vine Vin Bar: Okay, if you leave Los Angeles at 8 a.m., a dish of cheese and wine might be a little early in the day, but it’s a great place to visit if you’re traveling backwards.
  • Ranch with Elmer bottle trees: Sights along the way are an important part of a classic car trip. Check the box during a visit to the tree garden, made of old bottles attached to metal tubes, which create a brilliant fusion of light and colour. Why would they do that? Nobody knows, but it’s definitely fun to watch.
  • Ghost town Calico: History has been preserved in the old mining town, which was abandoned in the 1890s and restored in the 1950s. The ghost town of Calico has few ghosts, but it wants to bring you a piece of American history, teach you about mining and spend some time searching for gold.
  • Snack Peggy Sue: Peggy Sues, built in the fifties, is a real snack bar from the fifties that preserves and serves food the way it used to be. Burgers, cakes and milkshakes are the order of the day in a traditional bakery that you can fill with delicacies along the way.
  • Crazy Greece Cafe: is located in Baker, just 90 miles from Las Vegas, an iconic restaurant known for its authentic Greek cuisine and enthusiastic tribute to traditional Greek design. Don’t forget to visit the 134 metre high thermometer (yes, the highest in the world), a monument to the scorching heat of nearby Death Valley.
  • Pioneer show: This cowboy saloon, a snapshot from the past, is often visited by celebrities and can be seen in several of his films.
  • Seven magical mountains: Only 15 miles from Las Vegas, you can succumb to the temptation and miss it completely, but we insist that you take the time to visit this art facility. More confusing than the decision to build seven piles of colored stones in the desert is the fact that it is the most popular stop between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, visited by more than 1000 people every day. The Snap is a requirement for a gram.

An old saloon in the abandoned mining town of Calico, California.
The ghost town of Calico was abandoned in 1907 to become a silver mining colony and is a fascinating place to visit.

Max Ershov/Shutterstock.com

Best time to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas

There’s no bad time for a road trip between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, but if you don’t like the heat, consider the summer temperatures – especially if you’re planning to visit the Yeshua Tree, Mojave National Park or Death Valley.

Las Vegas is a desert city where it often freezes 100 degrees. No one comes to Vegas to relax in the great outdoors, but even a walk from the hotel to the shopping mall or casino can be torture if you bend over twice in the sun.

Did you know it can snow in the desert? This can happen in Nevada, and the roads between cities can be dangerous. So check for snow when you drive in winter. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit the city of sin and see the sights along the way.

When you want to leave, pack carefully and bring extra food and water. Despite the many stops along the way, a breakthrough in the desert without water in every season is an unpleasant event.

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