If you are embarking ~ above a san Francisco to las Vegas drive, the most direct route is 8.5 hours of mind-numbing interstate and also asphalt. Yet the direct means isn’t always the best way. If you’re ready to leave really early, or add on part days, you deserve to break up your drive with some cool stops that discover California’s herbal wonders and also singular historic sites.

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We space nothing if not beneficial here in ~ California Crossings, so we have alternatives for you. This guide will provide you four different routing ideas which will obtain you from mountain Francisco to las Vegas…eventually. They each have very different stops, and also each has actually its own special season, however they all offer spectacular scenery. In fact, some of these courses make our list of California’s most scenic drives, which girlfriend should definitely check out for future road trips.

Of course, you can also reverse any type of of this itineraries and also drive from ras Vegas to san Francisco. Much better yet, perform a round trip and choose various routing in each direction so that you deserve to maximize what you see along the way.


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Prepare for Your san Francisco to ras Vegas Drive

If you require a rental car, find your best pricing by comparing all of the various rental vehicle providers onRentalcars.com.

In addition to topping up her fluids and also checking your tires, friend may likewise want to lug aroadside for sure kitwhich has things favor a warning triangle, jumper cables and also the like. These kits additionally make a thoughtful, if tragically practical, Christmas or birthday gift. Girlfriend should likewise pack aplug-in cooler, which provides your car’s 12 volt plug to store lunch items and drinks cold.

You’ll encounter both California State Parks and National Parks on this SF to vegas driving itineraries. So, watch into getting the annual California State Parks Poppy happen (which is $125 and an excellent at almost all CA state parks). But California also has 11 various other discounted passes, so use our guide tofind a park passthat is ideal for you.

You should also look right into a nationwide Parksannual pass($80). In addition to the parks, it likewise works in National forest fee areas and usually allows you to score a discount top top campgrounds.


Google Maps is fine and all however sometimes an old institution map is much better for detect backroads and also byways. Us love the Benchmark California roadway Atlas. It has actually a lot of detail, reflecting state parks and campsites and also both paved and also dirt roads.

The Kelso Dunes in the Mohave nationwide Reserve.

#1: The fastest SF to las Vegas Route

Active journey Time: 8.5 hoursMiles: 619When to Go: Anytime, but it’s hot in the summer.# of Stops: 3

Routing & Stops

San Francisco south on Highway 101 to southern Highway I-5 >> reduced over come Highway 43 south to Colonel Allensworth State Park >> southern on Highways 99 and also 58 through Tehachapi >> eastern I-40 to Barstow/Calico >> Kelbaker roadway through the Mohave Reserve and also Kelso Dunes >> east on I-15 to Las Vegas

Taking I-5 and also I-15 may be the fastest way to drive from mountain Francisco to ras Vegas, yet it doesn’t have to be boring. If you are willing to obtain up yes, really early, you deserve to make a few stops and also still have time to obtain into vegas for a nightcap. The complying with stops are either appropriate on the route or a slight detour.

Visit Colonel Allensworth State Park in the main Valley. This small known historic town was a social experiment arisen in 1917 by Allensworth, who was a fine respected african American civil war veteran. His vision was to build a town particularly for afri Americans where they would seek economic prosperity and control your destinies. The park mirrors an amazing side that California background and you deserve to cover it in one hour.

Your next stop is Calico Ghost Town in Barstow. This kitschy attraction renders our perform of favourite ghost towns in California and it has a collection of oldy-timey west buildings, a mining site and also old rail cars.

Detour southern a bit and also spend some time in the Mohave nationwide Reserve. This is one off-the-radar spot just southwest of Barstow. Journey south-to-north v the reserve and also be sure to take a detour to hike the Kelso Dunes.

Read More: obtain the full downlow top top all CA parks through this complete California State Parks list.

Kings Canyon national Park.

#2: SF to las Vegas with the Sequoias

Active journey Time: 11.5 hoursMiles: 670When to Go: late spring v late fall# the Stops: 4

Routing & Stops

San Francisco south on Highway 101 to south Highway 99 >> Highway 180 east from Fresno right into Kings Canyon nationwide Park >> General’s Highway south through Sequoia nationwide Park >> Highway 65 and 58 through Tehachapi and Barstow >> east I-15 come Las Vegas.

Sequoia national Park is famous for their large Sequoia trees and also Kings Canyon is the deepest canyon in phibìc America. The park planners for Sequoia and Kings Canyon nationwide Parks very thoughtfully planned a scenic path connecting the two parks. The Generals Highway consists the best-of Sequoia national Park and also Highway 180 consists the best-of emperors Canyon.

You could simply bomb through the General’s Highway and do a quick scenic tour of Sequoia nationwide Park. But— there are lots of look-outs, hikes and redwood groves to explore. Drive the monarchs Canyon roadway to Zumwalt meadow because that a hike. Then double back come the General’s Highway and also enter Sequoia nationwide Park. Be certain to protect against at the General approve tree, which is just one of the oldest living trees in the world. Then obtain in some views in ~ Morro Rock.

You may want to consider slowing the down with this segment and also spending the night in Three Rivers. There room a number of motels and also inns there.

The Alabama Hills.

#3: SF to ras Vegas via Tioga pass & Highway 395

Active journey Time: 10.5 hoursMiles: 590When to Go: May/June with November# the Stops: 7


San Francisco eastern on I-205 and also Highway 120 come Yosemite >> east over Tioga Pass on Highway 120 come Lee Vining >> southern on Highway 395 with Lone Pine >> Highway 190 east through Beatty >> Highway 95 south to Las Vegas.

This isn’t a an excellent routing because that the winter, because Tioga pass is constantly closed throughout the snowy months and the road conditions on top Highway 395 have the right to be tricky. But once Tioga opens up (and specifically in the fall), this is a great San Francisco to las Vegas drive. The purpose of use on this path is is shorter than your other choices and the views are much better. There space so countless stops along Highway 395, we’ve composed a totality 5 job itinerary because that it.

As you journey over Tioga Pass, be sure to sluggish it down and also take advantage of the pull-outs for viewpoints.

Nowhere will you see the majestic operations of nature more clearly revealed alongside the frailest, most gentle and peaceful things.

John Muir

You won’t have actually time come do everything in the eastern Sierras, however we indicate that you take a couple of quicker scenic stops and short hikes. Start at eerie Mono Lake, i beg your pardon is landlocked mineral lake with truly funky geologic tufas. Divert from 395 and take the June Lake Loop, which is a scenic drive that covers 3 lovely alpine lakes. Then prevent at Convict Lake for the brief 2.5 mile loop trail. The lake is famous for a shoot-out in between some escaped convicts and the posse that perused them. But now it’s quite peaceful and it has actually killer loss color.

Spend the night in Bishop, wherein you’ll find a wide selection of lodging and also a most food options– we preferred the Mountain Rambler Brewery because that beer and also burgers. In the morning, stop into the Schaat’s Bakkery, because they have actually amazing breads and also sweets. Climate visit the Laws railroad Museum, which is a remarkably reality replica town that represents this an ar in the beforehand 1900’s. When you get down to Lone Pine, take it a drive into the Alabama Hills for the 1-mile Mobius Arch trail and also some cool red rocks.

This routing will take you with northern fatality Valley come Beatty Nevada. In Stovepipe Wells, stop at the Mesquite Dunes, then bring on eastern to the Rhyolite Ghost Town before getting come Beatty.

Hagen Canyon in California’s Red rock Canyon State Park.

#4: SF to ras Vegas via fatality Valley

Active journey Time: 10.5 hoursMiles: 644When come Go: October v April# of stops: 7

Routing & Stops

San Francisco south on Highway 101 to south Highways 99 and 58 v Tehachapi >> Highway 14 come Ridgecrest climate Trona road north and also east >> Highway 190 east and south come Furnace Creek then Pahrump >> Highway 160 come Las Vegas.

This san Francisco to las Vegas routing is a perfect a winter drive. The takes benefit of the warm desert weather, i beg your pardon is always the finest time to visit fatality Valley. Favor the east Sierras, there’s also a lot of to carry out in death Valley. If you have the right to spare two nights in the park, use our 2-day death Valley itinerary to construct your trip. If you only have one night come spare, use our death Valley-to-Las las vegas day pilgrimage guide. It has a quickie tour of the park with number of routing choices to ras Vegas. If you space planning this drive together a one means car rental from mountain Francisco, las Vegas is in reality the closestly airport to death Valley.

This routing takes you v Ridgecrest, but prior to you obtain there, stop into Red rock Canyon State Park. The short 1.5 mile Hagen Canyon trail is appropriate off the road and has lovely red rocks that the type you’d find in Utah. Hit increase Ballarat Ghost town, which used to be an old mining supply stop and hang out for creepy Charles Manson. Stop at the Mesquite Dunes prior to spending the night in either Stovepipe Wells or heating system Creek.

You need to definitely book ahead for any lodging in the park as it’s very limited, or use our camping guide. It’s only 2.5 hrs to ras Vegas from fatality Valley, so if you acquire up early, you have the right to see rather a bit of the park. Acquire up at dawn because that Zabriskie Point, climate head under to Badwater Basin because that the Artists color pension Drive and also either the Golden Canyon hike (shorter) or the Sidewinder Canyon hike (longer).

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Regardless the which san Francisco to ras Vegas driving course you take, be certain to have actually fun in Vegas. You can keep top top going through the nature theme and visit Red Rocks State Park or walk all in v the kitsch and explore vintage downtown ras Vegas. Gain your roadway trip, and in the immortal words of Elvis– ““Viva las Vegas v your neon flashin’ and your one arm bandits crashin’.”

Happy trails!

Highway 395 in the Fall.

More California Road expedition Ideas

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