Want to know all the best stops on the impressive LA to Vegas drive? From bottle art work to saloons on the highway, here are the places, distances and timings you need to know.
You could spend days exploring the 5-hour, 300 mile journey on the iconic Highway 15 road trip from Los Angeles to Vegas.
Chock-full of beautiful landscapes, quirky displays, original gas stations, and good road trip food, the LA Vegas drive is a memorable one. And today we’ve included our must-stop detours for your LA to Vegas drive.
Driving from Vegas to LA? No problem! Start at the bottom and go up.
Los Angeles to Las Vegas drive
See the road trip using this LA to Vegas road trip link. As you can see on the map below, it’s 8 hours 38 direct, but why would you want to do that when you can pop into all these cool spots on the LA to Vegas drive?!
So, for the LA to Vegas drive you’ll start in LA. There are so many great things to do here, if you need some inspiration check out my posts on the LA to the Bay tour, the best California day trips and the coolest things to do in Palm Springs too.
If you have time before this road trip, then how about driving from San Francisco to LA on the Pacific Coast Highway first?
Right, finished with LA? Let’s get started on the coolest spots on the drive from LA to Vegas then, shall we?
1. Mormon Rocks
- Distance: 65 miles
- Time: 1 hour 20 minutes from LA
Just outside of Los Angeles, you won’t want to miss the towering sandstone formations that line the highway on the LA to Vegas Drive.
Pull over and spend at least 20 minutes walking the mile-long Mormon Rocks Interpretive Trail, where you can get up close to learn about the odd-shaped formations. Keep your eye out for local birds and reptiles too. This is a popular spot for hiking if you have time, and water.
2. Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch
- Distance: 97.6 miles from LA
- Time: 1 hour 39 minutes from LA
You won’t be driving for long before you’ll want to take another short detour to Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. Thousands of colored glass bottles form trees in this unique outdoor experience. Take lots of pictures and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet Elmer and learn about his art process too.
Visit on a breezy day and you’ll hear the musical drama that is Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.
If you’re looking for something super unique to do on your Los Angeles to Las Vegas drive, this is the stop for you.
3. Calico Ghost Town
- Distance: 136 miles from LA
- Time: 2 hours 23 minutes from LA
If you love exploring abandoned towns, you’ll want to stop here at Calico Ghost Town on the LA to Vegas Drive. This mountainside mining town was left in the 19th century and is now a tourist attraction.
Pay a small fee to explore, and check out the Mystery Shack, full of optical illusions, including a place where water runs uphill. You can take your ghost town experience to the next level by taking a night-time ghost tour and staying the night at the campground here, great for tents and RVs.
- Distance: 140 miles from LA
- Time: 2 hours 35 minutes from LA
EddieWorld, with its giant pink soft-serve ice cream storefront, is a welcome diversion on your journey through the desert from LA to Vegas. Just off the road near Calico Ghost Town, fill up with gas: they claim to be the cheapest gas between Yermo and Vegas. Have lunch at the surprisingly good restaurant that features hand-rolled sushi and artisanal pizza.
If you’re not feeling too hungry, you’ll still love the rows of self-serve candy. Who knew gas stations could be this fancy?
Have more time? EddieWorld also has a LA Laker’s Museum that you can feel free to wander for a break from the LA to Las Vegas drive.
Don’t forget to go to the bathrooms before you go. The men’s room features urinals where video games can be controlled by urine flow. Yes, you read that correctly.
5. Zzyzx Road
- Distance: 186 miles from LA
- Time: 3 hours 20 minutes from LA
This weirdly named road is a different type of detour. Drive down the 5-mile dirt road that has inspired movies and songs to reach a palm tree-lined lake. Other than being a desert research facility for the University of California, the end of the road features a completely abandoned and somewhat eerie resort – even more of a ghost experience than perhaps Calico Ghost town is.
If you’re wondering where the name comes from, a guy in the 1940’s bought the road and renamed it ‘Zzyzx’, hoping to snag the last word in the dictionary.
- Distance: 195 miles from LA
- Time: 3 hours 31 minutes from LA
The town of Baker is a great place to stop on your journey and is full of many classic highway 15 stops. While there are plenty of chain restaurants, we recommend stopping for food at the Mad Greek. Opened 24 hours, this restaurant serves up delicious Greek food as well as some classic American and Mexican favourites.
Grab some snacks at Alien Jerky, famous for its various jerky flavors, and snap a picture at the towering World’s Tallest Thermometer before heading back on the road.
READ MORE: The Best Road Trip Quotes for Your Trip
7. Mojave National Preserve
- Distance: 195 miles from LA
- Time: 3 hours 33 minutes from LA
The Mojave National Preserve is the third-largest national park in the US, and you can check it out while you’re in Baker. You can drive through or plan a hike if you have more time. Check out the expansive desert landscape, mountains, and the largest Joshua Tree Forest.
The Kelso Dunes are an easy 8-mile drive with great views of the 600-foot-tall geological wonders. Another amazing drive in the park is the Teutonia Peak Trail that climbs 5000 feet to a breathtaking vantage point overlooking the largest Joshua Tree Forest in the world – check out my recommended spots on the Vegas to Joshua Tree drive here.
Ensure you pack your own water and snacks and have a full tank of gas before entering the park as there is nowhere to stop to buy necessities if you run out.
I’d definitely recommend you visit the Mojave National Preserve on the LA to Vegas Drive, it’s a great spot!
8. Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame
- Distance: 258 miles from LA
- Time: 4 hours 30 minutes from LA
This free exhibit is inside a casino and contains extensive off-road vehicles, buggies, motorcycles, and trophy trucks. You can view old and new cars from major motion pictures, including The Fast and the Furious. But the exhibit’s biggest claim to fame is its original Batmobile from the 1960’s Batman. You can also get free cinema-style popcorn to snack on while you meander.
Want to save money on your USA road trip? Click that link!
9. Pioneer Saloon
- Distance: 265 miles from LA
- Time: 4 hours 40 minutes from LA
Pioneer Saloon is one of the oldest bars in Nevada and was a favourite spot for old-time A-list celebrities, including the likes of Clark Gable. Built in 1913, it gives you a fun old-west style feel and hails to Nevada’s gold and silver beginnings. You can buy your own whiskey barrel – not entirely sure how you’ll get it home though!
Definitely a cool stop on a Los Angeles to Las Vegas road trip.
READ MORE: Check out my other USA Travel Blogs for some inspiration.
10. Seven Magic Mountains
- Distance: 277 miles from LA
- Time: 4 hours 55 minutes from LA
One of the most popular stops on the LA to Vegas drive is the Seven Magic Mountains monument, only 15 minutes outside Las Vegas.
The 30-foot tall rainbow rocks were intended to be only a temporary art exhibit, but their enormous popularity has kept them up for longer. While you can see them from the highway, you’ll want to stop and check them out in person. They are in between two exits of the highway.
The end of the LA to Vegas Drive: Vegas
And you’ve made it! You’re in Vegas.
Now, have fun, look after yourself, and your friends. Vegas is a crazy place. I’ve been twice though and had a great time – I’d definitely go again!
Check out my Vegas tips for first timers if you really want to make the most of your trip. I stayed at the Vegas Stratosphere which was super cheap, and very fun. There’s so much to do in Vegas, it probably just depends how long your budget lasts to be honest!
Anything could happen in Vegas. I mean, I ended up getting married by an Elvis, to Chris who I’d only met a few days before.
More on that one day.
If you’re wondering where to go once you’ve reached Vegas from LA, then how about a Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip, or Vegas to Yosemite?
And make sure you check out some of these amazing places to stop for a cheap breakfast in Vegas while you’re there.
Questions about the LA to Las Vegas drive
1. How long is Los Angeles to Las Vegas driving time?
Driving time from LA to Las Vegas should only take you about over 4 hours. With little traffic, it would be less than that, of course.
It’d take even longer if you visit all the stops on the LA to Vegas drive featured above, but why go direct when you can stop at all these cool places?
2. What should be on my Los Angeles to Las Vegas road trip itinerary?
The stops mentioned above are great references for your Los Angeles to Las Vegas itinerary.
3. Is a Los Angeles to Las Vegas road trip worth it?
Oh, absolutely! I did the LA to Vegas drive with a stop at Coachella Festival in the middle. It’s actually one of my favourite road trips I’ve ever done!
If you want to drive from LA to Vegas follow this route and I guarantee you’ll have a brilliant time.
4. What stops should I visit on a Los Angeles to Las Vegas road trip?
Los Angeles and Las Vegas each have their own amazing spots that you should visit. Between the two cities though, there’s more beauty you can witness. While on a road trip, you can stop by trails, rock formations, saloons, restaurants, and even ghost towns!
For a reference, see above.
5. How long is the flight time from Los Angeles to Las Vegas?
Los Angeles and Las Vegas are 236 miles away from each other and would only take an hour and 15 minutes by plane.
6. Is there a train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas?
Yes, it is very possible to get to Las Vegas from Los Angeles via train. There are three daily trains you could ride on, and the travel time would take 6-10 hours.
7. What scenic route to take on a Los Angeles to Las Vegas trip?
A scenic route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas also happens to be the longest route which is from Lone Pine to Death Valley. This 7-hour+ trip highlights rock formations, cliffs, national parks, and great landscapes too.
8. When is the best time to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas?
The best time to leave LA to travel to Las Vegas is from 1-3 pm. At this hour, you’ll be lucky to witness from your road trip the sky in colours and just about the right timing to enjoy the evening in Sin City.
Or, if you’re talking in terms of time of year – then summer in a convertible, of course!
9. How much traffic is there from Los Angeles to Las Vegas by road?
Always expect traffic while traveling from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. For the record, it could get HEAVY so just have a bit of patience when you travel, and get those Spotify playlists blasting out!
10. What’s the distance between Los Angeles and Las Vegas?
The shortest distance between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is 224.59 mi (361.45 km) and the longest is 270 miles / 435 km.
11. What are the transportation options from Los Angeles to Las Vegas?
Car, plane, and train are the transportation options from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Choosing the best would always depend on you. Any of the three will give you different sights to enjoy, but go by road for the freedom!
Los Angeles to Las Vegas drive
If you want to do the Las Vegas to Los Angeles drive, then of course, just flip it and reverse it and work from the bottom, up. And take a look at this Phoenix to Vegas drive too, for some serious inspo.
Hope this has helped you to plan your Los Angeles to Las Vegas drive, there’s a lot to see and some of the stops are well worth staying over a night at – but I’ll leave that up to you to decide!
Monday 31st of January 2022
We are going in April/May time and we want to find out as much as possible so we can plan accordingly