If you are embarking ~ above a san Francisco to ras Vegas drive, the most straight route is 8.5 hrs of mind-numbing interstate and also asphalt. But the direct way isn’t always the finest way. If you’re willing to leave really early, or add on part days, you deserve to break up your drive through some cool stop that check out California’s natural wonders and singular historic sites.

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We room nothing if not valuable here in ~ California Crossings, so us have options for you. This overview will offer you four various routing principles which will obtain you from san Francisco to ras Vegas…eventually. They each have really different stops, and also each has actually its own special season, but they all sell spectacular scenery. In fact, some of these paths make our perform of California’s most scenic drives, which friend should certainly check out for future roadway trips.

Of course, friend can additionally reverse any type of of these itineraries and drive from las Vegas to mountain Francisco. Much better yet, carry out a ring trip and choose various routing in every direction so the you have the right to maximize what you view along the way.


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Prepare for Your mountain Francisco to ras Vegas Drive

If you need a rental car, uncover your ideal pricing through comparing every one of the various rental auto providers onRentalcars.com.

In enhancement to topping up her fluids and checking her tires, you may also want to bring aroadside for sure kitwhich has things prefer a warning triangle, jumper cables and the like. This kits likewise make a thoughtful, if tragically practical, Christmas or birthday gift. You should likewise pack aplug-in cooler, which uses your car’s 12 volt plug to keep lunch items and drinks cold.

You’ll conference both California State Parks and also National Parks on these SF to vegas driving itineraries. So, look into gaining the annual California State Parks Poppy happen (which is $125 and an excellent at nearly all CA state parks). But California additionally has 11 various other discounted passes, so usage our overview tofind a park passthat is appropriate for you.

You should also look into a national Parksannual pass($80). In enhancement to the parks, it also works in National forest fee areas and also usually permits you come score a discount ~ above campgrounds.


Google Maps is fine and all yet sometimes an old institution map is far better for detect backroads and also byways. We love the Benchmark California roadway Atlas. It has a many detail, mirroring 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 ras Vegas Route

Active drive Time: 8.5 hoursMiles: 619When come Go: Anytime, yet it’s warm in the summer.# that Stops: 3

Routing & Stops

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

Taking I-5 and also I-15 may be the fastest means to drive from san Francisco to las Vegas, however it doesn’t need to be boring. If you space willing to acquire up yes, really early, you can make a few stops and also still have actually time to acquire into las vegas for a nightcap. The adhering to stops room either ideal on the course or a slight detour.

Visit Colonel Allensworth State Park in the central Valley. This little known historical town to be a social experiment occurred in 1917 by Allensworth, who was a well respected afri American civil battle veteran. His vision to be to construct a town particularly for african Americans wherein they would seek economic prosperity and also control your destinies. The park mirrors an exciting side that California background and you can cover that in an hour.

Your following stop is Calico Ghost Town in Barstow. This kitschy attraction provides our list of favorite ghost communities in California and also it has a collection of oldy-timey western buildings, a mining site and old rail cars.

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

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

Kings Canyon nationwide Park.

#2: SF to las Vegas with the Sequoias

Active drive Time: 11.5 hoursMiles: 670When come Go: late spring through late fall# of Stops: 4

Routing & Stops

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

Sequoia nationwide Park is well known for their gigantic Sequoia trees and also Kings Canyon is the deepest canyon in north America. The park planners because that Sequoia and Kings Canyon nationwide Parks an extremely thoughtfully plan a scenic route connecting the two parks. The Generals Highway consist of the best-of Sequoia nationwide Park and Highway 180 consist of the best-of emperors Canyon.

You might simply bomb through the General’s Highway and do a quick scenic tourism of Sequoia national Park. But— over there are loads of look-outs, hikes and also redwood groves to explore. Drive the kings Canyon roadway to Zumwalt meadow for a hike. Then dual back to the General’s Highway and also enter Sequoia national Park. Be certain to protect against at the General grant tree, which is one of the oldest living trees in the world. Then get in part views in ~ Morro Rock.

You may want to think about slowing the down through this segment and also spending the night in Three Rivers. There space a number of motels and also inns there.

The Alabama Hills.

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

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


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

This isn’t a good routing for the winter, since Tioga happen is constantly closed during the snowy months and also the road problems on upper Highway 395 deserve to be tricky. However once Tioga opens (and particularly in the fall), this is a fantastic San Francisco to ras Vegas drive. The purpose of use on this route is is shorter than her other options and the views are much better. There are so plenty of stops follow me Highway 395, we’ve composed a entirety 5 work itinerary because that it.

As you drive over Tioga Pass, be sure to slow-moving it down and also take benefit of the pull-outs for viewpoints.

Nowhere will you view the majestic work of nature more plainly revealed alongside the frailest, many gentle and also peaceful things.

John Muir

You won’t have time to do everything in the east Sierras, however we suggest that you take it a couple of quicker scenic stops and also short hikes. Start at eerie Mono Lake, which is landlocked mineral lake v truly funky geologic tufas. Draw away from 395 and also take the June Lake Loop, i m sorry is a scenic drive the covers three lovely alpine lakes. Then prevent at Convict Lake for the short 2.5 mile loop trail. The lake is famed for a shoot-out between some escaped convicts and also the posse who perused them. Yet now it’s quite peaceful and it has killer autumn color.

Spend the night in Bishop, whereby you’ll discover a wide range of lodging and also a most food options– we preferred the Mountain Rambler Brewery because that beer and burgers. In the morning, stop right into the Schaat’s Bakkery, since they have actually amazing breads and sweets. Then visit the Laws railroad Museum, i m sorry is a remarkably reality replica city that represents this region in the early on 1900’s. As soon as you get down to Lone Pine, take a drive right into the Alabama Hills for the 1-mile Mobius Arch trail and some cool red rocks.

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

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

#4: SF to ras Vegas via death Valley

Active drive Time: 10.5 hoursMiles: 644When to Go: October through April# of stops: 7

Routing & Stops

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

This san Francisco to ras Vegas routing is a perfect a winter drive. The takes advantage of the warm desert weather, which is always the finest time to visit death Valley. Prefer the east Sierras, there’s additionally a lot of to perform in death Valley. If you can spare 2 nights in the park, use our 2-day fatality Valley itinerary to construct your trip. If girlfriend only have actually one night to spare, use our fatality Valley-to-Las las vegas day pilgrimage guide. It has actually a quickie tourism of the park with numerous routing options to las Vegas. If you are planning this drive together a one way car rental from san Francisco, las Vegas is actually the closest airport to death Valley.

This routing take away you through Ridgecrest, but before you gain there, stop into Red absent Canyon State Park. The brief 1.5 mile Hagen Canyon trail is right off the road and also has lovely red rocks of the type you’d discover in Utah. Hit increase Ballarat Ghost town, which supplied to it is in an old mining it is provided stop and hang out for creepy Charles Manson. Stop at the Mesquite Dunes prior to spending the night in either Stovepipe Wells or heater Creek.

You need to definitely book ahead for any lodging in the park as it’s really limited, or use our camping guide. It’s only 2.5 hrs to las Vegas from fatality Valley, so if you gain up early, you can see quite a little bit of the park. Obtain up at dawn for Zabriskie Point, climate head down to Badwater Basin for the Artists palette Drive and either the Golden Canyon hike (shorter) or the Sidewinder Canyon hike (longer).

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

Happy trails!

Highway 395 in the Fall.

More California Road pilgrimage Ideas

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