If you are embarking ~ above a mountain Francisco to las Vegas drive, the most direct route is 8.5 hrs of mind-numbing interstate and also asphalt. However the direct means isn’t constantly the ideal way. If you’re willing to leaving really early, or include on some days, you deserve to break up her drive through some cool stop that discover California’s organic wonders and also singular historic sites.

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We room nothing if not valuable here in ~ California Crossings, so us have alternatives for you. This overview will give you four various routing ideas which will obtain you from san Francisco to las Vegas…eventually. They every have an extremely different stops, and each has actually its own special season, but they all sell spectacular scenery. In fact, few of these routes make our list of California’s many scenic drives, which friend should definitely check the end for future roadway trips.

Of course, you can likewise reverse any kind of of these itineraries and drive from ras Vegas to mountain Francisco. Far better yet, carry out a round trip and choose various routing in each direction so the you can maximize what you check out along the way.


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Prepare because that Your mountain Francisco to las Vegas Drive

If you need a rental car, find your ideal pricing by comparing all of the different rental car providers onRentalcars.com.

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

You’ll encounter both California State Parks and also National Parks on this SF to las vegas driving itineraries. So, look at into getting the yearly California State Parks Poppy happen (which is $125 and an excellent at nearly all CA state parks). Yet California likewise 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 national Parksannual pass($80). In addition to the parks, it also works in National forest fee areas and also usually enables you to score a discount ~ above campgrounds.


Google Maps is fine and also all but sometimes one old institution map is much better for detect backroads and byways. Us love the Benchmark California road Atlas. It has actually a many detail, showing state parks and campsites and also both paved and dirt roads.

The Kelso Dunes in the Mohave nationwide Reserve.

#1: The more quickly SF to las 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 south Highway I-5 >> cut over to Highway 43 southern to Colonel Allensworth State Park >> south on Highways 99 and 58 through Tehachapi >> eastern I-40 to Barstow/Calico >> Kelbaker roadway through the Mohave Reserve and also Kelso Dunes >> eastern on I-15 to Las Vegas

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

Visit Colonel Allensworth State Park in the main Valley. This little known historical town to be a society experiment occurred in 1917 by Allensworth, that was a well respected afri American civil battle veteran. His vision was to develop a town specifically for african Americans where they would seek economic prosperity and also control your destinies. The park shows an amazing side that California background and you deserve to cover the in an hour.

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

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

Read More: gain the complete downlow ~ above all CA parks through this finish California State Parks list.

Kings Canyon nationwide Park.

#2: SF to las Vegas v the Sequoias

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

Routing & Stops

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

Sequoia nationwide Park is famed for their gigantic Sequoia trees and Kings Canyon is the deepest canyon in north America. The park planners for Sequoia and also Kings Canyon national Parks very thoughtfully plan a scenic course connecting the 2 parks. The Generals Highway covers the best-of Sequoia national Park and Highway 180 covers the best-of queens Canyon.

You can simply bomb with the General’s Highway and do a quick scenic tour of Sequoia nationwide Park. But— over there are lots of look-outs, hikes and also redwood groves come explore. Journey the majesties Canyon road to Zumwalt meadow because that a hike. Then double back to the General’s Highway and enter Sequoia national Park. Be certain to protect against at the General provide tree, which is among the earliest living trees in the world. Then get in part views in ~ Morro Rock.

You might want to think about slowing that down with this segment and spending the night in Three Rivers. There room a variety of motels and inns there.

The Alabama Hills.

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

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


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

This isn’t a great routing because that 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. Yet once Tioga opens up (and especially in the fall), this is a wonderful San Francisco to las Vegas drive. The mileage on this route is is shorter than her other alternatives and the see are much better. There room so plenty of stops along Highway 395, we’ve written a totality 5 job itinerary for it.

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

Nowhere will certainly you see the majestic work of nature more plainly revealed beside the frailest, many gentle and peaceful things.

John Muir

You won’t have time come do every little thing in the eastern Sierras, but we suggest that you take a couple of quicker scenic stops and also short hikes. Start at eerie Mono Lake, which is landlocked mineral lake with truly funky geologic tufas. Draw away from 395 and take the June Lake Loop, which is a scenic drive that covers 3 lovely alpine lakes. Then prevent at Convict Lake because that the short 2.5 mile loop trail. The lake is renowned for a shoot-out in between some escaped convicts and the posse that perused them. However now it’s fairly peaceful and it has actually killer autumn color.

Spend the night in Bishop, whereby you’ll uncover a wide selection of lodging and a the majority of food options– we favored the Mountain Rambler Brewery for beer and burgers. In the morning, stop right into the Schaat’s Bakkery, due to the fact that they have amazing breads and sweets. Climate visit the Laws railroad Museum, i m sorry is a remarkably realistic replica town that to represent this an ar in the early on 1900’s. Once you get down come 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 death Valley come Beatty Nevada. In Stovepipe Wells, avoid at the Mesquite Dunes, then carry 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 drive Time: 10.5 hoursMiles: 644When to Go: October with April# that stops: 7

Routing & Stops

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

This mountain Francisco to las Vegas routing is a perfect a winter drive. It takes advantage of the warmth desert weather, which is always the ideal time come visit death Valley. Like the east Sierras, there’s likewise a lot to carry out in fatality Valley. If you deserve to spare two nights in the park, use our 2-day death Valley itinerary to build your trip. If friend only have actually one night to spare, use our death Valley-to-Las vegas day expedition guide. It has a quickie tourism of the park with several routing choices to las Vegas. If you are planning this drive as a one way car rental from san Francisco, ras Vegas is actually the closestly airport to death Valley.

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

You must definitely book ahead for any type of lodging in the park together it’s an extremely limited, or use our camping guide. It’s just 2.5 hrs to ras Vegas from fatality Valley, for this reason if you get up early, you have the right to see rather a little of the park. Gain up at dawn because that Zabriskie Point, then head under to Badwater Basin for the Artists color pension Drive and either the Golden Canyon hike (shorter) or the Sidewinder Canyon hike (longer).

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

Happy trails!

Highway 395 in the Fall.

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