If you room embarking top top a mountain Francisco to ras Vegas drive, the most direct route is 8.5 hrs of mind-numbing interstate and also asphalt. But the direct means isn’t constantly the ideal way. If you’re ready to leaving really early, or add on part days, you can break up your drive through some cool stops that explore California’s organic wonders and singular historical sites.

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We are nothing if not advantageous here at California Crossings, so we have options for you. This guide will give you four various routing concepts which will gain you from san Francisco to ras Vegas…eventually. They every have an extremely different stops, and each has its very own special season, yet they all offer spectacular scenery. In fact, few of these paths make our list of California’s many scenic drives, which girlfriend should certainly check the end for future roadway trips.

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


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Prepare for Your mountain Francisco to las Vegas Drive

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

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

You’ll conference both California State Parks and also National Parks on these SF to las vegas driving itineraries. So, look at into obtaining the annual California State Parks Poppy happen (which is $125 and an excellent at practically all CA state parks). Yet California likewise has 11 other discounted passes, so use our guide tofind a park passthat is appropriate for you.

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


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

The Kelso Dunes in the Mohave national Reserve.

#1: The fastest SF to las Vegas Route

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

Routing & Stops

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

Taking I-5 and also I-15 may be the fastest method to drive from mountain Francisco to las Vegas, but it doesn’t have to be boring. If you space willing to obtain up really early, you deserve to make a couple of stops and still have time to obtain into vegas for a nightcap. The adhering to stops are either best on the route or a slim detour.

Visit Colonel Allensworth State Park in the main Valley. This tiny known historical town to be a society experiment emerged in 1917 through Allensworth, who was a well respected african American civil war veteran. His vision was to build a town specifically for afri Americans whereby they would seek financial prosperity and also control your destinies. The park shows an interesting side of California background and you can cover the in one hour.

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

Detour southern a bit and spend some time in the Mohave national Reserve. This is an off-the-radar spot just southwest that Barstow. Journey south-to-north v the reserve and be certain to take it a detour come hike the Kelso Dunes.

Read More: acquire the full downlow ~ above all CA parks v this finish California State Parks list.

Kings Canyon national Park.

#2: SF to las Vegas through the Sequoias

Active drive Time: 11.5 hoursMiles: 670When to Go: so late spring v late fall# that 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 southern through Sequoia nationwide Park >> Highway 65 and 58 with Tehachapi and also Barstow >> eastern I-15 to Las Vegas.

Sequoia national Park is famed for their large Sequoia trees and also Kings Canyon is the deepest canyon in phibìc America. The park planners because that Sequoia and also Kings Canyon nationwide Parks an extremely thoughtfully to plan a scenic route connecting the 2 parks. The Generals Highway consist of the best-of Sequoia national Park and Highway 180 covers the best-of kings Canyon.

You could simply bomb v the General’s Highway and do a quick scenic tour of Sequoia national Park. But— over there are loads of look-outs, hikes and also redwood groves come explore. Drive the emperors Canyon road to Zumwalt meadow for a hike. Then double back to the General’s Highway and also enter Sequoia national Park. Be sure to protect against at the General grant tree, which is among the earliest living trees in the world. Then obtain in part views in ~ Morro Rock.

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

The Alabama Hills.

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

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


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

This isn’t a good routing because that the winter, because Tioga happen is always closed during the snowy months and also the road conditions on top Highway 395 have the right to be tricky. Yet once Tioga opens (and particularly in the fall), this is a terrific San Francisco to ras Vegas drive. The purpose of use on this path is is much shorter than her other choices and the see are much better. There are so many stops along Highway 395, we’ve composed a whole 5 work itinerary for it.

As you drive over Tioga Pass, be sure to sluggish it down and take benefit of the pull-outs because that viewpoints.

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

John Muir

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

Spend the night in Bishop, wherein you’ll discover a wide range of lodging and a lot of food options– we chosen the Mountain Rambler Brewery because that beer and burgers. In the morning, stop into the Schaat’s Bakkery, due to the fact that they have actually amazing breads and also sweets. Then visit the Laws rail Museum, i beg your pardon is a remarkably realistic replica city that represents this region in the beforehand 1900’s. When you gain down come Lone Pine, take a drive into the Alabama Hills because that the 1-mile Mobius Arch trail and also some cool red rocks.

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

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

#4: SF to ras Vegas via death Valley

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

Routing & Stops

San Francisco south on Highway 101 to southern Highways 99 and also 58 through Tehachapi >> Highway 14 to Ridgecrest then Trona road north and 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. It takes benefit of the warmth desert weather, i beg your pardon is constantly the finest time come visit death Valley. Prefer the east Sierras, there’s likewise a lot to do in fatality Valley. If you have the right to spare two nights in the park, usage our 2-day fatality Valley itinerary and our hotel guide to construct your trip.

f girlfriend only have actually one night come spare, use our fatality Valley-to-Las las vegas day pilgrimage guide. It has actually a quickie tour of the park with number of routing choices to las Vegas. If you space planning this drive as a one method car rental from mountain Francisco, las Vegas is in reality the closestly airport to fatality Valley.

This routing takes you with Ridgecrest, but before you obtain there, stop into Red rock Canyon State Park. The quick 1.5 mile Hagen Canyon trail is right off the road and also has lovely red rocks the the type you’d discover in Utah. Hit increase Ballarat Ghost town, which used to it is in an old mining supply stop and hang out for creepy Charles Manson. Protect against at the Mesquite Dunes before spending the night in either Stovepipe Wells or heater Creek.

You must definitely publication ahead for any type of lodging in the park together it’s very limited, or usage our camping guide. It’s just 2.5 hours to ras Vegas from death Valley, therefore if you acquire up early, you deserve to see fairly a little bit of the park. Gain up at dawn for Zabriskie Point, climate head down to Badwater Basin for the Artists color board Drive and also either the Golden Canyon hike (shorter) or the Sidewinder Canyon hike (longer).

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

Happy trails!

Highway 395 in the Fall.

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