If you are embarking ~ above a mountain Francisco to ras Vegas drive, the most straight route is 8.5 hrs of mind-numbing interstate and asphalt. Yet the direct means isn’t constantly the finest way. If you’re ready to leaving really early, or include on part days, you deserve to break up her drive with some cool stop that discover California’s natural wonders and singular historical sites.

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We room nothing if not helpful here at California Crossings, so we have options for you. This overview will offer you four different routing ideas which will acquire you from san Francisco to ras Vegas…eventually. They every have an extremely different stops, and each has actually its own special season, yet they all offer spectacular scenery. In fact, some of these paths make our list of California’s most scenic drives, which you should certainly check out for future roadway trips.

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


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Prepare for Your san Francisco to las Vegas Drive

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

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

You’ll conference both California State Parks and National Parks on this SF to vegas driving itineraries. So, look at into getting the yearly California State Parks Poppy pass (which is $125 and great at practically all CA state parks). Yet California also has 11 other discounted passes, so usage our overview tofind a park passthat is ideal for you.

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


Google Maps is fine and also all yet sometimes one old institution map is much better for detect backroads and byways. We love the Benchmark California roadway Atlas. It has actually 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 faster SF to ras Vegas Route

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

Routing & Stops

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

Taking I-5 and I-15 may be the fastest method to drive from mountain Francisco to ras Vegas, yet 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 also still have actually time to acquire into las vegas for a nightcap. The adhering to stops are either best on the course or a slim detour.

Visit Colonel Allensworth State Park in the main Valley. This tiny known historical town was a society experiment emerged in 1917 by Allensworth, who was a fine respected african American civil battle veteran. His vision was to build a town specifically for afri Americans where they would certainly seek financial prosperity and control their destinies. The park mirrors an interesting side of California background and you can cover the in an hour.

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

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

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

Kings Canyon national Park.

#2: SF to las Vegas with the Sequoias

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

Routing & Stops

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

Sequoia nationwide Park is well known for their huge Sequoia trees and Kings Canyon is the deepest canyon in north America. The park planners because that Sequoia and Kings Canyon nationwide Parks very thoughtfully planned a scenic route connecting the 2 parks. The Generals Highway consists the best-of Sequoia nationwide Park and Highway 180 consist of the best-of majesties Canyon.

You could simply bomb with the General’s Highway and do a fast scenic tourism of Sequoia nationwide Park. But— there are tons of look-outs, hikes and also redwood groves to explore. Drive the queens Canyon roadway to Zumwalt meadow for a hike. Then twin back to the General’s Highway and also enter Sequoia nationwide Park. Be sure to stop at the General provide tree, which is just one of the oldest living tree in the world. Then gain in some views at Morro Rock.

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

The Alabama Hills.

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

Active drive Time: 10.5 hoursMiles: 590When come Go: May/June v November# that Stops: 7


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

This isn’t a good routing for the winter, because Tioga pass is always closed throughout the snowy months and the road conditions on upper Highway 395 have the right to be tricky. However once Tioga opens up (and specifically in the fall), this is a wonderful San Francisco to las Vegas drive. The purpose of use on this route is is much shorter than her other options and the see are much better. There are so numerous stops follow me Highway 395, we’ve written a whole 5 day itinerary for it.

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

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

John Muir

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

Spend the night in Bishop, where you’ll find a wide range of lodging and a many food options– we preferred the Mountain Rambler Brewery for beer and burgers. In the morning, stop right into the Schaat’s Bakkery, since they have actually amazing breads and also sweets. Climate visit the Laws railroad Museum, i beg your pardon is a remarkably reality replica town that represents this an ar in the early on 1900’s. Once you get down to Lone Pine, take a drive into the Alabama Hills for the 1-mile Mobius Arch trail and some cool red rocks.

This routing will take you v northern fatality Valley to Beatty Nevada. In Stovepipe Wells, stop 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 las Vegas via fatality Valley

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

Routing & Stops

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

This san Francisco to ras Vegas routing is a perfect a winter drive. The takes benefit of the heat desert weather, which is always the finest time to visit fatality Valley. Favor the east Sierras, there’s likewise a lot of to perform in fatality Valley. If you can spare two nights in the park, usage our 2-day death Valley itinerary and our hotel guide to construct your trip.

f friend only have one night come spare, usage our fatality Valley-to-Las vegas day pilgrimage guide. It has actually a quickie tour of the park with several routing choices to ras Vegas. If you are planning this drive together a one method car rental from san Francisco, ras Vegas is actually the the next airport to death Valley.

This routing take away you through Ridgecrest, but before you obtain there, stop into Red absent Canyon State Park. The short 1.5 mile Hagen Canyon trail is ideal off the road and also has lover red rocks of the type you’d discover in Utah. Hit up Ballarat Ghost town, which provided to be an old mining it is provided stop and hang out for creepy Charles Manson. Prevent 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 together it’s really limited, or usage our camping guide. It’s just 2.5 hrs to ras Vegas from death Valley, for this reason if you obtain up early, you have the right to see fairly a little bit of the park. Obtain up in ~ dawn for Zabriskie Point, climate head down 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 mountain Francisco to ras Vegas driving course you take, be sure to have fun in Vegas. You deserve to keep top top going with the nature theme and also visit Red Rocks State Park or go all in with the kitsch and also explore vintage downtown ras Vegas. Gain your roadway trip, and also in the immortal words of Elvis– ““Viva ras Vegas v your neon flashin’ and also your one eight bandits crashin’.”

Happy trails!

Highway 395 in the Fall.

More California Road pilgrimage Ideas

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