The roughly 270 miles from Las Vegas to Los Angeles can be driven in as little as 4 hours or as many as 8 depending on traffic and route. Determining optimal drive times requires planning around rush hours, weekends, and pitstops between the two entertainment capitals.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The best times to drive from Las Vegas to L.A. are early mornings before 7am, late evenings after 8pm, and midweek days like Tuesday-Thursday.
Drive Times by Route
I-15 S – 4-6 hours
If you’re looking for the fastest route from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, taking Interstate 15 South is your best bet. This route typically takes about 4-6 hours, depending on traffic conditions and your driving speed. It’s a straightforward drive that offers scenic views of the desert landscape.
Don’t forget to take a break at the famous Baker, home to the World’s Tallest Thermometer!
US-95 S to I-15 S – 5-7 hours
For those who prefer a slightly longer but more scenic drive, consider taking US-95 South to Interstate 15 South. This route typically takes about 5-7 hours, as you’ll be driving through some beautiful desert landscapes and small towns along the way.
Keep in mind that this route may have more traffic compared to the I-15 South route, so plan accordingly.
I-40 W to CA-58 W – 5-8 hours
If you’re up for a longer drive with a change of scenery, consider taking Interstate 40 West to California State Route 58 West. This route typically takes about 5-8 hours, depending on traffic conditions and your driving speed.
Along the way, you’ll pass through scenic areas such as the Mojave National Preserve and Tehachapi Mountains. Keep in mind that this route may have more winding roads and elevation changes compared to the other routes, so be prepared for a bit of adventure!
Regardless of which route you choose, it’s always a good idea to check real-time traffic updates and plan your journey accordingly. Safe travels!
Avoiding Traffic Between Las Vegas and L.A.
Leave early morning or late evening
One of the best strategies to avoid heavy traffic between Las Vegas and Los Angeles is to plan your drive during off-peak hours. Leaving early in the morning or late in the evening can significantly reduce the amount of congestion you encounter on the road.
By avoiding the rush hour traffic, you can enjoy a smoother and more enjoyable drive.
Avoid Fridays and Sundays
Fridays and Sundays tend to be the busiest days on the road between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. These are popular travel days for people heading to or returning from weekend getaways. If possible, try to plan your trip on a different day of the week to avoid the increased traffic volume.
Choosing a less crowded day can save you valuable time and make your journey more pleasant.
Drive midweek if possible
If your schedule allows, driving midweek is another effective way to minimize traffic between Las Vegas and L.A. Weekdays, such as Tuesdays and Wednesdays, typically have lighter traffic compared to weekends. By opting for a midweek drive, you can enjoy a more relaxed and stress-free journey.
Additionally, you may even find better deals on accommodations and attractions during these less busy days.
According to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, the average travel time between Las Vegas and Los Angeles is approximately 4-5 hours, depending on traffic conditions. However, during peak travel times, this duration can significantly increase.
It’s always a good idea to check real-time traffic updates using apps like Google Maps or Waze to plan your journey more effectively.
By following these tips and planning your trip wisely, you can have a smoother and more enjoyable drive between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Remember to pack some snacks, prepare a good playlist, and enjoy the scenic route along the way!
Ideal Times for a Quick Drive
Monday – Thursday before 7am
If you’re planning a drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles during the week, the ideal time to hit the road is before 7am. Traffic is typically lighter during the early morning hours, allowing for a quicker and more enjoyable drive.
By leaving early, you can avoid the rush hour traffic that tends to build up as the day progresses. Not only will you have a smoother drive, but you’ll also have the chance to witness the beautiful sunrise as you make your way through the desert.
Monday – Thursday after 8pm
Another great time to embark on your road trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles is after 8pm on weekdays. By waiting until the evening, you can avoid the daytime traffic and enjoy a more peaceful drive. The roads are typically less crowded during this time, making it easier to maintain a steady pace and reach your destination in a timely manner.
Plus, you might even get to enjoy a stunning sunset on your way, adding an extra touch of beauty to your journey.
Friday before 7am or after 10pm
On Fridays, the traffic can be a bit more challenging due to people heading out for the weekend. However, if you’re looking for the best times to drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, consider hitting the road before 7am or after 10pm.
These early morning and late-night hours tend to have lighter traffic compared to the peak hours of the day. By planning your drive during these times, you can avoid the majority of the rush and make the most of your journey.
It’s important to keep in mind that traffic conditions can vary, and unexpected delays can occur. To stay updated on real-time traffic information, you can check websites like Sigalert or Google Maps which provide live traffic updates and alternative route suggestions.
Planning Stops Along the Way
When driving from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, it’s important to plan your stops along the way to make the most of your journey. Here are some recommended stops to consider:
Barstow – Gas and snacks
Barstow, located approximately halfway between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, is a great place to stop for a refuel and grab some snacks. With numerous gas stations and convenience stores, you can ensure that your car is ready for the next leg of the trip while satisfying your hunger cravings.
Don’t forget to stretch your legs and take a short break before continuing your journey.
Victorville – Outlet mall shopping
If you’re a fan of shopping, Victorville is the perfect place to make a pit stop. The city boasts a variety of outlet malls where you can find great deals on designer brands. Take some time to browse through the stores and treat yourself to a new outfit or accessories.
You’ll be able to continue your drive to Los Angeles feeling refreshed and stylish.
Baker – World’s tallest thermometer photo op
When passing through Baker, make sure to stop and take a photo with the iconic World’s Tallest Thermometer. Standing at 134 feet tall, this unique landmark is a popular tourist attraction. It’s a fun and quirky way to capture a memory of your road trip.
Don’t forget to share the photo with your friends and family on social media, and let them know about your exciting journey from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.
Mojave National Preserve – Hiking and nature
If you’re a nature lover and enjoy outdoor activities, consider making a stop at the Mojave National Preserve. This vast desert landscape offers breathtaking views and opportunities for hiking and exploring. Take a break from the road and immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the Mojave Desert.
Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as the desert can get extremely hot. Don’t forget to capture some amazing photos of the unique flora and fauna found in this stunning national preserve.
What to Bring for the Drive
Driving snacks and drinks
When embarking on a road trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, it’s essential to pack some driving snacks and drinks to keep you energized and hydrated along the way. Opt for portable and non-messy options like granola bars, trail mix, and fruit.
Don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the journey. Having a variety of snacks and drinks on hand will not only help you stay focused on the road but also prevent unnecessary stops along the way.
Chargers and cables
In today’s digital age, it’s almost impossible to imagine a road trip without our trusty electronic devices. From smartphones to GPS devices, make sure to pack all the necessary chargers and cables to keep your devices powered up throughout the drive.
Consider investing in a car charger or a portable power bank to ensure you don’t run out of battery in the middle of nowhere. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to have a spare USB cable or two in case of emergencies.
Maps or GPS navigation
While modern technology has made it easier than ever to navigate unfamiliar roads, it’s still important to have a backup plan in case your GPS navigation fails or loses signal. Bring a physical map or atlas of the areas you’ll be driving through, just in case.
Familiarize yourself with the route beforehand to avoid any last-minute confusion. Remember, a little extra preparation can go a long way in ensuring a smooth and stress-free drive.
Entertainment like music, audiobooks, podcasts
No road trip is complete without some entertainment to keep you entertained during the long drive. Create a playlist of your favorite songs, download some audiobooks or podcasts, and gather any other form of entertainment that will help pass the time.
Music can set the mood and keep your spirits high, while audiobooks and podcasts can provide an immersive and engaging experience. Remember to pack any necessary devices like MP3 players or Bluetooth speakers to enhance your entertainment options.
Driving between Las Vegas and L.A. can take 4-8 hours depending on route, traffic, and stops. For the shortest drive time, aim to leave early morning or late evening, avoid weekends, and drive midweek. With savvy planning, you can optimize the drive between these two iconic western cities.