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  1. Default US 15 LA - Las Vegas

    Hi,
    Please can somebody help me?
    I live in London England and am in the process of booking a holiday in June next year to LA and Las Vegas. I am not sure if I should fly or drive up the US15 to Las Vegas.
    My problem is I do not like mountain driving or sheer drops.
    Can anyone help me by advising what the US15 is like between LA and Vegas.
    Is it flat as a pancake or mountainous as they come?
    From another thread I see the driving time is about 6 hours so guess the
    highway should be no problem but would like some help.

    Thanks a lot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Interstate 15

    Quote Originally Posted by spucar View Post
    I live in London England and am in the process of booking a holiday in June next year to LA and Las Vegas. I am not sure if I should fly or drive up the US15 to Las Vegas.
    I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas has no sheer drops, but there are three mountain passes. It is a 4-6 lane limited access highway the entire way.

    Depending upon where in LA you start, how fast you drive, and how often you stop and explore along the way, you can cover the distance in about five to six hours.

    I really like the drive, I have driven it at least 100 times in the last 5-6 years, but it is not flat. It is not a curvy, mountain road, but if elevation gains scare you -- you might be happier to fly....

    Mark

  3. Default

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks very much for the quick reply. I will be starting from Anaheim or
    LA Airport.. think it could be the airport... Just two more question please,
    I believe the mileage is about 260 miles? approximatly how many miles would be elevated and what would be the average speed on these sections?
    Would it be at snails pace or is it normal highway speeds? Are there any
    photographs on any web page that you could recommend of the views
    on route.
    Thanks in advance.
    P.S. great site, very happy I found it.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-18-2006 at 01:50 PM. Reason: format

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Flat is a relative concept in the west

    Quote Originally Posted by spucar View Post
    I will be starting from Anaheim or
    LA Airport.. think it could be the airport... Just two more question please,
    I believe the mileage is about 260 miles?
    LAX (the airport) to Las Vegas is about 280 miles.
    approximatly how many miles would be elevated
    What a westener considers "flat" and what you might consider "flat" is probably not consistent. With rare exception the road goes up and down consistently along the route. But in general terms, the three passes would be:
    Cajon Summit (4190 feet) with the valley elevation on the ocean side starting at 1800 feet (of course the airport is at about 300 feet or so.)

    Halloran Summit (4000 feet) with an elevation differential of about 3,000 feet -- the town of Baker is at 928 feet.

    Mountain Pass (4730 feet) with about a 2000 foot gain from the valley before.
    and what would be the average speed on these sections?
    Speed limit is about 70 mph -- You can expect to drive at or above the speed limit unless there is heavy traffic.
    Are there any photographs on any web page that you could recommend of the views on route.
    I am writing a guide book to the route, but those photos are not live on any web site yet.
    P.S. great site, very happy I found it.
    We are glad you found it too.

    Mark

  5. Default Very little of the driving will be elevated out of the city

    Hi supcar...

    I think you'll find very little of the freeway is elevated with sheer drops on a side or through mountains. As has been noted here, you'll be driving on a 4 to 8 lane freeway the entire length (2 to 4 lanes per side), with both a center and outside emergency lane.

    None of this will be "mountain driving" -- twisty, narrow 2 lane roads with blind turns. Yes, you'll go over some passes and go and down some grades, but its not going to be narrow and twisty. IMHO, going over the Cajon pass is about as close as you'll come. But going over this pass, the entire 8 lane freeway winds up the pass in 4 lane-wide routes (one up, one down) -- but since you can do the entire length at 70+ mph going uphill with 1 or 2 lanes on each side of you going in the same direction you are going , its not really narrow or really twisty. (But yeah, there's always an idiot or two at rush hour that thinks they are Mario Andretti -- and they worry me a lot more than the road does.)

    Once you get up into the Victorville area, its pretty much time to put to car to the speed limit, put the cruise control on and cruise... A very good quality superhighway pretty much the entire length.

    The worst traffic you'll find is coming out of LA, particularly at rush hour. If you have 2 or more people in the car, you can take advantage of the carpool lanes on several of the major freeways which are on the inner side of the freeways -- but they're not on all the freeways. The carpool lanes have limited entrance and exits, and are designed to bypass the slower rush hour traffic in the outside lanes, so you can move at 60 mph or more even in rush hour traffic. For example, if I was going from the LAX (LA international airport area) towards Vegas, I would duck south a mile or two and catch the 105 freeway heading east, which has a carpool lane and will whisk you pass the rush hour traffic to about the Buena Park/ Anaheim area (duck south to the 91 east to Anaheim). From Anaheim, the 57 freeway has the carpool lane north to the 60 freeway, which then has a good carpool lane heading east all the way to the 15. Just don't drive over the solid double-double-lines which denote the carpool lanes to enter or exit the carpool lane. The fine is substantial -- like $400 if you get caught doing that. You'll see entrances and exits to the carpool lanes about every mile or so.

    Added comment
    http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist8/tmc/Cam31.jpg is a picture of the current traffic conditions on the Cajon Pass. It'll give you an idea of the road you'd be traveling.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Default The Baker Grade & Mountain Pass

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    IMHO, going over the Cajon pass is about as close as you'll come.
    Due to the skill of the CalTrans engineers, two of the most remarkably steep passes in the west appear to many (like yourself) as non-events. But to anyone who has ever driven a heavy and/or large vehicle up the Baker grade or down the road from Mountain Pass to state line -- you might be surprised to hear what we think about these grades. The Cajon Canyon route is actually the most gentle of the three passes in terms of rate of climb. Devore which is the town on the western side of the pass is at 2200 feet and so the long curving highway only cliimbs 1,990 feet whereas, the Baker Grade is a constant and long pull from Baker, climbing nearly 3075 feet. Likewise the seemingly gentle descent from Mountain Pass to the border town of Primm is very steep. But it is true, that in most passenger cars, very few drivers have any perception for the true engineering genius that allows us to so easily climb past and beyond these natural obstacles.

    Having driven this road, scores of times, I know all the spots where careless drivers have found themselves in trouble, but thousands of vehicles use this road ever day with nary any form of a mishap.

    Mark

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