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  1. Default From Chicago to Las Vegas & back, in late December

    Hi all,

    I'm not going to lie. I'm scared beyond expression to drive to Las Vegas from Chicago & back in the winter time. I remember there being a giant mountain to drive over in Colorado, thinking about climbing that thing and descending it has me shaking in my boots. Can someone give me some info on this winter drive? Past experiences? Re routing to a safer driving route? Anything?

    Thanks a ton.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    Even though this is a road trip forum, if you are that scared start looking for discount airfares, and if you need a car in Las Vegas, rent one.

    There is no avoiding mountains and possible poor road conditions on ANY route in the winter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Worth Three Hours to Avoid the Fear?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It is true that Interstate Highways are built to specifications that limit both grades (steepness) and the sharpness of curves). It is also true that if those grades continue for a while and the scenery is convincing you that you're in the mountains, even those grades and curves can be too much for some people.

    Now, the most direct route from Chicago to Las Vegas using I-80/I-76 to Denver, I-70 over the Rockies, and then I-15 down into Las Vegas, is right around 1750 miles and would take about three days, maybe a shade more. There is another slightly longer route that basically follows the old Route 66 alignment, although today it's all Interstate, I-55 to St. Louis, I-44 to Oklahoma City and I-40 to Kingman AZ where US-93 would bring you into Las Vegas from the south over Hoover Dam. That route is 1915 miles more or less and would take just under three and a half days.

    So, if it's worth it to you to spend a few more hours, and perhaps an extra night, on the road then I'd recommend that you take that alternative routing and enjoy the drive rather than being "scared beyond expression".


  4. #4


    I would suggest you start checking the extended 5 and 10 day forecasts on the Weather Channel before your departure and see what you might be facing in the way of weather and choose a route accordingly.

    While it is true you could encounter bad winter weather on either the I-80 route or the "Route 66" route the chances of extremely cold weather would be greater going across Iowa and Nebraska than going across Missouri and Oklahoma. The southern route while roughly 150 miles further would give you the opportunity to visit Hoover Dam if you never have and see the magnificient new US 93 bridge over the Colorado River gorge.

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