Vegas to LA on small roads?
Hi, I am going to be driving from Vegas to LA and would like to avoid the freeway. We want to see some scenery, ghost towns, charm, etc., without going too far out of the way (we only have about 7 hours). Does anyone have suggestions? Thanks!
Personally, I Like I-15
Personally, I like the drive between Las Vegas and LA on I-15. On average, I do that drive about 50 times each year. Most people characterize it as "flat and boring" which always makes me glad that I am not on the road when they are (since the route crosses three mountain passes and I wonder how they could miss those grades...)
But, yes it is easy to go nearly the entire distance on smaller roads.
Departing LV proceed west on NV-160 (headed for Pahrump) and turn south on NV-161 headed for Goodsprings, (cute little town) and then proceed towards Sandy Valley where you will no doubt pass the "Unruly Kids" sign (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/signs/oldhorses.htm), the road turns to gravel, but is fine and go over the pass into Califonia. The road eventually wanders down to I-15 and you will continue south into the Mohave Desert National Preserve.
Once in the preserve, (there is plenty to do and see). For some of our articles check out: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/mojavepreserve.htm or you can wander down to Goffs (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/goffs.htm) and pick up the historic Route 66.
At Daggett you can head north and visit Calico Ghost town, although it is a real place it has been doodified a bit (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/calico.htm)
The section of Route 66 between Barstow and Victorville, is quite fun.
From Victorville you can wander south and either take CA-2 over the Angeles Crest (well-traveled mountain road) or pick-up CA-138 and proceed west to Lake Hughes Road (one of our favorite approaches to LA) and if you go that route, make sure you stop for one of Harley's awesome "Fat-Boy Burgers" at the Rock Inn. (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/eats/rockinn.htm)
This route, will take most of the day. Actually, it could easily take two full days... Just so you know, if you travel as close to the speed limit as is humanly possible and use I-15 it will still take 4-5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to LA and so you may wish to use I-15 directly to Calico, spend a couple of hours and them bomb the rest of the way into LA.
Follow the Colorado River south all the way to Parker, Arizona and then head west on CA-62. Check out the funny messages on the railroad bed right of way along the way (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/hwy62.htm)
Take a detour for a hot soak (or just check out the birds and the grounds) at Sam's place in Desert Hot Springs (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/places/sams.htm) and then head to LA on Interstate 10.