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Best/coolest direction from which to drive into Vegas?

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by bdautch, Feb 17, 2016.

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  1. bdautch

    bdautch High-Roller

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    I live in the east. Washington, DC to be exact. My issue is, I've been to lots of cities out west, but I've only seen what you might think of as the "greatest hits". Fly to Vegas, fly back. Fly to LA, fly back. Same with San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and other areas. I haven't really SEEN the west, by which I mean national parks, small towns, desert scenery, etc.

    Which brings me to my question. I always thought it'd be great to drive into Vegas, but not necessarily from i-15 via LA or SLC. I mean, something like flying to Denver, staying for three days, picking up the rental car (convertible), and heading gradually towards Vegas. By "gradually," I mean something like Aspen, Durango, southern Utah, Grand Canyon, and then into Vegas on some lonesome road that really makes the Strip shine like a beacon of light beyond a desolate landscape.

    So in other words, a ten day trip: Thursday-Saturday in Denver, leave Sunday and head along the route I described, hit Vegas the following Thursday, and fly back to Washington on Sunday afternoon.

    If you were going to do something like this, can you share the way you'd go about it?
     
  2. MsNVegas

    MsNVegas Low-Roller

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    Our trips are mainly driving, have flown to Vegas as well, but ours isn't so scenic, as we take I-40 all the way until Kingman merge onto hwy or US93 pretty boring, but straight shot drive all the way to Flagstaff, going on hwy passing Williams AZ, Seligman, Kingman, than Beale St all the way to Vegas, for some reason I like taking Tropicana exit, going all the way until I get to the strip, as MGM and valet is just on my R side. If you have the chance to take a road trip, on the way back, go through Sedona, it might be a little out of your way, but that is a beautiful drive in the spring/summer months.
     
  3. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    Where is Ken2V to answer this question? I am pretty sure he'll tell you to fly into San Francisco, go up to Tahoe, take 395 south and cut through Death Valley. That is one of my favorite drives. Depending on the time of year, you can go from SF through Yosemite and over Tioga Pass to 395 where you can go north to Tahoe, or south towards Las Vegas.

    I love the west and have driven just about every road out here I think. Or at least, I'm on my way.

    Your itinerary would work for me. You can also fly into Salt Lake City and explore out of there. Arches, Canyonlands, Moab, Bryce/Zion, Grand Canyon, etc before hitting Vegas. There are a lot of roads that aren't I-15. ;)

    Lately, when I drive to Vegas from Seattle, I go east to Boise (where the parents live) or Twin Falls, ID and then south to Vegas. But I've been experimenting with some other routes, including down eastern Oregon and the west side of Nevada. You can't say you've seen the west until you've visited beautiful, downtown Tonopah. :haha: Or not.

    I think you need to spend some time with a map and decide what highlights you want to hit and then plan your route from there. If Durango and Aspen are must-sees for you, then Denver makes good sense. If you want to maximize your time in the national parks, there might be better options. Depends on what you want to see.
     
  4. bdautch

    bdautch High-Roller

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    These are all great and helpful points, and I appreciate them. Especially considering I have multiple friends in SF, I can get comped by CET in Reno fairly easily, and then hopefully a CET comp in Vegas. The el cheapo in me may want to make this work! :beer:
     
  5. smerrian

    smerrian Low-Roller

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    I think the best view of Las Vegas, by far, is entering the valley from the Southeast coming down from the mountains. You round the bend on Rt. 93/95 and the city lights come into view below. Just spectacular. But you can do this on any trip that you rent a car. All you have to do is drive up to Railroad Pass Casino (15 minutes south of Green Valley Ranch) which is on the way to Hoover Dam. Turn around and head back to the city for an inspirational view.
     
  6. UTE

    UTE Plastics

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    If I'm on one of my bikes I like to come into LV from the North on the ET highway, dropping down into it from Ely. If coming up from the Phoenix area I like to pass through the Saguaro forest.

    Bill
     
  7. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola VIP Whale

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    When I used to live in Cali I always got a kick out of driving in on I-15 and seeing the Zzyzx sign.
     
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  8. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Many many threads where some of us have waxed poetic about "doing" the Western road trip as it should be done.

    As to the specific question: How you come to Vegas absolutely depends on the angle of approach. If south of the Grand Canyon, you get an awesome full horizon shot coming down into Henderson. If you're north of the Grand Canyon, that's I-15. This is cool because you don't really get the full necklace effect, rather you go from absolute darkness into this massive orange inferno of light. If coming in from the west, it's either a sw-erly or nw-erly approach. Coming up from Primm is pretty basic. Five points of the compass.

    Adding a new wrinkle to my Western road trip array: Fly to Portland. Head over Hood, down through Bend to K-Falls -- side trip to Crater Lake. From K-Falls it is through the basin country of ne California to Reno. Down the 395 to the Owens Valley, up and over and through Death Valley.

    However you go, it will be awesome. And if you decide to detour through Colombia you get to experience Cali.
     
  9. MsNVegas

    MsNVegas Low-Roller

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    Is your route including Wickenburg and Wikiup lol.
     
  10. wanker751

    wanker751 Dutch Rudder Enthusiast

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    Love this way, I come in from phx a lot. The drive approaching the dam and past to look over vegas is great...
     
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  11. FullPay

    FullPay High-Roller

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    “We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.”
    -Hunter S. Thompson

    So, obviously, through Barstow is the coolest way to approach Las Vegas. (sound of dropped microphone)
     
  12. wigwam_salesman

    wigwam_salesman VIP Whale

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    Coolest way to enter Vegas, IMHO, would be in a large 50's convertible with the top down via the 15. If you're coming from Denver get off at lake mead Blvd and head down north 5th street into downtown and then cut over to LVB and head south.

    If you're coming from California take the 15 to Saint rose parkway and then go north on LVB. You could stay on the 15 to blue diamond but you'll have already started seeing the strip by that point.

    Most important thing is to arrive 15 mins after sunset so that it's getting dark on your arrival.
     
  13. bdautch

    bdautch High-Roller

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    Yeah, man...with like fins and shit. Like a serious Big Daddy Caddy or something.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  14. wigwam_salesman

    wigwam_salesman VIP Whale

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    This might fit the bill...

    [video=youtube_share;O2xsqvWhT8s]http://youtu.be/O2xsqvWhT8s[/video]
     
  15. jimboguy

    jimboguy Blubbery Whale

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    Since it runs East/West, it won't get you any closer to Vegas, but US Route 50 in Nevada might be cool to incorporate into a road trip. My suggestion would be to travel on the portion of the road that goes through Great Basin National Park. Be on the lookout for the ancient bristlecone pine.
     
  16. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    I was just telling my husband about this thread over dinner. We started talking about some of our favorite drives through the West, as opposed to driving other areas of the country. He was saying that he likes the west, because the scenery seems to change every 2 hours, no matter where you are driving, as opposed to the hours and hours of wheat and prairie in the mid-west he experienced traveling for work, and I grew up with on our semi-annual trip to visit Dad's family in Kansas and Oklahoma.

    I brought up Highway 50 as one where you go from valley to valley and every one is so different. I do remember there was one really long section and I was ready to change from jeans and long sleeves into shorts and t-shirt as the day warmed up, but there was no "rest stop" in sight. I saw a reflection from a car waaaaaaay back there, and decided to pull over, open the suitcase and change. I wasn't exactly rushing, but that car was still waaaay back there when I was done. I'm such a rebel. :wink2:

    I do love the solitude of the desert. It's part of what I enjoy about driving to Vegas. I feel like every mile that goes by, more and more of my daily life just sort of peels off and floats away. It's even better when my dog comes along too, as I have more of an excuse to get out of the car and explore around in different areas. She's got a favorite "resort" in Vegas where I board her while I'm on The Strip. She gets to play with her friends "at the pool" all day. Kind of like her mom, having "cabana day" with her friends. :haha:
     
  17. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    I've taken them all and my fave is still the first one we ever did - the approach north of Las Vegas on I-15 at nighttime. As you drive south from the Arizone border, there is nothing for miles but darkness. Then about 30 miles or thereabouts from Vegas, you come over a crest in the road and a brilliantly lit-up desert oasis appears.
     
  18. waverunner

    waverunner BBHMM

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    +1. I have been driving to Vegas since '77/'78 up until 2011, then using the LUX Bus since 2012 to hopefully Nov. 2016. Coming in from LA and just over the hill you catch the first glimpse of Vegas. I never got tired of that view.
    It's like seeing a mirage in the desert. My first stop coming off the I-15 was a red light and looking at the Glass Pool Inn. The Glass Pool Inn may be gone and my mode of transportation may have changed after 2011, but the view, whether it be the Hacienda and/or the Landmark, or Mandalay Bay/The Hotel and Stratosphere will always be close to my heart.
     
  19. waverunner

    waverunner BBHMM

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    WOW, what a beauty! I love older cars that have been restored. I love watching Mechum.
     
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