Night view of the Strip with buildings, hotels and casinos lit up
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Road Trip From Phoenix To Las Vegas

Updated by Pat Dorri on March 1 2024

If you're in Arizona and are curious if all you've heard about Sin City is true, pack your bags for a road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas! Depending on which route you take, the journey to Las Vegas can be the ultimate Arizona experience dotted with national parks, stunning red rock scenery and charming desert towns.

The 345-mile road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas can be done in 5 hours and 40 minutes. On the way, you can visit Sedona, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Lake Havasu City, Needles, Lake Pleasant, Walnut Canyon National Monument and Mojave National Preserve.

It'll take a fair bit of planning to cover everything along the way on this scenic drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas, so keep reading to learn about the best possible routes, the cascade of beautiful stops and landmarks on the way, where to stay and the ultimate time to visit.

How to drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas

The map below shows two great route options for your road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas. Click on the star icons for headline details, and scroll down for much more information below.

* Always remember that drive times can be impacted by traffic, closures, weather and other conditions. It's best to double-check while planning and before starting out on your trip.

Comparison of road trip routes between Phoenix and Las Vegas
RouteDistanceDriving Time
The California Route345 miles5 hours 40 minutes
The Grand Canyon Route400 miles6 hours 30 minutes

How far is Las Vegas from Phoenix and how long will the road trip take?

The road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas covers 300 miles along the Direct Route and can be done in around 4 hours and 30 minutes before adding in stops.

Taking the Grand Canyon Route should take 6 hours and 30 minutes of uninterrupted driving. You will have about 400 miles of road to cover, not accounting for the plethora of detours along the way.

A third option also exists that slices through the California portion of the Mojave Desert. Getting to Las Vegas via the California Route takes around 5 hours and 40 minutes, covering 345 miles.

Even if you take the fastest route, you can stretch this road trip to 2 days, but we recommend taking at least 3 days to enjoy the beauty of this area and everything our recommended routes have to offer.

Cathedral Rock and other Red Rocks of Sedona at sunset.
Take Grand Canyon via the Red Rocks of Sedona (like the Cathedral Rock pictured) if you have time to explore.
Matthew Noll/

Best road trip route from Phoenix to Las Vegas

The best road trip route from Phoenix to Las Vegas really depends on what you're after. The quicker routes are serviceable if you want to get to Vegas fast, and the longer Grand Canyon Route is an amazing option if you have more time on your hands.

Driving through Sedona and Flagstaff on the Grand Canyon Route – on top of this being the most scenic stretch of land in the state, will give you the option of visiting the world-famous Grand Canyon National Park, really taking your trip to the next level.

You will also get to drive on the legendary Red Rock Scenic Byway to admire the gorgeous vistas that surround Sedona on this route and make a detour to Coconino National Forest.

The California Route is a great middle ground between the two other options. On this route, you can visit Lake Havasu City and Mojave National Preserve or even make a longer detour to Joshua Tree National Park.

The California Route gives you a fair bit of leniency with your take-off time, as you could leave Phoenix well after breakfast and still make it to Las Vegas in time for an exciting night out.

If you like variety, you can follow one route on your way from Phoenix to Las Vegas and the other on your way back!

Whether you're flying into Phoenix or you simply don't have your own transport in the city, renting a car for your road trip is something you'll want to take care of ASAP.

For an easy-to-compare view of rental options for your road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas, take a look at our partner site,

Grand Canyon Route (via Sedona)

Taking Interstate 17 (I-17), pass Phoenix Sonoran Preserve and Lake Pleasant, then detour to Prescott National Forest if you feel so inclined.

Otherwise, pass by Montezuma Castle and get on the Red Rock Scenic Byway (State Route 179), and drive past Red Rock State Park and Chapel of the Holy Cross into Sedona.

Continue along State Route 89A through Slide Rock State Park, and you'll soon reach Flagstaff. You can use Flagstaff as your base while exploring Grand Canyon National Park nearby.

Afterwards, check out Walnut Canyon and Sunset Crater, then follow I-40 west (along Historic Route 66), and drive through Williams.

Stay on the interstate until you reach Kingman (and maybe take a short ride on Route 66), then follow this highway and then I-11 to reach your neon-lit destination in Las Vegas.

Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon National Park, USA taken on a sunny day with the waterfall surrounded by red rock cliffs, trees and taken on a sunny day.
We firmly believe that everybody should visit the Grand Canyon at least once (even better if twice!) in their lives to admire views like the stunning Havasu Falls.
Brayden Kuakpetoon/

California Route

Leave Phoenix heading west via I-10, and follow it all the way to Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. You will soon cross the Colorado River and enter into California. In Parker, you can hop on AZ-95 to make a detour to Lake Havasu City.

After your visit, return to US-95 and you will merge onto I-40 shortly past Needles. You will get the opportunity to make a detour into Mojave National Preserve here before driving all the way into Nevada.

After passing Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, follow the interstate from Boulder City to Las Vegas.

The Kofa Wildlife Refuge with saguaro cacti and flowering desert plants in Arizona.
The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge may be part of the Sonoran desert, but you'll be surprised by the beauty of the local nature.
Brian K Harris/

Best places to stop between Phoenix and Las Vegas

You'll definitely want to break up your road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas into as many days as you can. The routes are understandably a bit uneven in terms of the accommodation each can offer, but if you're looking to keep things stylish, here are some of the best resorts for your consideration.

Marvel at the Red Rocks of Sedona

If you only stop at one city on the way to Vegas, it might as well be the gorgeous Sedona on the Grand Canyon Route, 2 hours into the drive. Sedona is renowned for its stunning red rock formations and vibrant arts community.

There are many things to see and do here, but our favorite places to visit in Sedona are the Chapel of the Holy Cross, an architectural marvel built into the red rocks, and Bell Rock, known for its striking shape and panoramic hiking trails.

Travel in Devil's Bridge Trail, scenic view panoramic landscape, Sedona, Arizona, USA
Prepare to be amazed by the stunning red rock landscapes that surround Sedona.

Although the location alone would be enough of a selling point, L'Auberge De Sedona features beautiful rooms equipped with a fireplace and a balcony/patio with an amazing view.

Besides Sedona's trademark red rock scenery, this hotel is surrounded by beautiful greenery and is located right by the river – after hours of driving and exploring, you'll fall asleep within moments listening to the sounds of flowing water.

The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, as well as a spa and wellness center. If you're traveling with your significant other, the on-site restaurant can help you set the mood with a riverside, candle-lit dinner.

As you might infer from all these amenities, this is one of Sedona's more expensive resorts, but it's definitely more than worth the price.

READ MORE - Click here for more great hotel options

Take a lakeside break in Lake Havasu City

One of the best places to take a break on the California Route is Lake Havasu City, a hidden gem nestled along the Colorado River. About 3 hours into the drive, this city is known for its beautiful lake landscapes and recreational opportunities.

London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona at sunrise, with boats moored at the jetty
Lake Havasu City is the perfect place to take a break and recharge before you reach the never-ending entertainment of Las Vegas.
RYO Alexandre/

There's no shortage of sights to see in Lake Havasu City, but a must-visit attraction is the London Bridge, relocated from England in 1968. However, since moving the entire bridge would be nearly impossible, only the exterior granite blocks from the original bridge were transported to the US.

Another great place to spend some time in this city is the Lake Havasu State Park, offering beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and boat ramps - perfect for spending some time in the sun.

For your stay, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lake Havasu - London Bridge, an IHG Hotel, is an excellent choice. Set a stone's throw from Body Beach, this property offers 3-star accommodation and features an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and a shared lounge.

Enjoy the sun terrace and the convenience of being next to the Lake Havasu Visitor Center, with a short walk to Bluewater Jetboat Tours and London Bridge Beach.

Spend an unforgettable vacation in Las Vegas

Once you've finally reached Vegas, any of the hotels along the Strip should meet and/or exceed all your expectations. Although we tend to disagree among us in the office, I'd say that even among the best of the best, the Venetian is in a league of its own.

What could have easily turned out gimmicky actually stands as the resort's most iconic feature – you can take a bona fide gondola ride and truly immerse yourself in the Italian aesthetic.

The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas comes complete with gondolas and Italian styling.
The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas comes complete with gondolas and luxurious Italian styling.

After leaving your things in your premier room, you cool off in the swimming pool and marvel at the hotel's impeccable architecture.

It's no exaggeration to say that the Venetian truly has everything. The incredible lounge/bar area, the abundance of amazing restaurants, the performance hall, and the obligatory hotel casino all come together to form the quintessential Las Vegas experience.

Best of all, the rooms at this hotel aren't particularly expensive at all, considering everything you get. You should definitely be careful with your expenditures (this is Vegas, after all), but a moderate tourist can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime hotel stay and spend next to nothing in the process.

READ MORE - Click here for more great hotel options

Things to see on a road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas

The road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas has a lot to offer - so much, in fact, that you'll likely need at least a couple of weeks even come close to covering everything. Although it's next to impossible to make a comprehensive list of all stops, these are some of the route's highlights.

Grand Canyon Route

  1. Lake Pleasant - As a rare aquatic oasis in Arizona's arid landscape, Lake Pleasant offers a refreshing retreat with activities like boating, fishing, and water sports, surrounded by picturesque desert hills and an array of wildlife.
  2. Prescott National Forest - Covering over a million acres, this expansive forest is a paradise for campers and nature enthusiasts, featuring diverse landscapes from rugged mountains to serene lakes and meadows, offering endless opportunities for hiking.
  3. Montezuma Castle National Monument - This well-preserved cliff dwelling, built by the Sinagua people, stands as a testament to ancient ingenuity and architectural prowess, showcasing the sophisticated use of natural alcoves in the limestone cliffs of Arizona's Verde Valley.
  4. Chapel of the Holy Cross - This architectural marvel, dramatically emerging from Sedona's iconic red rocks, is not only a place of worship but also a fusion of art and nature, offering visitors a peaceful sanctuary with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  5. Sedona - Famous for its striking red rock formations set against the lush greenery of Coconino National Forest, Sedona is a vibrant blend of natural beauty, spiritual retreats, and a thriving arts community, making it an unparalleled destination.
  6. Flagstaff - Close to the Grand Canyon and along the historic Route 66, Flagstaff is a cultural and natural hub, offering a mix of outdoor adventures, historic charm, and access to landmarks like the San Francisco Peaks and the Arizona Snowbowl.
  7. Walnut Canyon National Monument - Home to the remarkable cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people, Walnut Canyon offers a glimpse into ancient life, set amidst diverse plant life and the rare sight of snow in Arizona, making it a unique historical and natural preserve.
  8. Grand Canyon National Park - An iconic symbol of natural grandeur, the Grand Canyon's immense scale and geological wonder have captivated visitors for generations, offering unparalleled vistas, hiking trails, and rafting experiences.
  9. Williams & Kingman - Steeped in Route 66 nostalgia, Williams and Kingman are vibrant towns showcasing America's historic love affair with the "Mother Road," featuring classic diners, motels, and museums that capture the spirit of this legendary highway.
  10. Hoover Dam - This engineering marvel not only offers stunning views and a rich history but plays a crucial role in water and power supply for the region, making it a must-visit landmark for its impressive architecture and significance in managing the Colorado River.
  11. Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area - Just outside Las Vegas, Sloan Canyon is renowned for its fascinating petroglyphs, offering visitors a chance to explore ancient rock art amidst a rugged desert landscape, making it a haven for hikers and history buffs.
  12. Kofa National Wildlife Refuge - A sanctuary for diverse wildlife and plants, Kofa is especially vital for migratory birds, thanks to its waterholes, and offers visitors a chance to see unique desert landscapes and a wide array of animal life.
  13. Havasu National Wildlife Refuge - Along the Colorado River, this refuge provides a vital habitat for wildlife in the arid desert, offering opportunities for birdwatching, fishing, and enjoying the serene riverine landscapes.
Turquoise lake with bare rocks either side and Hoover dam and bridge cutting across
Make sure to pay the majestic Hoover Dam a visit before you reach Las Vegas.

California Route

  1. El Dorado Hot Springs - This natural, rustic oasis in the Arizona desert offers a variety of thermal pools, providing a serene and relaxing experience amidst the tranquil desert landscape.
  2. Quartzsite - Famous for its massive winter swap meets and gem shows, Quartzsite is a bustling hub for rockhounds, vendors, and RV enthusiasts, set against an arid desert backdrop.
  3. Buckskin Mountain State Park - Nestled along the Colorado River, this park offers stunning river views, hiking trails, and camping spots, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and water sports lovers.
  4. Cattail Cove State Park - This picturesque park on the shores of Lake Havasu is ideal for boating, fishing, and hiking, offering beautiful lake views and a peaceful retreat in nature.
  5. Lake Havasu Museum of History & Havasu Rocks - This museum showcases the intriguing history of Lake Havasu City and the surrounding area, along with a unique exhibit of beautifully arranged rocks and minerals.
  6. London Bridge, Lake Havasu City - A remarkable architectural piece, the London Bridge was relocated from England to Arizona, creating a unique blend of British history and American landscape.
  7. Havasu National Wildlife Refuge - Spanning along the Colorado River, this wildlife haven offers a sanctuary for numerous bird species and a serene environment for nature walks and birdwatching.
  8. Mystic Maze Honey - This local honey producer offers a sweet taste of the region, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn about beekeeping and savor the unique flavors of their artisanal honey.
  9. Fort Mohave - Rich in military and Native American history, Fort Mohave is a historical site that offers insights into the past conflicts and cultural exchanges in the Arizona-Nevada border region.
  10. Dead Mountains Wilderness Area - A rugged and remote landscape, this wilderness area offers challenging hiking trails and the chance to experience the untouched beauty of the Mojave Desert.
  11. Mojave National Preserve - A vast expanse of desert wilderness, this preserve features canyons, mountains, and mesas, providing a haven for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and stargazing.
  12. Bonnie and Clyde's Death Car - On display at Whiskey Pete's Casino in Primm, this is the infamous car in which the notorious outlaw couple, Bonnie and Clyde, met their end, adding a touch of historical intrigue to your journey.
  13. Techatticup Mine - Located in the historic ghost town of Nelson, this former gold mine offers guided tours into the mine's depths, revealing the rich mining history of the area.
A Joshua Tree in the desert at Mojave National Preserve, California, with a blue sky in the background
Quintessentially a Californian view, Mojave National Preserve is home to an arid landscape dotted with Joshua Trees.
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Best time to go on a road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when gauging the best time for your trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas. This is especially true if you're taking the Grand Canyon Route, as you'll definitely want to see everything along the way in the best possible light.

Although Phoenix is slightly hotter and significantly more humid, Las Vegas' triple-digit summer temperatures are nothing to scoff at either. After a sweaty desert drive to Vegas, trying to get around the city in the summer could put you off from the amazing things it has to offer.

However, if you are braving the heat, you will get to enjoy Flagstaff Folk Festival in June.

Winter temperatures, on the other hand, generally range from 30 to 60 degrees. As the rest of the country is freezing, the holidays make winter a very popular time to visit Vegas, so don't expect the city to be less packed just because it gets a little chilly.

If you are following the Grand Canyon Route, keep in mind that the North Rim closes during the colder months, while the South Rim (which is where our recommended route will take you) remains open.

Fall and spring are the perfect windows of time for visiting Las Vegas. You can expect temperatures to be somewhere in the 80s most of the time, and the already-affordable hotels can be booked at even lower prices.

Fortunately, these are also the best seasons for visiting the major stopovers on the way – summers in Sedona are quite crowded and hot in their own right, and the more stable spring/fall weather means that the entire Grand Canyon should be accessible too.

Make sure to check out Grand Canyon Music Festival if you are traveling in September and Las Vegas Helldorado Days in May.