Destinations / North America / United States

5 Stops You Don’t Want to Miss on a Bus Trip From LA to Las Vegas

Although Los Angeles and Las Vegas are just 269 miles apart, they are worlds apart in other ways, as their nicknames suggest. Traveling from “The City of Angels” to “Sin City” transports you from the beautiful California coastline and surfing beaches to the heart of Nevada’s Mojave Desert, passing some interesting milestones along the way.

Los Angeles Skyline framed by San Bernadino Mountains and Mount Baldy with fresh snow
Photo| Los Angeles and Mount Baldy| SHUTTERSTOCK -JOSEPH SOHM

Some of the main thrills of taking a trip to Las Vegas include the 24-hour entertainment, gambling, shopping, dining and casinos that Las Vegas is famous for. Billed as “The Entertainment Capital of the World”, Las Vegas is a great place to escape to for a long weekend, especially in the cooler months from October through May.

Benefits of Traveling by Bus from LA to Vegas

The route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is mainly along Interstate 15 – a long and tiring drive. For less than the cost of gas for the trip (and about 80% cheaper than the standard air fare), you can book a seat on a luxury bus to Las Vegas then sit back and enjoy the passing scenery.

Metro buses lined up for rush hour in Los Angleles. trip from LA to Las Vegas
Photo| Bus Depot in California| GETTYIMAGES | PASTORSCOTT

Taking the bus also means you’ll save on expensive car parking fees that many hotels and shopping centers charge in Las Vegas. Getting from your chosen drop-off point is easy by taxi, or arrange with your hotel for a free pickup using their courtesy shuttle service. If you are staying at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino, Plaza Hotel and Casino overlooking Fremont Street, or the California Hotel and Casino, you can be dropped off right outside the door.

Greyhound, MegaBus and other luxury bus services that regularly traverse between Los Angeles and Las Vegas have all mod-cons. Amenities include Wi-Fi, power outlets, reclining seats with ample legroom, air-conditioning and an onboard restroom. Some companies also offer onboard movies, snacks and beverages. You can get more details on bus travel times and average costs through Wanderu.

Road Trip from LA to La Vegas Highlights

Board the bus at one of the five departure points scattered around Los Angeles. Depending on your chosen route, the journey takes just over five hours door-to-door. Here are some of the landmarks to check off along the way.

San Bernardino National Forest

Big Bear Creek Valley in the San Bernardino National Forest
Photo| San Bernardino National Forest| GETTYIMAGES – BRIAN WELKER – EYEEM

Once you leave the city traffic behind, the route climbs uphill. It cuts through the scenic San Jacinto Mountains with the San Bernardino National Forest to the east and the Los Angeles National Forest further west. These forest reserves are popular for hiking, trail riding, off-road vehicles, bicycling, camping, fishing and other outdoor recreation. In winter, due to the high elevation the area is popular for snowshoeing and alpine skiing – not quite what you expect in Southern California! The national forest areas protect the habitat of wildlife such as bighorn sheep, bears, birds, squirrels, deer, reptiles and amphibians including endangered Southwestern Arroyo Toads.

Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead and Silverwood Lake are well-known vacation destinations within the San Bernardino National Forest. There is also a Wild Trout Stream at Deep Creek and some Thermal Springs.

Victorville

The next main town you will pass through is Victorville, known as “The Key City of the High Desert”. The city was the home of the Victorfield Army Airfield during World War 2 and later became the Georges Air Force Base until it was decommissioned in 1992.

Historic U.S. Route 66 runs through Victorville and is marked on South D and 7th Streets where the California Route 66 Museum is located. The boomtowns that grew up to service Route 66 are still popular as film locations, particularly for westerns, military dramas and action films.

Cafe and gas station adjacent to Route 66 in California., Trip from LA to Las Vegas
Photo| Gas Station and a café on historic Route 66| GETTYIMAGES – STEVEN_KRIEMADIS

Mojave Desert

Victorville marks the southern edge of the Mojave Desert, so you will notice a distinct change in the landscape and vegetation. Desert plants lining the road include cacti, creosote, yucca and the weirdly shaped Joshua trees. This area is much hotter than Los Angeles in summer and has cool dry winters when overnight temperatures frequently drop below freezing. Annual rainfall is just six inches, although in January 1949 Victorville did have 38 inches of snowfall!

Valley of Fire State Park is a public recreation and nature preservation
Photo| Fire Valley of Nevada| GETTYIMAGES – DENISTANGNEYJR

The higher elevations of this desert region of San Bernardino County have led to it being called the High Desert. It is typically windier and colder in winter than the Low Desert region of the Mojave.

Barstow

Barstow is a major landmark for travelers heading to Las Vegas. It is the halfway point of the journey – 130 miles northeast of Los Angeles and 125 miles southwest of Las Vegas on what was known as the Mormon Corridor. Barstow marks the intersection of I-15 with Route 66, the I-40 heading east to Flagstaff and S.R. 58 heading west to Bakersfield.

If you are a fan of old-fashioned ghost towns, you may want to return at a later date to explore the Calico Ghost Town just outside Barstow. It was built in 1881 to accommodate the miners arriving to make their fortune from the silver strike. By 1904, the mine was played out, but the historic town remains as a fascination tourist attraction.

Ghost town of Calico was established in 1881, trip from LA to Las Vegas
Photo|Ghost town of Calico in California| GETTYIMAGES – PETER UNGER

Mojave National Preserve

After Baker, your route to Las Vegas skirts the western edge of the Mojave National Preserve which was formed within the Mojave Desert to preserve the region’s natural and cultural resources. Wildlife is abundant, so keep your eyes open for golden eagles and hawks soaring in the desert thermals. You may also spot mule deer, coyotes, bighorn sheep and desert tortoises that roam this arid area in search of water, food and shade.

Rock Formations At Mojave National Preserve
Photo| Mojave National Preserve| GETTYIMAGES – BRIAN FERNANDEZ – EYEEM

If you are passing through after a rare rain shower in April or May, the desert will be transformed with a beautiful rainbow of short-lived desert flowers.

Nevada and Las Vegas

Primm marks the border between California and Nevada. Once in Nevada, the route is lined with casinos, motels and outlet shopping malls. After 43 more miles, the bus arrives at its destination in Las Vegas. There are six official drop-off points around this glittering neon city, which is the complete antithesis to the arid desert and upscale coastal city of Los Angeles you left behind.

City skyline at night with Bellagio Hotel water fountains, Las Vegas, Nevada, America, USA, trip from LA to Las Vegas
Photo| Las Vegas skyline| GETTYIMAGES – REBECCAANG

With 315 days of sunshine, Las Vegas offers year-round entertainment, high-end buffet dining, world-class shows, slot machines, legendary casinos, themed attractions, shopping malls, fashion outlets, non-stop nightlife and countless wedding chapels. Whatever you want to do, you can definitely find it here, and remember…whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

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Sebastian Morgan
I’m a blogger, history buff, and serious over packer, currently based in Taiwan. Eats, drinks, and destinations are my thing. When I’m not writing about those, I’m either hitting up the local hot springs or slurping down a bowl of sesame noodles. I hope to one day do both at the same time.
Posted on Categories Destinations, United StatesTags , ,

4 thoughts on “5 Stops You Don’t Want to Miss on a Bus Trip From LA to Las Vegas”

  1. Though my husband and I now reside in South Dakota, we are Californians. We would often make this trek, not necessarily to go to Vegas, but further, to visit relatives in Idaho. I really enjoyed reading this, because it was very familiar to me. All of the places listed are fun to visit!

  2. Hi

    I am searching for travel between los angeles and las vegas one way.
    Myself and my husband do want to go down Route 66 at some point with a photo opportunity of the route itself.
    Does megabus actually stop off or just drive through the places suggested

    Thanks

    Marie

    1. Hello, is there an actual tour company that travels from Vegas to Los Angeles that stops to see the sights along the way?
      Thanks, Leonie

      1. I’m interested too in a bus or tour that stops once in a while to see the sights or to take a pic in in the middle of the long streets or something 🙂 does anybody know any?

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