Driving along Nevada's southwestern border takes you by the edge of Death Valley and through some of the state's most desolate regions. There are plenty of attractions and beautiful works of nature and to see along the way.
Although you can complete this drive in a single day or overnight, it’s best to make a few stops and get the most out of this epic drive through Nevada. Follow this guide to plan the ultimate road trip from Las Vegas to Reno and Lake Tahoe.
Drive Time from Las Vegas to Reno: approximately 9 hours
Distance from Las Vegas to Reno: approximately 530 miles
Best car for this road trip: Full-Size Car
Get your adrenaline pumping by experiencing one of the city's best heart-pounding attractions. Set your sights on the High Roller Observation Wheel, a Ferris wheel that takes you 550 feet over the Strip and offers unforgettable views of the city. For an even bigger challenge, head to the Stratosphere's SkyJump, where you can jump from a height of 829 feet. You could also ride the X-Scream, which catapults you 1,149 feet over the Strip.
Next, satisfy your hunger at the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace. This is considered the city's best all-you-can-eat spot. Whether you're in the mood for a healthy acai bowl, global street fare, or an incredible array of desserts, you can satisfy your cravings here.
After fueling up, hit the road and follow U.S. Highway 95 North toward Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Perched right on the California border and adjacent to Death Valley National Park, this refuge is home to unbelievable landscapes and a wide range of wildlife.
Start at the visitor center and follow the path to the Crystal Springs Boardwalk, which offers a glimpse of one of the refuge's many stunning hot springs. Be sure to check out the Point of Rocks Boardwalk, featuring mesquite groves, bright blue hot springs, and whispers of the mammoths that once lived here. Allow plenty of time to marvel at Devils Hole, a spring that's more than 500 feet deep.
Navigate back to U.S. 95 North and make your way to Tonopah, a former silver mining hot spot and home to some of Nevada's coolest desert attractions. Take a stroll through the Central Nevada Museum, a free attraction that explores the impact of the area's ancient Native American residents as well as the modern mining and railroad industries. To learn more about the area's claim to fame, visit the Tonopah Historic Mining Park, an award-winning museum that tells the story of silver mining in what was known as the Queen of the Silver Camps.
Before you turn in for the evening at one of Tonopah's vintage motels or casinos, step outside and look up at the sky. This town is known as a top stargazing destination, thanks to the lack of light pollution and the clear desert sky.
After a great night's sleep, continue to follow U.S. 95 North until you reach Hawthorne. Drive down E Street and stop at the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum, a fascinating small-town museum dedicated to members of the military and civil servicemen. This museum is home to a wide variety of military artifacts and interactive exhibits, including a tank.
Before getting back on the road, grab a bite to eat at a local favorite. Maggies Once More serves hearty home-cooked breakfasts, lunches, and dinners along with daily specials like barbecue ribs, fiesta tacos, and stuffed pork chops.
Once you've driven another 150 miles on U.S. 50 North and 50 West, you'll arrive at gorgeous Lake Tahoe. After experiencing such extensive desert landscapes during this trip, you might be surprised to see the sparkling lake, verdant surroundings, and lively attractions. You can get a glimpse of Lake Tahoe in a few hours, especially if you focus on the Nevada side.
Head to Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, where you can take your pick from laid-back stretches of sand and beautiful lakefront areas. Swim and sunbathe at Sand Harbor or go boating and fishing around Spooner Lake. You'll also find several trailheads in the area, making Lake Tahoe the perfect place to stretch your legs.
Less than an hour away from Lake Tahoe, Reno is home to countless casinos, world-class museums, and a riverfront with shopping and dining. Kick off your visit with a tour of the National Automobile Museum, a must for car lovers. This museum houses more than 200 vehicles that span over a century, and you can even snap a photo of James Dean's ride from “Rebel Without a Cause” here.
Next, stroll along the Truckee Riverwalk, where you can check out art galleries and sit down for a bite to eat. Whatever you do, don't end your night without stopping by one of Reno's vintage casinos. The Eldorado is always a good choice for a fun evening. It boasts table games, slot machines, restaurants, lounges, and entertainment venues.
As the Biggest Little City in the World, Reno has so much to offer visitors. Stay awhile to explore this fascinating city or get back behind the wheel of your rental SUV and explore Yosemite National Park, Black Rock Desert, and beyond.
How can I eat cheap in Las Vegas?
There are plenty of affordable, tasty food options in Vegas. Try one of the restaurants below:
When should I visit Lake Tahoe?
March through May and September to November are ideal times to go on a Lake Tahoe vacation. The weather is mild in the spring, with high temperatures ranging from the low 50s to the mid 60s. During the fall, high temperatures are between the low 50s and mid 70s. Lake Tahoe is also less crowded during these seasons. (Source: travel.usnews.com)
What is Reno Nevada known for?
Reno is known as "the biggest little city in the world." It is famous for its casinos, hot air balloon races, and BBQ rib cookoffs. It's landscape is desert-like on one side and mountainous on another. This makes Reno an ideal place to skii and hike.