(Here’s a map showing US Route 93 and the directions in blue)
By Steve Beauregard
They are currently described as the two largest connecting cities in the United States without an Interstate: Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada.
As a result, the distance between the two cities, 297 miles (or 478 kilometers), takes over four and a half hours to drive.
The majority of the route is spent on U.S. Route 93, a two lane road that can seem excruciating long on a good day – even longer if you get stuck behind someone going very slow.
It’s just under 300 miles in distance from Phoenix to Las Vegas
The road winds north and west through the desert, through vast expanses of nothingness, including even an abandoned town named “Nothing.”
It passes through other small towns, like Kingman, and almost touches the Hoover Dam before leading to Las Vegas.
Driving Time and Directions from Phoenix to Las Vegas
You start out leaving Phoenix on US Route 60, going northwest out of town. It’s officially called the Phoenix-Wickenburg Highway.
Just about an hour away, or 65 miles, you’ll reach the tiny town of Wickenburg. You’ll want to stay in your right lane. Shortly after the McDonalds, you’ll stay in the right lane as it meanders to the right, under signage that points you to “North 93.”
The next forty miles consists of a desolate two lane road. (It does have three lanes in some sections). Some people have described it as what it must have been like driving in the 1940’s.
Road to Nothing?
At about eight miles before you get to a dusty rest stop called “Nothing,” the road because a separated, four lane highway, with lanes going in each direction, speeding up things a bit and making drivers (at least me anyway), feel a little safer.
But even in those stretches of just two lanes, the road, fortunately, is often desolate at times, giving you ample opportunities to pass. In addition, the speed limit for almost all of the way (except for when entering small towns), is 65 miles per hour.
(Related: Distance and driving time from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas)
Roughly 40 miles north of “Nothing,” Route 93 merges into Interstate 40, going west, towards Kingman, Arizona. As a side note, Interstate 40 is what replaced Route 66 in many places.
Once in Kingman, you’ll follow the signs that lead you right, to Route 93 again north bound towards Las Vegas. At this point, you’re just about an hour and a half away from Las Vegas, or 104 miles.
Fortunately, this section of US Route 93 is all a divided four lane highway.
Right when you cross over to the Nevada state lane, there will be a small water diversion project on your right called the Hoover Dam.
Once there, it’s just 35 miles, or about 45 minutes from the Hoover Dam to Las Vegas.
Depending on your exact destination in Las Vegas, the driving time from downtown Phoenix to Las Vegas is between 4 and ½ to five hours, without stops.
Downtown Phoenix to the parking lot of Caesars Palace, for example, is shown as 298 miles, with a driving time of 4 hours and 42 minutes.
A small public works project on the way from Phoenix to Las Vegas
This would presumably be reduced greatly, should a potential interstate between the two cities be constructed. And in fact, this proposed new corridor, dubbed “Interstate 11” is in the planning stages.
Although the proposed Interstate 11 linking Phoenix to Las Vegas hasn’t received federal funding yet, Nevada has completed a first link in the Interstate with the Boulder City bypass. This section enables travelers to, well, bypass the stop lights and traffic you’d find in Boulder City when going from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam, (and vice-versa).
(Photos courtesy of Saadick Dhansay and nathanmac87 via Flickr).