By Betsy Malloy
Distance: 393 miles
Driving Time: 8.5 hours
If you'd rather not be bored to tears on the endless Interstate, try this desert route from San Diego to Las Vegas. It will take you past Anza-Borrego Desert, Salton Sea, through Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. It takes about 3 hours longer than I-15 if you drive straight through, but there's enough to do that you might just want to take a few days instead.
This scenic car trip route leaves San Diego on I-8 eastbound, then cuts across the desert on several California highways and local roads, finally connecting with I-15 near the California-Nevada border.
The map above shows the scenic car trip route in general. Click on the map and you'll get a slightly larger version. If actually want to drive it, you'll need an even bigger version, where you can zoom in and out, get detailed driving directions for your road trip and explore what you might see along the way. For that, go to the interactive version.
You might not believe that it snows in the desert, but as recently as 2010, I-15 was closed near the state line because of snow and ice in the mountain pass. Check road status on California highways between Los Angeles and the Nevada border at the Department of Transportation website or call 800-427-7623. Enter each highway number separately to get information about road repairs and closures. For conditions in Nevada, go here.