Road Trip to Vegas: Des Moines to Las Vegas

Friends Taking Des Moines to Las Vegas Drive

Las Vegas Road Trip Series


When taking a road trip to Vegas, the drive is part of the fun. If your journey starts in Des Moines, Iowa, be prepared for a long drive and many unique sights throughout Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, a little bit of Arizona, and finally Nevada. The cherry on top? Your Des Moines to Las Vegas drive ends up with plenty of excitement in the city to make up for the drive!

Pack your bags, rally the troops, and fill the tank, because we have all the road trip recommendations to embark on the best Des Moines to Las Vegas drive.


The Logistics: Route, Drive Time & Traffic


Taking a Des Moines to Las Vegas road trip can be a long trek in one day or divided between two or three days – depending on if you decide to take your time at road trip stops along the way or not. The Des Moines to Las Vegas distance is approximately 1,414 miles through Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada via the I-80 W and I-70 W. With ideal traffic and weather conditions, the road trip takes approximately 22.5 hours to complete.

If possible, avoid starting the Des Moines to Las Vegas drive on Thursday through Sunday, the most popular driving days. Instead, leave on less-popular driving days such as Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday when traffic tends to be lighter than the hustle and bustle of weekend driving. Allow for longer drive times if you plan on traveling to the city for Las Vegas events or during the holidays. No matter where you’re driving from or which day of the week, the traffic is sure to pick up closer to the city.


Des Moines to Las Vegas Road Trip Stops


Des Moines to Las Vegas Road Trip Stops


The Durham Museum | 1283 Miles to Vegas

Housed in Omaha’s beautiful former Union Station, this museum is dedicated to preserving and displaying the history of the United States’ western region. Exhibits cover natural, historic, scientific, and artistic accomplishments of the region.


Wildlife Safari Park | 1254 Miles to Vegas

The Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari is a 440 acre drive-through park. Though this means more time in your car, it also means you get to see bison, elk, wolves, eagles, pelicans, prairie dogs, deer, and more.


Shoemaker’s Travel Center | 1224 Miles to Vegas

Travel centers aren’t always exciting, but Shoemaker’s aims to change that. Shoemaker’s Restaurant offers more than the usual travel center snacks with their homestyle cooking, and there are two impressive murals on site for some culture.


Lee’s Legendary Marbles & Collectibles | 1181 Miles to Vegas

If you feel like you’re losing your marbles on your Des Moines to Las Vegas drive, get your fix with Lee’s impressive marble collection. On top of marbles, you’ll also find collections of coins, Coke collectibles, toy trains, and more.


Great Scotts Eatery Diner | 751 Miles to Vegas

Diners are pretty perfect when it comes to road tripping, and Great Scotts Eatery definitely provides. Fuel yourself up with hearty meals like country fried steak, burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, and so much more.


Iron Mountain Hot Springs | 592 Miles to Vegas

Road trips can be hard on your back, and hot springs can help. Situated alongside the beautiful Colorado River in Glenwood Springs and surrounded by the Rockies views, these geothermal soaking pools are a tranquil rest stop.


Sopris Alpaca Farm | 575 Miles to Vegas

Not many things are cuter than an alpaca, and that cuteness might be just what you need to break up your Des Moines to Las Vegas drive. Stop by this alpaca farm to hand feed the animals, meet baby alpacas, and relax on the farm.


John Wesley Powell River History Museum | 406 Miles to Vegas

You’d be surprised what lurked around the Green River in Utah! This history museum details the past of the river, including dinosaurs, geology, history, and much more. This is a must-see for history and science enthusiasts.


Fremont Indian State Park and Museum | 261 Miles to Vegas

Whether you’re a history buff or not, the Fremont Indian State Park and Museum is a great place to visit to learn more of Utah’s history. The museum displays items from the Fremont Indian village, including pottery, arrowheads, and baskets.


Red Hills Desert Garden | 121 Miles to Vegas

This stunning garden is the first interactive desert garden in Utah, covering a 5-acre preserve with more than 5,000 desert plants, a stream, replica slot canyon, and prehistoric tracks.


Some say life isn’t only about the destination, it’s about the journey. If you’re planning your next trip to Las Vegas, consider hitting the road and making an adventure out of it.