A Mountaineer’s Road Trip from Los Angeles to Utah

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Whether you’re a West Coast native looking for a thrill or a Southerner who’s never been to the mountains, this mountaineer’s road trip from Los Angeles, California to Salt Lake City, Utah will get your legs moving and your heart rejuvenated from the sightseeing hikes, world-class eateries, and family-friendly entertainment
Before you leave, make sure to comparison shop to find car insurance that still gives you the protection you need. Jerry allows you to shop for and compare quotes from the convenience of your own home. 
All you need to do is download the app, enter a few pieces of information, and you’ll be presented with competitive quotes from up to 50 top insurers.
Make sure you also check out Jerry’s roadside assistance program for only $6.99 per car. Services include free towing, emergency roadside assistance, and battery jumpstarts. 
Now, buckle up for a fun Los Angeles to Utah road trip!

Key trip details

Los Angeles to Salt Lake City trip map.
Los Angeles to Salt Lake City
Distance: 692 miles
Driving time: 10 hours and 17 minutes
Suggested length of trip: 2 to 3 days

Itinerary

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • St. George, UT
  • Salt Lake City, UT

Los Angeles, CA

It’s easy to spend three days or more in Los Angeles, California––visitors may be dazzled by the sunlight, beachfront access, and the prospect of walking the same paths as the stars. If you only have a day, though, don’t worry. Just pick from a few of the quintessential LA icons below:

What to do in Los Angeles

Sunset Boulevard extends into the distance, framed by palm trees.
Sunset Boulevard
  • Hit the beaches: Since we’re headed inland to desert territory, water lovers will want to spend some time on one of LA’s many beaches. Santa Monica Beach borders a pier with family-friendly activities, while Zuma Beach in Malibu is conducive to low-key relaxation. 
  • Must-see areas: Head down to Sunset Boulevard or Rodeo Drive to sightsee iconic Hollywood locales or shop ‘til you drop. 
  •  Greystone Mansion: If you’re willing to venture into Beverly Hills, film fans won’t want to miss Greystone Mansion, where several famous films and shows, including Ghostbusters and Gilmore Girls, were filmed. 
  •  Death Valley National Park: If you have the time, you can also take a detour to Death Valley National Park, whose name comes from the extreme heat that bakes the land most of the year. And the heat is no joke! The views can be magnificent, but safety is a real concern for visitors. Make sure to listen to park rangers’ instructions––and if you think you’ve brought enough water, you haven’t.
  •  Golden Canyon: While you’re in Death Valley, make sure that you drive down Badwater Road to find Golden Canyon, one of the locations where Star Wars was filmed.

Where to eat in Los Angeles

  • Breakfast hits: If you’re leaving early in the day but have some time to spare, stop by House of Breakfast for some pancakes, eggs, and other classics. Nearby CJ’s cafe offers hefty Mexican-American plates all day, diner-style.
  • Shibumi ($$): If you have an eye for exquisite presentation (Instagram foodies, I mean you), you can’t miss Shibumi’s bento boxes, which are filled with seafood and vegetables. 
  • Bestia ($$): Bestia is famed for its rustic Italian fare, sure to warm your stomach and your heart.

Las Vegas, NV

270 miles, 4 hours 18 minutes
Welcome to the Entertainment Capital of the World, the Marriage Capital of the World, Sin City...you get it. Vegas has a lot going on, and not just the gambling.
I-15 S is the best route to get to Las Vegas.

What to do in Las Vegas

Outside on the fountains of the Bellagio resort and casino in Las Vegas
The Bellagio luxury resort and casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Zipline the city: Did you know that you can zipline through downtown Las Vegas? Rio Zipline and Slotzilla will fly you over the city’s icons so you can catch a whole new view. 
  • Neon Museum: Check out the Neon Museum, which houses hundreds of old lights and marquees from now-closed venues. Some of the signs are unrestored, but others have been refurbished to glow as brightly as they did decades ago. 
  • Area 15: The AREA15 entertainment complex features immersive 2D and 3D exhibits that are sure to please guests of all ages. You can even buy gifts in the trippy grocery store, Omega Mart.
  • Hit the slot machines: Of course, travelers 18 and over can try their luck at poker, slot machines, and more at the casinos that bring millions of dollars to Vegas each year. Caesar’s Palace, MGM Grand, and Flamingo Las Vegas are well-known establishments.

Where to eat in Las Vegas

Las Vegas has a variety of internationally inspired restaurants to go along with its eclectic decor and plethora of hotels.
  • Me Gusta Tacos ($): Me Gusta Tacos in Green Valley Ranch is acclaimed for its fresh and innovative tortilla-wrapped meals. 
  • Momofuku ($$$): Momofuku’s unique cuisine includes truffle ramen, tomato melon salad, and popcorn octopus.
  • Polaris Street Cafe ($): Polaris Street Cafe is a good option for a laid-back breakfast or lunch.

Where to stay in Las Vegas

While everything in Vegas may seem over the top, hotel prices aren’t necessarily so. Many hotels consistently offer special deals or packages to make your stay affordable.
  • Club de Soleil: If you feel you need to remove yourself from the chaos of downtown, try the Club de Soleil hotel on Tropicana Blvd. Cost per night: from $51

St. George, UT

387 miles, 5 hours 38 minutes
St. George, Utah is a wealthy town that is near several breathtaking state parks and wildlife sanctuaries.  
To get from Vegas to St. George, take I-15 N.

What to do in St. George

Red rock slopes, desert brush, and a gnarled dead tree in Snow Canyon State Park, St. George, Utah.
Snow Canyon State Park
  • Snow Canyon State Park: St. George sits next to a variety of state parks that deserve more recognition than they receive. Shaped by rivers and lava flow over millennia, Snow Canyon State Park is a hidden gem filled with hikes for all levels, orange sand dunes, and intriguing lava caves.
  • Goblin Valley State Park: Goblin Valley State Park is home to thousands of goblins––er, funny-looking rocks. We can’t say for sure if they move and come to life during the night, though. Families will enjoy the seemingly endless colors, shapes, and sizes of formations in the park.
  • Rosenbruch World Wildlife Museum: Within St. George’s downtown, you’ll find over 300 animals from around the world preserved at the Rosenbruch World Wildlife Museum
  • Dinosaur Discovery Site: If you’re looking for extinct animals, you’ll find them here too, at the iconic Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm. The site features a working fossil preparation lab, dinosaur replicas, and an impressive collection of dinosaur tracks.

Where to eat in St. George 

  • Painted Pony ($$$): Looking for fine dining? Hit up the Painted Pony for seasonal southwestern dishes in an elegant setting. Owners Nicki and Randall Richards pride themselves on using hormone-free, free-range meat.
  • Tia's ($$): At Tia’s Bakery and Cafe, three sisters have compiled an impressive menu of loaded toasts, pupusas, nachos, and more, with cultural influences from North America, South America, and Europe.
  • George's Corner Restaurant ($$): Fans of gastropubs or established eateries won’t want to miss George’s Corner, a St. George staple whose parent restaurant welcomed tour buses as far back as the 1930s. Selections include bratwurst, lamb burgers, baby back ribs, and mint chile lemonade.

Where to stay in St. George

  • The Mulberry Inn: If you’re looking for a quaint B&B, consider The Mulberry Inn, which was established in 1873. A group of two could expect to pay $160-$200 a night for a queen bed, linens service, wifi, and complimentary breakfast in a charming, peaceful setting. Cost per night: from $179
  • Camp out: Campers can also set up tents in one of the various state parks––just check for rules and regulations about fire pits and pets.

Arrive in––Salt Lake City, UT

302 miles, 4 hours 14 minutes
Our drive officially ends in Salt Lake City, Utah, a happening place that governs a metropolitan area of over one million people (and the state of Utah itself).
You’re back onto I-15 N to get to your destination. 

What to do in Salt Lake City

A view looking down at City Creek Shopping Center on a gray Utah day.
City Creek Center
  • Great Salt Lake: You can’t go wrong sightseeing at Great Salt Lake, which gives this city its name. The centerpiece of Great Salt Lake State Park, it attracts humans and wildlife alike to its tranquil shoreline. Head up the peninsula to find Antelope Island, the home of hundreds of deer, bison, and birds.
  • Tracy Aviary: Speaking of birds, any avian lover should check out the Tracy Aviary in Liberty Park. You can find birds from all over the world here, but especially well-represented are South American species, like Chilean Flamingos, Sun Conures, and Scarlet Macaws.
  • City Creek Center: Not a nature enthusiast? Don’t worry. You can spend hours shopping and dining out at the upscale City Creek Center indoor-outdoor mall. Their collection includes Macy’s, Anthropologie, Tiffany & Co., and West Elm, along with some businesses unique to Salt Lake City. 
  • Take a detour: If you want to take a bit of a longer trek, you can drive southeast for 35 minutes to cozy Park City. In the winter, you can enjoy some of the West’s premier skiing at the Park City, Deer Valley, or Iron Mountain resorts. But don’t think the mountains are off-limits in summer.
  • Wind in Your Hair Horseback Tours: Float around the mountain peaks in a hot air balloon rental or go on foot (rather, four feet) with Wind in Your Hair horseback riding tours. Park City offers a more immersive nature experience than Salt Lake and gives you a chance to compare the mountains of northern Utah with the deserts down south.

Where to eat in Salt Lake City

  • Pretty Bird Chicken ($$): Fried chicken is a current SLC trend, and local reviews all point to Pretty Bird Chicken as the city’s premier location for mouth-watering sandwiches
  • Nomad East ($$): Head over to Nomad East to share a Neapolitan-style pizza and salad with friends. This new restaurant is a great example of Utah’s fusion of southwestern rusticity and modern cool.
  • Freshies Lobster ($$): An unexpected Salt Lake find is Freshies Lobster, whose main ingredient is flown in fresh from Maine daily. You won’t want to miss this delectable selection of lobster bisque, lobster mac and cheese, lobster lettuce wraps, and other creative choices.

Where to stay in Salt Lake City

  • Salt Lake Plaza Hotel: For a convenient location and fun night views, consider Salt Lake Plaza Hotel. Cost per night: from $82
  • The Peery Hotel: This hotel by Hilton offers an upscale experience. The hotel was founded in 1910 and is located along Broadway street, surrounded by restaurants and breweries. Cost per night: from $139
Larger groups can choose from an array of vacation rentals. You might find a spacious home or condo farther from downtown.

Jerry’s roadside assistance program

Hold your horses before you embark on a trip full of desert highway driving. Make sure to plan for the unexpected popped tire, fuel depletion, or engine breakdown.
Jerry offers roadside assistance for payments as low as $6.99. The plan covers towing, tire changes, key replacement, and more. Members can get exclusive benefits, like advice from certified mechanics!
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