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Interstate 15 -- Northbound from Las Vegas to Mesquite
Backroads Around Las Vegas
Interstate 15
Interstate 15
I-15 at Hwy 95 (Downtown Las Vegas Spaghetti Bowl; view NE)

Overview

Interstate 15 Northbound, as described here, runs north from downtown Las Vegas (intersection of I-15 and Hwy 95; the downtown Las Vegas Spaghetti Bowl) towards Utah. The interstate is nothing special, just another interstate highway, but it traverses big desert with grand views and provides access to some wild and amazing outdoor recreation.

Link to map.

Interstate 15
I-15 approaching Lake Mead Blvd (view NE)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this is a safe road, except of course, for the whack-nuts doing stupid things at 80 mph.

While out, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this is a remote area, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Interstate-15
I-15 at Lake Mead Blvd (view NE)

The Road

From the Spaghetti Bowl (Table 1, Site 0800), Interstate 15 runs northeast across town.

The interstate quickly passes Exit 45 to East Lake Mead Blvd (Site 0801), which provides access to the north shore of Lake Mead.

Continuing, the interstate runs northeast towards the outskirts of town. The interstate passes the northern terminus of the Las Vegas Beltway (Exit 52; Hwy 215) and shortly passes Exit 54 (Site 1637) to Hollywood and Speedway Blvd. This exit provides access to the Nellis Air Force Base Runway (good plane spotting) as well as the Iron Skillet Truck stop. Hikers are no longer allowed to park and carpool from the Iron Skillet parking lot.

Interstate-15
I-15 approaching Cheyenne Avenue (view NE)

Continuing, the interstate runs northeast and climbs out of the Las Vegas Valley, cresting the pass at Apex Summit. In the bottom of the next valley, Dry Lake Valley, the interstate passes Exit 64 (Site 0674) to Highway 93. Highway 93 provides access to lots of grand scenery and wild adventures to the north.

Still running northeast, the interstate passes the dry lakebed and climbs over low hills into Moapa Valley. The interstate crosses into the Moapa Band of Paiutes Indian Reservation, and Exit 75 (Site 1027), Valley of Fire Road, provides access to a small casino and smoke shop, plus Valley of Fire State Park and wonderful hiking in the Muddy Mountains.

Interstate-15
I-15 approaching Craig Road (view NE)

The interstate descends gradually across beautiful desert towards the Muddy River and exits the reservation. Just before getting to the Muddy River, the interstate passes Exit 90 for Highway 168 (Glendale and Moapa). This exit provides access to Moapa National Wildlife Refuge, plus it is the last gas-convenience store before turning off to Gold Butte.

The interstate bends right to cross the Muddy River, but usually the river is too small to see. Climbing out the east end of the valley, the interstate passes Exit 93 for Highway 169 (Logandale and Overton). Highway 169 provides access to Overton Wildlife Management Area, Michael Heizer's Double Negative, and the north shore of Lake Mead National Recreation Area (including a return via East Lake Mead Blvd.

The interstate climbs steeply onto Mormon Mesa, a long stretch of flat country with the Mormon Mountains towering to the left and the high mountains of Gold Butte off to the right.

Interstate-15

Descending off the far side of Mormon Mesa, the interstate passes Exit 112 (Site 0684) to Highway 170 (Riverside and Bunkerville). Highway 170 provides access to the grand and remote Gold Butte region.

Now following along the north side of the Virgin River, the interstate continues northeast to Mesquite. There are three exits in Mesquite. The first (Exit 118) is new. The second (Exit 120) is useful for gassing up, crossing the river, and heading back down Highway 170 towards Gold Butte, but the third (Exit 122) is more convenient for gas and fast food when heading farther north.

The far side of Mesquite is Arizona and then shortly Utah. The interstate provides access to Zion National Park and other grand areas in the redrock country of southern Utah.

Interstate-15
I-15 leaving Las Vegas (view NE)
The interstate climbs steeply onto Mormon Mesa, a long stretch of flat country with the Mormon Mountains towering to the left and the high mountains of Gold Butte off to the right.
The interstate climbs steeply onto Mormon Mesa, a long stretch of flat country with the Mormon Mountains towering to the left and the high mountains of Gold Butte off to the right.
I-15 approaching Hollywood--Speedway Blvd (view NE)
The interstate climbs steeply onto Mormon Mesa, a long stretch of flat country with the Mormon Mountains towering to the left and the high mountains of Gold Butte off to the right.
I-15 at Hollywood--Speedway Blvd (view NE)
Interstate 15
Leaving Las Vegas: I-15 leading into the desert (view NE)
Interstate-15
Leaving Las Vegas: I-15 at Apex Summit (view NE)
Interstate-15
Apex Summit sign (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 approaching Highway 93 exit (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 approaching Highway 93 exit (view NE)
Interstate-15
Interstate 15 approaching Highway 93 exit and Love's Truck stop
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 approaching Highway 93 exit (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 approaching Highway 93 exit (view NE)
Interstate-15
I-15 beyond Apex
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 approaching Valley of Fire Road (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 approaching Valley of Fire Road (view NE)
Interstate 15
Highway sign (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 at Valley of Fire Road (view NE)
Interstate 15
Highway sign (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 at Valley of Fire Road exit (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 approaching Glendale (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 approaching Glendale--Moapa exit (view NE)
Interstate 15
Highway sign (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 at Glendale--Moapa exit (view NE)
Interstate 15
Highway sign: note tight looping exit (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 approaching Logandale--Overton exit (view NE)
Interstate 15
Highway sign (view NE)
Interstate 15
Interstate 15 at Logandale--Overton exit (view NE)
Interstate 15
I-15 approaching Riverside/Bunkerville exit (view SE)
Interstate 15
I-15 approaching Riverside/Bunkerville exit (view SE)
Interstate 15
I-15 approaching Riverside/Bunkerville exit (view SE)
Interstate 15
I-15 approaching Riverside/Bunkerville exit (view SE)
Interstate 15
I-15 approaching Riverside/Bunkerville exit (view SE)
Interstate-15
I-15 approaching Mesquite (view NE)
Interstate-15
I-15 approaching first Mesquite exit (view NE)
Interstate 15
Highway sign (view NE)
Interstate-15
I-15 at second Mesquite exit (view SE)

Table 1. Highway Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
0800 I-15 at Hwy 93-95 36.17427 115.15402 2,040 00.00 00.00 Yes
0801 I-15 at Lake Mead Blvd 36.19585 115.13784 1,950 01.80 01.80 Yes
1637 I-15 at Speedway Blvd 36.28269 115.02537 2,051 08.90 10.70 Yes
0674 I-15 at Hwy 93 (Apex) 36.38089 114.89084 2,215 10.70 21.40 Yes
1027 I-15 at Valley of Fire Rd 36.50222 114.76074 2,017 11.40 32.80 Yes
0879 I-15 at Hwy 168 (Glendale) 36.66065 114.57337 1,542 15.20 48.00 Yes
1638 I-15 at Hwy 169 (Overton) 36.67075 114.52082 1,759 03.00 51.00 Yes
0684 I-15 at Hwy 170 36.77063 114.23374 1,804 18.50 69.50 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 161112

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