There are numerous ways to reach the colossal concrete structure, even though the journey from Hoover Dam to Las Vegas is only about an hour by car. Getting to this remarkable architectural marvel varies based on your budget, available time, and the level of excitement you desire.
To assist you in determining how to explore Hoover Dam and organize your trip, we’ll provide in-depth information about this significant landmark. Also, we’ll provide guidance on reaching the location, and address the best things to do once you get there.
Easily Visit the Hoover Dam From Las Vegas
The contemporary city, in its current form, owes its presence to this impressive structure. The lively neon lights and allure defining the city would not have come into being without it. Indeed, the development of the entire Southwest can be directly connected to the electrical power generated by the dam. Nevertheless, in the present day, less than 5% of the Strip’s power comes from hydroelectricity, with approximately 60% being generated by natural gas-fired plants.
Situated on the border between Nevada and Arizona, the Hoover Dam is an extensive concrete arch-gravity dam. Constructed in the Black Canyon, it spans the Colorado River and was built as part of the Boulder Canyon Project during the Great Depression.
Built for flood control, water storage in Lake Mead, and hydroelectric power generation, the Hoover Dam was completed in 1936. Renowned for its engineering excellence, it serves as a significant landmark in the southwestern United States, drawing visitors for its historical importance, guided tours, and impressive views of the nearby scenery.
4 Ways To Get to the Hoover Dam From Las Vegas
There are four transportation options to reach the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas, all having pros and cons. Regrettably, public transportation choices are lacking in the Las Vegas region, and there are no alternatives for reaching the Hoover Dam. Choose from the options below based on your budget, time constraints, and preferred level of excitement.
1. Hoover Dam Tours From Las Vegas
Many tour companies in Las Vegas offer guided tours to Hoover Dam. These tours provide transportation and contribute additional information and insights about the dam’s history and construction. Below are three fun tour options!
- 😂 This funny and educational tour visits the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas with a professional comedian!
- 🤏 A small-group tour that conveniently picks you up from your hotel, allowing ample time for you to explore the dam.
- 💪 This extensive Hoover Dam tour includes a visit to the power plant and provides lunch.
2. Helicopter Tours
For a unique experience, consider taking a helicopter tour from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam. This offers stunning aerial views of the dam and surrounding landscape.
3. Boat Tours
There are delightful scenic boat tours on Lake Mead, formed by the Hoover Dam, offering a distinct perspective of the dam.
Driving your vehicle or renting a cheap car from LAS Airport gives you the flexibility to explore Hoover Dam at your own pace. Additionally, Hoover Dam is conveniently located about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, making it an accessible and straightforward day trip. Another option is Uber, but that could be quite expensive. However, if this interests you, you’re probably better off going on the Hoover Dam Tour by Luxury SUV.
7 Essential Things to See at the Hoover Dam
When exploring the Hoover Dam, you’ll find many main attractions that don’t require an entrance fee. If you’re looking to save on your Hoover Dam trip, consider opting for the free parking available on the Arizona side uphill—this is what we did!
Below are the seven essential activities to experience at the Hoover Dam.
1. Walk Across the Dam
Strolling across the 1,244-foot-wide Hoover Dam provides a distinctive and unforgettable experience.
2. Tour the Hoover Dam Visitor Center and/or Take a Tour
While informative exhibits at the center offer details about the dam’s history and operations, selecting a slightly higher fee enables participation in a Powerplant Tour. Descending from the top of the dam, visitors reach the base. For a more in-depth experience, the Dam Tour, lasting an hour, delves into its tunnels, unveiling the dam’s captivating and enigmatic infrastructure.
3. Ascend to the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
Dedicated to former Nevada Governor Mike O’Callaghan and military veteran Pat Tillman, the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge was constructed to provide a safer passage over the dam and alleviate traffic congestion. It spans 1,900 feet over the Colorado River and connects Nevada and Arizona. From its perspective, the view is jaw-dropping.
Since its inauguration in 2010, it has held the distinction of being the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere. Also, it’s the second-highest bridge in the U.S., standing at 890 feet tall. Also, it is illegal to stop on the bridge in a vehicle. For this reason, you must take a short walk from the Mike O’Callagan Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge Plaza to access the bridge.
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4. The Winged Figures of the Republic
The iconic Winged Figures of the Republic, sculpted by Oskar J.W. Hansen, stand proudly at the Hoover Dam on the Nevada side. Crafted from bronze and towering around 30 feet in height, these sculptures symbolize the principles and ideals that inspired the construction of the dam.
Combining human bodies with wings, the figures hold tablets inscribed with significant messages, representing the virtues of the American people, especially those who played a crucial role in building the dam. These sculptures contribute to the artistic and historical significance, adding to the grandeur and symbolism of the Hoover Dam.
5. Visit the “Dog Who Owned a Dam” Sign
A stray Labrador mix endeared himself to the Hoover Dam construction workers and eventually became their mascot. With a fearless demeanor, he navigated catwalks, ventured into daunting caves alongside the men, and could even climb ladders. The workers affectionately named him Nig.
On February 21, 1941, an unusually hot day, Nig sought shade under a stationary truck. Tragically, the driver, unaware of Nig’s presence, moved away, and Nig was crushed beneath the truck’s wheels. He was interred in a concrete crypt with a plaque designating him as the dog that embraced the dam. One local newspaper reported, “Rough, tough, rock-hard men wept openly and unashamed.”
6. Hoover Dam Lookout
Another interesting perspective of the Hoover Dam is at the Hoover Dam Lookout. Situated on the Arizona side, this vantage point offers breathtaking views of the immense dam. What sets this overlook apart is its tendency to be less crowded, providing a front-row seat to the captivating views.
7. Trek to the WWII Bunker Viewpoint
While visiting the Hoover Dam Lookout be sure to check out the WWII Bunker Viewpoint. It’s located about 500 feet north of the parking lot. The trailhead is located right behind the Hoover Dam Lookout Gifts & Refreshments building. As you ascend, veer left at the trail fork.
Visiting the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas appeals to visitors with its combination of engineering brilliance, historical significance, scenic allure, and recreation opportunities. Before heading out to see this man-made wonder of the world, be sure to check for any updates, restrictions, or guidelines, as well as the latest information on tours and accessibility.