Located near Boulder City, Nevada the Hoover Dam has been open since 1936. The highly populated Dam is visited by nearly a million tourists a year, who also visit Las Vegas and enjoy road trips through Nevada and Arizona. Situated in Black Canyon on the border, it holds back the Colorado River and Lake Mead, with the Dam provides power and hydro-electricity to both states as well as California. Originally called the Boulder Dam, it was constructed during the Great Depression to prevent flooding in the area. With only 48 km from Las Vegas, it’s an easy day trip adventure!
Driving to Hoover Dam
Leaving our hotel room at the Excalibur, we took the car from Las Vegas to drive south to Hoover Dam for the morning. It was going to be far too hot to walk right outside on the famous Las Vegas Strip and we had some free time to explore so we didn’t want to miss the chance to see the famous Hoover Dam.
Within 45 minutes by car we were arriving and parking in a free designated area for the Dam on the south Arizona side, instead of the paid parking area. Plus to get to the free parking you can drive over the Dam also for free! It didn’t take us long to find a parking spot, and so we took our hats and water bottles and walked down the road to be greeted with the panoramic view of the Dam from the Arizona state.
We were first viewing the overflow area, bone dry from the very hot sunshine. Following the flow of people walking over, we took in the art deco design that could be seen on the walls and floors of the architecture.
Once in the middle you come to the two turrets showing both timezones of Arizona and Nevada, however they could be the same when you visit as Arizona does not observe the daylight saving time.
You can see how low the level of the Lake Mead water is too, a big difference from 1998 when it was last officially full.
We decided to walk across to the Nevada state side and visit the little store, but didn’t take a tour to view the tunnels and exclusive sections of the Dam as we already had plans for the afternoon and didn’t feel a strong need to see those parts.
Here you can find the main entrance to the tour and the memorials to to the 96 construction workers who lost their lives during the construction of dam. You can see two bronze Winged Figures of the Republic with the US flag in the middle.
Hoover Dam has been recognized as:
National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
National Civil Engineering Landmark in 1984.
National Historic Landmark in 1985.
Walking back over the dam to the car, we walked the other side which was a little more in the shade to see the water outflow side of the dam. Also we didn’t want to miss anything since we would only be visiting once…. or so I thought!
View From Above
A surprise helicopter trip booked by my partner the next day meant we actually flew over Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon, so we had some impressive sky views too! You can see our full Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour post here!
We were glad to have visited the Hoover Dam during our 2 week US Road Trip as it gave us a break from the very lively Las Vegas, we could tick it off our list that we have visited and we did find it interesting how fast it was built and low the water levels had reached.
- Take water with you
- Respect the rules and don’t litter
- Be prepared for the heat!
- It’s a popular place, so just take your time
- Try to find a FREE parking spot on the south of the Dam, will save you $10 from the parking available there!
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Have you visited the Hoover Dam before? Did you take the tour or just visited like us?