*This site contains affiliate links. Click here for my disclosure.
The Hoover Dam is a must-do day trip from Las Vegas
Tired of playing the slots in Vegas and watching shows? Just 30 minutes outside of Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam makes an incredible day trip.
In addition to its awesomeness, it’s a great history lesson.
The Hoover Dam is a concrete damin the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. It sits at the border of Nevada and Arizona. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression. It’s as tall as a 60 story building and was the highest in the world at the time of construction.
The dam is huge due the amount of water it needs to stand up against. Unfortunately, building such a massive structure resulted in the loss of 112 lives. In which, 96 were construction related. Federal surveyor, J.G. Tierney was the first death on December 20, 1922 when he fell into the Colorado River and drowned. In a strange twist of fate, 13 years later to the day, his son an “Electrician’s Helper” Patrick Tierney fell from an intake towner and drowned.
There is a statue on the Nevada side where you can get an idea of just how challenging it was to build. There is also a gift shop and cafe.
The Hoover Dam’s job is to protect southern California and Arizona from the disastrous floods for which the Colorado river can cause. It also provides water to irrigate farm fields. It supplies water and power to Los Angeles and other rapidly growing cities in the Southwest.
The Hoover Dam and surrounding landscape, including Lake Mead, is absolutely stunning. Pictures cannot do it justice.
It costs nothing to visit Hoover Dam. But, there is a charge to take a tour and see the visitor center. Admission to the visitor center is included with a tour, or can be purchased separately.
The dam is open year-round except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. The parking garage open from 8 AM – 5:15 PM. The Visitor Center is open from 9 AM – 5 PM.
There is parking on both the Nevada and Arizona side. The parking garage in Nevada charges $10 per vehicle and was very convenient. Oversize vehicles are required to park on the Arizona side.
What to Bring
Sunglasses and sunscreen! We visited in October and it was in the 80’s and sunny. You’ll also want to bring plenty of drinking water.The walk across the dam is a half-mile, round trip.
It might also be a good idea to bring snacks or a picnic lunch. The cafe at Hoover Dam serves lunch, water and snacks, but they aren’t cheap.
It’s free to walk or drive across Hoover Dam and the Colorado River Bridge. Tours are available of the Power Plant for $12-$15 per person or you can take a 1 hour Hoover Dam tour for $30. We did our own thing and decided against the tours, although I have heard they are very interesting.
More information can be found on the official Hoover Dam website.
Have you visited the Hoover Dam or have any other recommendations on great places to visit? Please, comment below: