The iconic Hoover Dam is a popular tourist destination located approximately 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, on the Nevada-Arizona border. It is a massive and concrete arch-gravity dam, towering 900 feet above the Colorado River with a 660 feet thick base as long as two football fields. The history, architecture, and engineering behind the Hoover Dam is really fascinating. This impressive largest man made construction was built during the Great Depression and it was one of the largest single producers of hydroelectric power at that time. Hoover Dam also created America’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, that covers about 248 square miles. The reservoir is capable of holding about 28.9 million acre-feet of water and supplies water to Nevada, Arizona, California, and Mexico. Today Lake Mead has dropped to its lowest level since 1930 because of the drought that the Colorado River basin has experienced.
These photos are from our visit to Hoover Dam in November 2010. We drove from Las Vegas for a day trip to Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire State Park.
Quick Facts and Tips
- It is worth visiting if you are around Las Vegas and also a must stop on the way to Grand Canyon
- You can drive or book a private tour to Hoover Dam from the major hotels and resorts in Las Vegas. It is about a 45 minute drive from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam. Most major hotels and resorts in Las Vegas offer private tours to Las vegas which include round trip transportation as well as a restaurant lunch.
- There are private companies who run Hoover Dam Helicopter tours from Las Vegas and offer hotel pick up and transportation to Boulder City where most helicopters depart from.
- Hoover Dam is open year-round between 5am and 9pm except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. Visitor Center and tours open from 9am to 5pm.
- Parking on the Arizona side of the Dam is for free, but needs further walk. A multi level parking garage on the Nevada side will cost you $10.
- Tour is optional and it costs $10 to $30 per person.
- Walking or driving across Hoover Dam and the Colorado River Bridge is FREE.
- Start early or late in the day as parking will fill up quickly on busy days.
- Bring plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and hats as there is less shade.
- There are restrooms, a gift shop and a cafe.
- Best Things To Do
- Visit the Visitor Center and buy a $10 self guided tour that offers narrated educational exhibits, interactive 3D models and films about the dam, power systems and its construction. Take a stroll around the Dam that takes you to the bridge on the highway U.S. 93 and enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of the Dam, Colorado River, Lake Mead and Hoover Bypass Bridge from the Observation Deck.
- Take a guided tour and get soaked in the history of Hoover Dam. Ride the original elevator to the top of Hoover Dam as you walk with a guide through the exhibits, historic tunnels, a power generator room and inspection tunnels at the center of the Hoover dam. Enjoy the view of the Colorado River through the inspection ventilation shaft. Cost of this guided tour is $30 including a self guided visitor center tour and it is worth it.
- Remember to take a photo at the state line marker.
- Nearby attractions