From Boulder Dam to Hoover Dam
Not far from Las Vegas is this world renown engineering masterpiece, a National Historical Landmark, the Hoover Dam. Located in the Colorado River, it also creates an immense lake named Lake Mead. But what makes it more unique in terms of beautiness is its elegant pure 1930s art-deco style, and incredible to think this vast project was opened in 1936 and still there with its turbines producing enough electric power and water supplies for Las Vegas and many other cities across different states.
It is one of the most common tours one can do from Las Vegas and definitely worth to spend some hours to come and visit it. Many options are available on how to get here, while of course, the easiest and cheapest is to have a rental car. Otherwise check for the many daily tours organised here either by bus, limousine, and even helicopter. The site is not that big, however once on the tour when they take you well inside the machinery room and corridors, it becomes bigger than you originally thought. Half a day is the perfect calculation of time you need, perfect to spend an afternoon avoiding the scorching heat in downtown Las Vegas.
If you have a rental car, all you need to do is to follow directions to Boulder City and signs for the Hoover Dam will appear next. It will not take longer than 30 minutes until you reach the car parks so could not be any easier and straightforward that that; however for more information and history of the construction, check the Wikipedia site. The United States of America currency is the Dollar (USD, $). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
Information and tickets
The dam is open from 09.00 am through 18.00 pm daily. For full information and booking of advanced tickets you should visit their website. It is very advisable to book them in advance and have the confirmation printed with you. Then simply swap the confirmation for the final tickets at the pre-booked tickets counter, avoiding the queues which can get long as this is a very popular tourist attraction, and considering the weather it could be scorching hot. You don’t want to queue under such circumstances for too long.
It costs $11 to access the Visitor Center & Powerplant including a 30 minutes guided tour. Another options is an in-depth tour, costing $30. But most of the people go for the first option. The second one will take you more deep inside some tunnels, making not really a big difference with regards of what you are going to see one to another. While for one of the best views of the dam front in full and the maintenance lift cable car tower you can get to the roof of the car park and visitor centre building. Quite worth it overlooking also the Mike O’Callaghan Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge carrying Route 11.
Where to park at Hoover Dam
All the car parks you will come to see when you enter the site cost $7. But what people do not know is that there are some free car parks nearby All you need to do is drive past the main entrance, to the other side of the dam driving on top of it, and after the first car park you get to see (still charging $7), the next ones are fare free. Park wherever you see a space, and then walk back to the main entrance. This way, at least you will get to see the dam in full and walk on top of it rather than walking few steps before or after the visitor centre to take some shots.