Visit the impressive Hoover Dam
If you travel to the Grand Canyon, you can’t miss the Hoover Dam! Helicopter flights, bus tours and transport with your own rental car all lead you along the second largest dam in America. The Hoover Dam receives nearly 1 million visitors every year.
The Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Stock prices collapsed and there was a major economic downturn. Thousands of workers worked in appalling conditions on the dam, which was opened on March 1, 1936. The Hoover Dam is an impressive piece of engineering with a rich history. If you have the chance, definitely worth a visit on a Hoover Dam tour!
Helicopter flight over the Hoover Dam
You can have a fantastic view of the Hoover Dam from a helicopter. Virtually all helicopter flights from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon fly over the Hoover Dam. View all helicopter tours from Las Vegas via the below. On the tours you can see under ‘Features’ whether you are flying past the impressive Hoover Dam.
Hoover Dam Bus Tour
There is also a bus from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam Bus Tour picks you up from your hotel in Las Vegas and takes you to Hoover Dam in 45 minutes. You will be at the Hoover Dam for approximately 2 hours and there you will be given a tour of the impressive dam. At the end of the 4.5-hour bus tour, you will be transferred back to Las Vegas.
Single tickets for the Hoover Dam
Of course you can also visit the Hoover Dam on your own, for example with your rental car on the way to the Grand Canyon. Dam Square is easily accessible and there is good parking available. The Hoover Dam offers the tours through the dam that you can already book online. Saves another queue!
You get access to the visitors center with an exhibition, a 10-minute film about the Hoover Dam, a tour of the construction of the dam (accessible by an elevator that descends 160 meters) and access to “The Observation Deck”, with nice views over the dam and Lake Mead.
Visit the Hoover Dam
You can visit the Hoover Dam on any day of the week. The impressive dam near Las Vegas is open every day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Please note that new visitors are no longer allowed in after 4:15 PM and the last Hoover Dam tour departs at 3:45 PM. Hoover Dam is closed on holidays such as Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November) and Christmas.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can view the Hoover Dam from the outside, it won’t cost you anything. If you also want to visit the Hoover Dam, there are a number of tours available from 10 dollars. You can also book an organized bus tour from Las Vegas starting at $54 per person. And finally you can fly over the Hoover Dam with a helicopter from 200 to 300 dollars per person. Something for every budget!
You can park your car for 10 dollars in a parking garage near the Hoover Dam. You can also drive over the dam (to the Arizona side) and park your car for free in a few small parking lots. Parking is limited here, so you need to be lucky or arrive early at the Hoover Dam.
Are you coming with a motorhome? You cannot park this in the parking garage. Even then you have to drive over the Hoover Dam and park it on the Arizona side. A map with all parking options can be found on the Bureau of Reclamation website. You can also see on this map whether it concerns free or paid parking.
Arriving at the Hoover Dam you can do the Guided Dam Tour and Power Plant Tour. The Guided Dam Tour lasts one hour and the Power Plant Tour 30 minutes. In addition, you spend time in the Visitor Center and of course you want to admire the Dam from the outside. So you can enjoy a total of 2 to 4 hours in and around the Hoover Dam.
The Hoover Dam is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, excluding Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) and Christmas. The dam doors close at 4:15 PM and the last Hoover Dam tour departs at 3:45 PM.
The Hoover Dam is 726.4 feet high, or 221.4 meters.
The Hoover Dam was built between 1930 and 1936. The cost to build the Dam was $49 million. Today, this would amount to approximately $1 billion.
The Hoover Dam is located exactly on the border of Arizona and Nevada. So in the middle of the dam you are in two states at the same time. You are also in two time zones at the same time: in Nevada the Pacific Standard Time (PST) applies and in Arizona the Mountain Standard Time (MST). One hour time difference. How special is that?
Movie about the Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam history
Reason for construction Hoover Dam
For millions of years, the Colorado River flowed continuously from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. With its destructive power, the Colorado has over time left a very impressive landscape with the signature colossal canyons such as the Grand Canyon and the Black Canyon. The melting snow from the Rocky Mountains caused enormous influx into the Colorado resulting in flooding. Every spring again.
View from Hoover Dam
When settlements started to settle in the lower areas, this natural disaster led to nuisance and a lot of damage. Especially the farms that were located here had a lot to suffer from this. The tumultuous river had to be tamed.
That is why, in 1921, Herbert Hoover suggested the construction of what would then be called Boulder Dam (as the part of the Canyon of the same name: Boulder Canyon). Due to the involvement and efforts of the then Minister of Economic Affairs, the dam was given the name Hoover Dam. The final location is at the height of the Black Canyon. In addition to curbing periodic flooding, the dam could store the water for irrigation and use purposes. A self-sufficient dam that could generate an income from electricity generated by water.
Build Hoover Dam
In 1931 – by now Hoover had worked his way up to the 31st president of the United States – construction work on the giant dam began. Thousands of male workers (about 21,000) came with their families to the Black Canyon to tame the Colorado. During the Great Depression, conditions were particularly miserable to work in. Insufferable heat and a great lack of hygiene eventually led to the death of 96 people. This led to so much protest that the town of Boulder City was built at an accelerated pace.
Hoover Dam Completion
Construction of Hoover Dam was completed two years earlier than expected in 1936. What was special about the project was that the concrete was poured into vertical columns. This is for drying the material. The Hoover Dam contains 215 of those blocks which were then made into a monolithic whole using a special technique. All in all good for about 3.25 million cubic yards (= about 2.5 million liters) of concrete. That’s enough concrete to build a two-lane road from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida. Or a sidewalk of more than a meter wide around the world (!). In addition, approximately 5 million barrels of cement and 8.5 million worth of dynamite were used to build the foundation in the Canyon walls.
The Hoover Dam Project came just in time for Las Vegas. It gave a boost to the economy that it so desperately needed at the time. In their spare time, people in need of entertainment went to the nearby gambling capital to spend their hard-earned money there. In addition, the dam attracted tourists and tourism in Las Vegas also flourished.
A radical and intensive, but also successful project. Since its completion, the Hoover Dam has brought many benefits. With 3.0 million horsepower, the dam today generates 4 billion kWh annually. Enough to power 1.3 billion people in the states of Nevada (25%), Arizona (19%) and California (56%). In addition, the Hoover Dam provides water to as many as 22 million people in these states.
A by-product of the Hoover Dam is Lake Mead: a 640 km2 reservoir behind the dam that extends 177 kilometers beyond the dam. A maximum depth of 149 meters makes the volume of this huge lake add up to 35.2 km³. With a total coastline of 885 km, it is the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the United States (and the 16th largest in the world). The lake is named after Elwood Mead, head of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation when Hoover Dam was built. He oversaw the project.
The lake is located at a point where three desert ecosystems converge: the Mojave, Great Basin, and the Sonoran deserts. The surrounding area therefore contains a very diverse flora and fauna, some species of which can only be found there. You will also find impressive lava hills, which are 6 million years old. Due to the creation of the lake after the construction of the dam, several surrounding villages had to be evacuated. Depending on the water level, ruins of these places are visible.