The country is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the world and the United States of America’s infrastructure. One significant stop is the Hoover Dam. The dam is full of wonder, history, and purpose, as it collects and supports water for various cities nearby. As a first-timer, use this complete guide when visiting the Hoover Dam so that you take the best photos and feel prepared while there.
Brief Hoover Dam History
The Hoover Dam, formerly known as Boulder Dam, supported the Colorado River and helped create Lake Mead. In 1931, the contractors completing the build had only seven years to finish.
By May 1935, they had finished all the concrete placements and were ready to place the dam’s features. And in March 1936, they installed the features, completing the dam and beating the seven-year time constraint. The primary objective for dam completion was to supply and support southern California with ample water, in addition to irrigation and flood management.
Nearby the dam, Boulder City emerged as a place to house the contractors working on the dam project. It is the only active city where gambling is illegal in the state of Nevada. Instead, visitors of Boulder City can enjoy breathtaking views only a short distance from the dam, one-of-a-kind dining experiences, and antique shopping.
Why You Should Visit the Hoover Dam
From its creation through current day, the Hoover Dam remains a predominant tourist attraction for people worldwide. Images, whether professional or pixelated, never do its grandeur adequate justice. Seeing the scale and architecture in person is unlike any other experience.
Tourists of all ages and demographic backgrounds should visit the Hoover Dam at least once in their lifetime to say they saw the brilliance and objectives firsthand. In addition to witnessing the dam’s water supply process and functionality, visitors can cross into Arizona and back into Nevada with a short walk across the dam bridge. The Hoover Dam is 100 percent worth adding to the bucket list and is easily one of the country’s most affordable yet iconic tourist spots.
Pack Your Bag Properly
Now that you know the Hoover Dam is a must-see, it’s time to pack a bag and head there for a visit. However, you’ll want to prepare beforehand. Rightfully so, you may feel inclined to pack a sun hat. But you should understand the dam is incredibly windy, and one swift gust can take your hat for an adventure in Lake Mead. So, either pack a hat with a chin strap or consider a different form of sun protection for the walk around the dam.
However, you should consider sunscreen regardless of the time of year. There is very little shade, and most good sights require being outdoors. Depending on the time of year, you will want to layer your clothing with a jacket or long-sleeve sweatshirt. You’ll appreciate this extra layer when the wind gusts whip through the dam on a chilly day.
The dam also allows water bottles and cameras, but the site prohibits drones, canned beverages, and knives. It’s best to leave these items in your hotel room to avoid issues upon entry. This is a government-operated location, so you are subject to security checkpoints at the entrance.
Plan To Be Gone for Half the Day
When booking your Hoover Dam bus tour from Las Vegas, you should plan to be gone for half the day or a little longer. The drive to and from the dam takes about an hour one way. Plus, the bus is full of people with the same interests, and ensuring everyone hears, sees, and experiences the dam fully can take a few hours. There is a lot to see, and capturing the best views possible requires patience with crowds and time spent walking around the massive complex.
The inclusive tour features a stop at the Visitor Center, access to the dam’s engine room, a 45-minute tour of the dam’s vastness, and a meal at a nearby restaurant. After accounting for each activity and everyone included, the tour will take up half or more of your day. It’s wise not to make other plans back in Vegas until after 4:00 p.m. PST to allow ample time between activities.
Capturing the Best Views
While there, you’ll find yourself capturing as many angles and views as possible with your camera or mobile device. These devices are acceptable on-site, and you’re free to capture what you can, where you can. But why not capture the best view possible? Below we explore some of the best locations to hit to create an all-encompassing photo of the dam, mountain rock, water, and blue sky. While these images may never do the experience justice, it’ll be cool to capture the moments that take your breath away.
For the adventurous, the Pat Tillman Memorial Pedestrian Bridge is the best perspective of the dam as a whole. You can view the dam, the surrounding mountains, and Lake Mead from here. If you’re afraid of heights, the pedestrian bridge would not be a good fit for you—it’s the tallest vantage point that looks down at the dam and all its splendor. The bridge is functioning and open to highway traffic, so it’s critical to remain close to the pedestrian railing available.
The observation deck is another great viewpoint, but it’s open to self-guided tourists and often has large crowds. If the Memorial Bridge is a bit of a risk for you, the observation deck will suffice. Here, you can take in the Hoover Dam from behind a glass window and get a glimpse of the steep drop into the dam. The observation deck is the ideal location to grab a selfie with the dam filling the background.
The bypass trail is not actually a trail but instead a paved walkway connecting a primary parking garage to the dam. The crowds along the trail are difficult to beat, but the trail is incredibly accessible and offers excellent vantage points of the dam.
See the Hoover Dam With Comedy on Deck
With this complete first-timer’s guide to visiting the Hoover Dam, you’re ready to take off on an adventure. Comedy on Deck features full experiences to the dam from Vegas, with meals included. We operate 365 days a year with distinct access to the dam’s most exclusive features. Book your tour today to get started!