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Hoover Dam

Visiting Hoover Dam

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Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam and the O'Callaghan-Tillman Bridge

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  • Hours: Open daily except Thanksgiving1 and December 25
  • Reservations: Not required, but may be helpful during the busy season
  • Cost: Admission charged for the tour, parking fee
  • Location: 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas on the Nevada-Arizona border, see driving directions below
  • How Long: Allow two to three hours to see everything, an another hour to two to get there and back from Las Vegas
  • Best Time to Visit: Hoover Dam is less busy in January and February, and the first two tours of the day are always the least crowded. During the busy season (spring break and late May through early September), go early to avoid traffic jams. Any time of year, arrive by 2:00 p.m. or earlier to be sure you have time to see everything.
  • See It Now: Photo Tour

Hoover Dam Review

Hoover Dam may be one of the twentieth century's greatest engineering achievements, and its sheer size is one of the best reasons to go see it. Rising 726.4 feet from foundation to the roadway on top, it's built from over 6 million tons of concrete, enough to pave a highway 15 feet wide stretching from San Francisco to New York City.

In 2010, the dam was joined by a new engineering marvel, the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, built as a bypass to relieve traffic congestion going across the top of the dam. It straddles the Colorado River gorge just below the spillway. When it opened in October, 2010, it was the highest and longest arched concrete bridge in the Western Hemisphere and the second-highest bridge of any kind in the United States.

Hoover Dam Tours

You have three options for a Hoover Dam tour. You can buy tickets in advance for two of them.
  • Visitor Center: Good for the visitor center only, with no tour. Buy tickets online for a specific date and use them any time that day. Wheelchair/scooter accessible.

  • Powerplant Tour: Goes to the visitor center, inside the power plant, on the observation deck, past street level displays and on top of the dam. Takes about two hours and you can reserve in advance online.

  • Hoover Dam Tour: A longer tour that goes into more parts of the dam. It lasts longer and tickets can only be bought in person on site. \

Creature Comforts at Hoover Dam

  • Concession stands and souvenir shops can be found next to the parking garage.
  • Restrooms are located on the bottom level of the parking garage, the Theater level of the visitor center, next to the Exhibit Gallery and n the downstream face towers on top of the dam.
  • The visitor center and Powerplant Tour are wheelchair/scooter accessible (but the Hoover Dam Tour is not). You can rent wheelchairs in the parking garage.
  • Pedestrians are not allowed on the top of the dam after dark.
  • It gets hot here in the summer (over 100°F) and most of the best views are outside. Wear light clothing and a hat, use sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and drink lots of water.
  • Pets are not allowed anywhere at Hoover Dam and there are no kennel facilities.

A Word About the Bureau of Reclamation

While Hoover Dam is undeniably a noteworthy feat of engineering and construction, it sometimes feels like it's also a commercial for the Bureau of Reclamation. For a different view of their activities, read Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water by Marc Reisner.

Getting to Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam
General information: (702) 294-3517
Reservations: (702) 597-5970,(866) 291-TOUR or fax(702) 798-3651
Hoover Dam website
From Las Vegas, follow I-515 southeast. The Interstate highway becomes US Hwy 93, continue to follow it and exit at NV Hwy 172 for Hoover Dam. If you stay in Hwy 93, you'll go across the bridge - you can't stop on it and the sides are too high to prevent seeing anything from a passenger vehicle.

There's a 459-space parking garage (automobiles and motorcycles only) near the Visitor Center (parking fee charged). This garage is the most convenient place to park, and you can probably get a parking spot in the shade. The parking structure closes an hour after the visitor center.

You can drive across the dam to the free parking lots on the Arizona side of the dam - which is where you'll have to go if you're driving a larger vehicle - but the roadway on the Arizona side of the site has been closed and you'll have to go back across the dam whether you're going back to Las Vegas or continuing into Arizona.

If you're in Las Vegas without a car and want to go to Hoover Dam, you can reserve an express tour or a deluxe tour through Viator.com. You can print a voucher at home and they guarantee low rates.

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