The Hoover Dam (originally known as Boulder Dam) is an inspiring symbol of American engineering, built during America’s Great Depression as the then-largest dam construction project in the world. Travelers have flocked here for decades to see picturesque views of Lake Mead and the Colorado River, and today, the dam receives more than 1 million annual visitors.
The dam is a popular day trip destination from Las Vegas. Visitors can tour the power plant, learn how the dam generates and distributes electricity, and see stunning views of the surrounding riverways, canyons, and valleys. Tour options cover a wide range of interests—visit on a comedy bus, cruise in a Hummer, or even pair the trip with a stop at an outdoor shooting range. For an epic adventure, take in the sites on a helicopter tour or opt for a mountain biking excursion along the waterway. It’s also possible to visit on a combo tour along with the Grand Canyon’s West Rim, or combine a visit to Hoover Dam with a boat cruise on Lake Mead.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring sun protection, comfortable shoes, and plenty of water.
- A concession stand at the base of the dam’s parking garage offers a variety of food and drink options.
- The Hoover Dam Visitors Center and power plant tour are wheelchair accessible, but the dam tour is not accessible. Complimentary parking is available for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Hoover Dam is located 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Las Vegas, or 45 minutes by road, near the Arizona–Nevada border. The nearest airport is McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Parking can be found near the visitors center.
When to Get There
Because of the stifling desert heat in summer, spring and fall are the best times to visit the Hoover Dam. Expect long lines and heavy traffic on summer weekends; opt for an early morning visit to avoid crowds.
Inside Hoover Dam
A Hoover Dam tour features much more than just a 726-foot (221-meter) wall. Explore tunnels that were bored directly into the mountainside, hear the harrowing tales of workers who carved them out by hand, and tour the power plant. The Hoover Dam Visitors Center offers even more info about America’s most famous dam.