Amazing Day Trip to Hoover Dam From Las Vegas

We’ve been either visiting or living in Las Vegas for years, and in all this time we had never visited Hoover Dam. When we moved back to the area about eight months ago, access to the dam was restricted. And for the following seven months you couldn’t get anywhere near it because of Covid restrictions. So, when Hoover Dam finally opened back up we made it a point to be there that week. The closest we had ever been to the Dam was thousands of feet above while flying into Las Vegas. Getting to seeing this engineering marvel in person made for an amazing day trip from Las Vegas. If you have a chance to take a day trip to Hoover Dam while in town we recommend you do it.

Getting to Hoover Dam From Las Vegas

Hoover Dam isn’t far from Las Vegas at all. In fact, it’s about a 30 minute drive. So, after we finally decided to visit, we were left asking ourselves why we had never made the drive before. You can either make the quick drive to towards Boulder City yourself, or take advantage of tours that are available. We’ve heard great things about the Hoover Dam Small Group Walking Tour. It’s great to explore by yourself, but the education provided by the tours can’t be beat.

Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Hoover Dam Bridge Parking
Hoover Dam Bridge Parking Way Down There

Our first stop after passing through Hoover Dam security was the towering bridge that soars nearly 1,000 feet above the Colorado river below. This is where we got our first glimpse of Hoover Dam after all these years of ignoring it. The bridge itself is an amazing experience and shouldn’t be passed by on any trip to Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam Educational Signs at the Bridge
Hoover Dam Educational Signs at the Bridge

We parked in the large parking lot below what seemed like a never ending amount of stairs. When we finally reached the top we were greeted with signs showings the history of the area and construction of this magnificent bridge. We love that the kids like to stop and read these educational signs whenever we visit places like this.

Hoover Dam Bridge

After taking in some history, it was time to make our way onto the bridge. We aren’t normally scared of heights, but this thing is really up there. If you’re not to fond of being up so high than this experience might not be for you. However, we think everyone should try to overcome any fear they might have. Walking across the Hoover Dam bridge is something everyone should do. The views of the dam and the surrounding landscapes are unbelievable. There aren’t many places in the world that offer a view or experience like this.

View of Hoover Dam from the Bridge
View of Hoover Dam from the Bridge

Down to Hoover Dam We Go

After spending time on the Bridge and seeing the Dam from afar, it was time to get up close and personal with it. The drive from the bridge parking lot to the Dam isn’t long at all. We made our way down and drove across the Dam to the Arizona side to park. As we started our walk from the parking lot it really started to sink in how absolutely massive Hoover Dam really is. From the spillways, to the water intakes, and of course the Dam itself. The sheer size of the entire complex was beyond what we had even imagined.

Hoover Dam Spillway
Hoover Dam Spillway

To give you an idea of how massive just the Hoover Dam spillways are. There is one spillway on each side of the Dam, and each spillway is large enough to handle the same amount of water as the flow of Niagara Falls. That is a lot of water! Of course, these spillways haven’t been used in decades because the water level of Lake Mead is so low. Although it would be pretty cool to see them in action, the couple times they were actually needed the extreme force of the water caused damage to the spillway tunnels. We’ll settle for seeing the water level rise closer to the top of the intake towers.

Hoover Dam Water Intake Towers
Hoover Dam Water Intake Towers

Not that we weren’t impressed with the spillways or intake towers, but the actual Dam itself is even more impressive. During this trip to Hoover Dam we spent about an hour just walking around the Dam complex. The inside tours were still closed at the time, but getting to experience the Dam from the outside was worth the trip. We plan to return as soon as we can to tour the inside.

Looking down Hoover Dam
Looking Down Hoover Dam

If you thought you left your fear of heights at the bridge, then don’t look over the edge of Hoover Dam. The wall separating you and a long fall to the bottom isn’t that high. So, if you’re visiting with kids you’ll want to keep an eye on them. The views from up here are just as spectacular as the bridge. On one side you get to see Lake Mead and it’s bathtub ring, and on the other you get to see how high that bridge actually is.

Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
View of the Bridge from Hoover Dam

We’ll Be Back Hoover Dam!

Visiting Hoover Dam was one of the best day trips from Las Vegas that we have taken. And when we get the chance we will return for another visit. No one in this family has ever been in a helicopter, so for another visit we’re considering the Vegas Strip and Hoover Dam Helicopter Tour. It’s a good way to combine a couple cool experiences into one. However you decide to visit Hoover Dam will be worth it. We’re all happy that after all these years we finally made the short drive from Las Vegas to this awesome place.

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