Hoover Dam Day Tours
Hoover Dam is a Must See in Nevada
If you're ever in Las Vegas make sure you get out and see the Hoover Dam, it's approximately 34 Miles from Las Vegas or around 54 Km. It was constructed between 1931 - 1936 and was once known as the Boulder Dam.
According to the information that I have found there were 112 deaths associated with the construction of the Dam. There are tales that some workers fell to their death and remain buried in the dam, do think we even heard that from one of the Tour Guides, but I have done some looking and I think that may be a non fact.
When you go out take your time to see all the wonders of the Hoover Dam. Make sure you take a lot of water with you, especially if going in July as we did. If you find you did not bring enough to drink there is a gift shop where you can buy a variety of different souvenirs or just a cold drink.
We booked our tour with Pink Jeep out of Las Vegas, we took the first tour of the day in an attempt to try and beat the worst heat of the day. We got to see the inner workings of the dam and we also went on a short raft ride at the base of the Dam.
Update April 2011: I miss Las Vegas, there is so much to do there. Perhaps I am only seriously tired of winter but I've been to Las Vegas a few times and will always want to return to visit so I can see more of the sites.
An FYI on the Hoover Dam Bypass; the Bypass opened for traffic on the evening of October 19th, 2010. We were there in July of 2010 so it wasn't open yet, at the point we had to through a security check point, which was a guy who got to stand under a tend shade if no one was coming through. I would say that is one heck of a hot job! It was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit that day (over 37C if you're metric).
Lake Mead Water Level
Lake Mead was formed with the construction of the Hoover Dam and is the largest reservoir in the United States. You can see how the water line has dropped in the pictures to the right, levels are dropping due the high rate of water consumption and less snow and rainfall in the Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah Rocky Mountains. There are other factors which come in to play such as evaporation, if you want more information on the water crisis I recommend reading up a bit more at this Hub.
We went out there in July and it was quite warm, okay it was darned hot, a bit over 100o F. Your tour company will provide you with plenty of water, as a matter of fact they force it on you and will not let you go further unless you have water with you, no sharing, must have your own bottle of water. They have had people pass out on them due to the heat and not consuming enough fluids to properly hydrate the body.
We were given the opportunity to take quite a few great shots of the Hoover Dam both outside and inside. We took an elevator ride down into the inner workings of the dam, some of those photos you will see here.
You will see there is a man in the top corner of the photo so you can imagine the size of these machines inside the dam. Does a person get used to hundreds of tourists looking at you while you are doing your job daily to maintain the Hoover Dam equipment?
They take you down to the bottom of the Hoover Dam in groups, of as far as I can remember around 20, in an elevator to view the machinery that runs the dam and generates the power. Before you go down they fill you in on the history of the Hoover Dam, when it was built and why. Just a note to remember: When we went the Tour Company you came with can not go down into the Dam with you, you are given over to Tour Guides who work directly at or for the Hoover Dam.
Hoover Dam Base Raft Tour
I would strongly recommend taking a little raft trip at the base of the Dam, I think it was the best part of the tour myself. It was so dang hot to sit on that rubber raft at first but the fellow who runs the raft he has this bucket of cold water and he gives you these cloths you can wet and cool yourself off with, course you have your bottled water with you to drink too.
The fellow who drives/steers the raft, he was a humorous chap, he gave us a lot more info on the Hoover Dam and we got to see the beauty of nature down there. He pointed out things to us in the sides of the hills where they used to build, there are still openings you can see and photograph if you like.
Oh yes, life jackets you can wear one, he does have them, but you do not have to wear them if you don't want to. As hot as it was I must say that I was still very happy to see the base of the Dam. I did get many other photos but, too many to put on here.
I did add in a photo of the new bridge from down below, it looks so tiny from the vantage point we were at. We were at Hoover Dam in July 2010 and the bridge was not yet open but from what I have read I do believe it is open to traffic now.
A hot job for security There was another interesting thing I found just before we got in to see Hoover Dam, there was a security stop station and the poor fellow just had a tent on the ground outside to offer him a bit of shade. Surely he did it at least five days a week and he was most likely a lot more used to the heat than us northerners.