The Hoover Dam Tour
While You Are In Las Vegas Add This To Your List Of Things To Do!
I love to tour Hoover Dam and it is a place I would recommend to history buffs and folks who appreciate engineering marvels. It is also a great destination for a family with school aged children.The size alone of this man-made, wonder-of-the world is enough to strike awe in the hearts of all that visit.
Catch one of the tours and take a fascinating look inside this behemoth structure. There is a lot to see as you are about to find out!
Crowning the bottom of Lake Mead, The Dam is located just south of the city of Las Vegas off Highway 93. This is one of the many state parks in the Nevada area. It rests between the Nevada and Arizona state line. Located near a neat little town named Boulder City the structure was originally called Boulder Dam until September 1935 when it dedicated and re-named for President Hoover.
In my younger days, it was an adventurous place to take a motorcycle on a pleasant day. We would drive to the Arizona side and rest a bit, take in the view. It is a spectacular scene and a great ride!
I have taken many a visitor here throughout my career as a driver and always fun to see it again. I will be sharing many of my personal photos here and encourage you to add this to your list of things to see while you are visiting Las Vegas.
Shall we begin?
Details on dates and other references may be found here on Wikipedia: Hoover Dam
Books About Hoover Dam - On Kindle
Learn about the intriguing history of the Hoover Dam in these convenient books for your Kindle device. Follow this fascinating story and see how this project came to life in the Nevada desert. Blocking up the Colorado River created a power station that is among the largest dams in the world.
Frank Crowe is the man behind this huge construction project. His vision was certainly ahead of his time. 80 some odd years later, Hoover Dam is still operating at full speed and capacity.
Have You Ever Seen The Hoover Dam?
The Visitor's List - For Hoover Dam
People from around the world have this massive chunk of concrete on their list of things to do when they visit the States. Why? Because at one point in our history it was the largest dam in the world! It is still the largest man made water reservoir in the United States.
Plus, it's just hands down a cool place to visit!
Add your comments about your visit to this fantastic structure:
Photo Op: The Memorial Bridge
The Mike O' Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
This is the rest area of the Mike O' Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge Plaza, one of your first stops for sightseeing. This is the trail to the overlook. People from all walks of life can be found on the trails, walkways, and the grounds at the Dam.
The image below shows monks I saw on one of my visits. I love the way their robes stand out in the photo.
Wander up the steep trail so you can take pictures from the side of the Memorial Bridge. This view gives you a great angle and some fantastic vacation photos of this amazing structure.
*A word of caution about the facilities here. Wait until you get to the tour area to use the wash rooms. There is a wicked updraft in these latrines...
The Memorial Bridge Overlook Rest Area
Walking Trails In The Park
The Dam Bypass Bridge
The Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge opened in October of 2010. It was constructed to limit travel and bypass heavy traffic over the dam. It is now the only way to get to Arizona from Nevada in this area. The structure to your right is a pully system they used to transport concrete and supplies across the mountainous gap to build the dam.
On one of my travels to Arizona, I drove over the bridge just after it opened not realizing we were even on it. The bridge's sides are so high up you can't tell you are straddling the valley below. My passenger asked me on the return if we were going to drive on it. I thought about it for a minute. I think we came over it on the way in, was my reply. We sat as tall as we could when we approached it again.
All you can see is the top of the electric cable structures as you pass through!
Reference: Las Vegas Sun - Memorial Bridge Dedication
The Road To The Dam
As you come around the corner out of the Memorial Bridge plaza you will see walls of rock scored by markings. This is where they drilled holes for dynamite to blast out the road. This construction project was started in 1931 and was finished five years later in 1936.
These small lanes of road are steep and they wind quickly back and forth. Use caution when driving them, especially with a heavy vehicle. They are ideal motorcycle roads, but be mindful of the speed limit. The officers here are very strict about the laws and will write a nasty ticket, so be safe, always.
High Scaler Monument
History Channel Video
No one gives a history lesson better than the History Channel. This episode of Modern Marvels featured Hoover Dam and its triumphs. The event of this structure brought about many changes in the areas surrounding Las Vegas. I believe its construction contributed greatly to our city taking hold in the valley and becoming the mecca it is today. It certainly helped populate it with the workers that migrated here with their families.
Hoover Dam is a very large piece of machinery. Its construction in the 30's established it as a power generating super plant. It feeds electricity to California, Nevada, and Arizona. View the historical images, challenges of the construction, and many other fascinating features about this machine and monument,
Photographer, Souvenir Photos
And An Xray Machine
After you have paid your entrance fee and been processed through an x-ray machine you will find another photo opportunity. I believe they photograph everyone that visits. It is a security practice. A souvenir photo will be waiting for you when you exit the tour where you can purchase it with different backdrops and framing options.
They process visitors just like airport security. There is a list of prohibited items so leave everything but a few bucks, your ID, credit card, and camera in your vehicle. It is better than going through the hassle of having to retrieve it. You may bring water only for a beverage. Take note, there is no restroom under the surface, so prepare that before the decent.
The Entrance Tunnel - Begins Your Tour
If you are claustrophobic, this tour inside the structure may not be comfortable. The tour starts with an elevator decent that opens into a tunnel. It is going to make you very nervous if you do not care for these kinds of places. If this does not upset you, then you are going to be shown some extraordinary things! The tour guides lead you down the shafts through the pipework and into the works of this gigantic electrical power plant.
The tour kicks off with a short film about the building and history about Hoover Dam. From there you are escorted into various areas where your guide shares their knowledge with the tour party. The image below is our guide explaining how the dam actually works converting water power into electricity.
Interior Structure Of The Dam - Drawing
This is the interior structure of the dam and its systems. The is one of many fascinating things you will get a glimpse of with the interior tour. There is an elevator that drops you into the dam's belly and friendly tour guides that will tell you anything you want to know about this monumental feat of man. Hoover Dam diagram
Your Friendly Tour Guide
Cable And Concrete
The Dedication Plaque & Angels
Tips On Touring The Hoover Dam
The last interior tour for Hoover Dam is at 2:30 pm so make sure you are here well before then!
Please, give yourselves about 4 hours for the trip so you are not cut short on time.
You may still visit until sunset if you miss the last tour.
Thank you for taking a little time to explore one of my favorite features outside the city I live in. While this is a great tour be careful when coming out this direction in the summer time. It is hot. The concrete can be a little warm! Best to see this before 12 in the afternoon. This is a desert and staying properly hydrated while you are here is important. It will also help you see everything The Hoover Dam Tour has to offer!
© 2013 Maria Burgess