The Hoover Dam – Everything You Need to Know About Visiting

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The Hoover Dam was built in the 1930s, along the Colorado River, to provide hydroelectricity. Within the Black Canyon between Arizona and Nevada, the concrete structure is one of the Seven Industrial Wonders of the World. Before planning a trip to the giant dam, there are some pretty cool things you should know.

You Can Drive Over It

You Can Drive Over It

That’s right, given that the dam is over 600 feet thick at the bottom, there’s plenty of space for US 93 to set on top. It’s safe to say it may be one of the most unique drives in the US.

Drive Beside It

Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge was developed to reduce traffic on the main highway. Views from the bypass are naturally much better, so even if you want to go on 93, you should consider this route in addition. You’ll get some killer photos, and a pedestrian walkway allows folks to stop for a closer look. Oh, and it’s impressively the second highest bridge in the US at 900 feet.

Lake Mead
Beautiful blue waters at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona

Lake Mead

Ultimately formed by the dam, Lake Mead is a gorgeous and deep body of water surrounded by campgrounds and other lodging. Conveniently located near the Hoover Dam, it’s one of the best places to stay.

Of Course You Can Go Inside

The power plant tour is only $15 for adults, $12 for kids 4-16, and kids 3 and under get in free. Senior citizen and military rates are available too. The Dam Tours are priced separately and aren’t suitable for children. You cannot purchase Dam Tour tickets online, as they are first come first serve, but this is definitely the best tour as The Bureau of Reclamation also includes a look at the power plant and passageways for one $30 fee.

But Go to the Visitors Center First

But Go to the Visitors Center First

Here, you can make your reservations, and take a quick bathroom break. A parking garage and gift shop are also conveniently on site. Located at 81 Hoover Dam Access Rd., the visitors center itself is pretty awesome.

The Dam Keeps the River in Check

Before the dam’s construction, the Colorado River was wild and uncontrollable, often raging far beyond the banks destroying homes in Arizona and Nevada. While still clearly a beast, the river now remains tamed behind the mighty Hoover Dam.

Quick Tip: The desert climate means summers get very brutal, so dress accordingly, while protecting your skin with sunblock, hats and lightweight garments with good coverage. Bring plenty of water as well.

Best Time to Go

At the beginning of the year, specifically January and February, are the very best times to visit the Hoover Dam. Snagging a tour early or late in the day will cut down on crowdage too. Regardless, it’s a US site that must be on your bucket list.

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