Visiting the Hoover Dam is a popular day trip from Las Vegas. Considered one of the greatest engineering feats in the United States, it’s the most-visited dam in the world! According to the National Park Service, the dam sees around 7 million tourists per year and for good reason. This post will tell you all about how to visit the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas. Read on to plan your trip!
Pro Tip: Heading to Vegas soon? Bookmark this page to help you book one of the most iconic day trips from Vegas. Also, make sure you check out our complete list of cool day trips from Vegas to make sure your Sin City trip is one for the books!
Located a little less than 40 miles from the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, the Hoover Dam is a concrete dam in the Colorado River’s Black Canyon. Creating a dam in the Colorado River resulted in the creation of Lake Mead, another well-known lake in the Vegas area.
Built on the border between Nevada and Arizona, the Hoover Dam is capable of producing electrical power for 1.3 million people every year, according to the National Park Service. Construction on the dam began in 1931, and the materials included 45 million pounds of steel and 5 million barrels of cement.
The National Park Service website also mentions that building the Hoover Dam also led to the creation of an entire city. Boulder City was initially constructed just to house the thousands of workers who were constructing the dam.
Today, visitors flock to the Hoover Dam to tour the power plant or to rent kayaks to explore the dam by boat. People also love taking tours of the dam to learn all about its history.
Another popular activity is to visit the museums in Boulder City. After a busy day touring the museums and the dam itself, head over to the nearby Lake Mead for boating, fishing, or hiking. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know for your day trip to this iconic location.
Getting to the Hoover Dam
You have three options for getting to the Hoover Dam. You can drive or take a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber. Alternatively, you can arrive there by helicopter, which is a popular way to get here. Yes, we said helicopter! You can also take a guided tour with a hotel pickup. Here are the best ways as you plan your trip here.
By car or rideshare:
The Hoover Dam is around a 45-minute drive from the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. However, it may take a little longer during the summer when there is heavy traffic! Please note that the Hoover Dam does not have an exact address. Therefore, navigating there via a car may be difficult, but the GPS might recognize the landmarks of the dam or the Hoover Dam Visitors Center.
If you are taking a Lyft or other rideshare service, it will likely cost around $60 one way depending on the time of day.
If you are taking your own car, there is a parking garage located on the Nevada side of the Hoover Dam. The parking garage costs $10 in cash, but oversized or recreational vehicles must use the garages on the Arizona side after crossing the memorial bridge. These are a longer walk from the garage to the visitors center.
See the Hoover Dam from another angle by taking a helicopter tour! Especially for thrill-seekers, this option allows you excellent vantage points for taking photos of the famous dam. You can book a helicopter tour online or at one of the many kiosks on the Strip.
By guided tour:
Don’t have that much time in Vegas? Book a tour that allows you to explore both the power plant and the dam in one day. Many dam tours offer an additional attractions beyond the dam. For instance, most tours start with a hotel pickup, a visit to Hemenway Park, and a Lake Mead lookout for views of the famous lake.
Some tours, like the one below, also check out Seven Magic Mountains, a famous art installation that’s just 19 miles from the south end of the Strip and only 50 miles from the Hoover Dam.
Use our guide to find out whether a guided tour of the Hoover Dam is really worth it.
What To Do at the Hoover Dam
There are many things that you and your group can do when visiting the Hoover Dam! Get inspiration from our list below. You can pick just one activity or do several as your time permits.
Kayak at the Hoover Dam:
Kayaking around the dam’s waterways is a popular way to explore the dam. You can rent a kayak and peacefully paddle through the Colorado River. This is a great activity if you want to get away from the inevitable crowds who are also visiting the Hoover Dam.
Tour the dam:
Dam tours are offered daily and are a great option if you want to learn more information about the Hoover Dam! Start at the Hoover Dam Visitors Center and walk with a docent to learn all about the Hoover Dam’s history and snap photos from the observation deck.
Take a power plant tour:
Tour the power plant itself and see where the power is created that serves 1.3 million people every year! You will tour with a docent who can tell you all about the power plant and answer all your questions. You can purchase tickets for this tour as well as the dam tour at the Hoover Dam Visitors Center or online. We suggest getting them online ahead of time, as this is a popular activity.
Please note that both the dam and the power plant tour may be halted temporarily due to COVID-19, so call ahead of time or check the website before you book a tour.
Cross the iconic Memorial Bridge:
The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is considered another engineering feat. It was only recently built in 2010, so it’s a newer feature of the Hoover Dam. Spanning the Colorado River, the bridge makes for a great photo op. Just pose on top of it and say cheese!
Explore Lake Mead:
Lake Mead is just a 10-minute drive from the Hoover Dam Visitors Center. Once on the lake, you can rent wakeboards, kayaks, and jet skis, as well as go swimming or fishing! There are also hiking trails around the lake.
Spot sheep at Hemenway Park:
Located about a 12-minute drive from the Hoover Dam Visitors Center, Hemenway Park offers scenic views of Lake Mead with a picnic area. There is also a playground if your little ones are in tow. The best part of Hemenway Park, however, is the chance to spot bighorn sheep! These wild animals roam freely through the park during the spring, summer and early fall. Keep your distance, but bring your camera to take photos!