Top 10 Things to Do When Visiting the Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam is one of the greatest feats of engineering in the United States, and it is still among the most iconic structures of the Southwest today. The Hoover Dam was constructed in the 1930s. It is a National Historic Landmark and considered to be one of the Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders. The Hoover Dam is a top destination for visitors, and many say a trip to Las Vegas isn’t complete without paying the Dam a visit. From water to air, there are many ways to incorporate a visit to the Dam into your plans.
1). Kayak the Hoover Dam
If you want to explore the Hoover Dam while getting away from the crowds, a Las Vegas kayak tour of the Hoover Dam is a perfect activity. You can kayak Hoover Dam with Blazin’ Paddles, where you’ll find many options to explore the natural areas around Las Vegas by boat. One of the best ways to get a personalized tour of the Hoover Dam is through a day tour that takes you on a scenic journey down the Colorado River. Along with getting great views of the Dam, you’ll travel through the Black Canyon by boat and learn about the area’s natural history as you go along. For convenience, Blazin’ Paddles even has a complimentary shuttle with convenient pickup points along the Las Vegas Strip.
2). Schedule a Power Plant Tour
The Power Plant Tour is one of two tours that you can join to learn more about the Hoover Dam. Note that tours run from 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM daily, and they start at the Visitor Center. With the Power Plant Tour you can (and should) purchase tickets in advance. Tickets are available online. The Power Plant Tour starts with an introductory video of the Hoover Dam’s history, followed by a 30-minute guided walk out to an observation deck. The tour then proceeds to the Nevada wing, which is a publicly accessible part of the Power Plant. This tour also includes a presentation at the Original Exhibit Building that dates back to the 1940s.
3). Take a Guided Dam Tour
The Guided Dam Tour is another option for those who want to learn more about the history of the Hoover Dam. The Guided Dam Tour is a longer tour with a minimum age requirement of eight years. The Guided Dam Tour also begins with a brief introductory video explaining the history of the Dam. The tour continues with a one-hour guided walking tour out to an observation platform overlooking the Power Plant. You’ll pass through the Power Plant on this tour, and you will also stop at the inspection tunnel. The tour concludes with a presentation at the Original Exhibit Building, which was built not long after the Hoover Dam was constructed.
4). Check out Lake Mead
If you’re paying a visit to the Hoover Dam, you may also want to include a visit to Lake Mead. Lake Mead was formed by the Hoover Dam. It is a vast reservoir that is also the country’s first and largest recreation areas. Lake Mead is another prime spot for kayaking. The reservoir is also open for fishing, boating, and swimming. Hiking and camping are available along the perimeter of Lake Mead. Be sure to bring a camera when you go, as you’ll get stunning views of the park’s valleys, canyons, and mountains along with its majestic blue waters.
5). Cross the Memorial Bridge
Although the Hoover Dam is considered the main attraction, another engineering marvel at the park is the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. The bridge is comparatively new in relation to the Dam. It was constructed in 2010 and spans the Colorado River to connect the Dam on the Nevada and Colorado sides. If you’re looking for a great photo opp, you can pause for a picture at the “Welcome to Nevada” sign on the bridge.
6). Catch a Glimpse of Bighorn Sheep
Although the Hoover Dam is a man-made attraction, there is no shortage of opportunities to enjoy great wildlife sightings nearby. Resident Bighorn sheep are a common sight at the Hoover Dam. You can spot them from the Memorial Bridge, hiking around Lake Mead, or on a kayak Hoover Dam tour.
7). Stop at the Visitor Center
The Visitor Center at the Hoover Dam is a natural stopping point for many visitors. The Visitor Center offers restrooms, a cafe, and a gift shop. You can join tours from the Visitor Center and have the opportunity to learn more about the Dam’s history at your own pace with topographical maps and other historical information located onsite.
8). Visit the Boulder Dam Hotel
The Boulder Dam Hotel is located in nearby Boulder City. The Hotel was constructed in 1933, just a few years before the Dam’s construction was complete. The Boulder Dam Hotel originally provided lodging for construction workers as they finished work on the Dam. The Hotel remains operational today, and it has over 20 guest rooms available for rent. The Boulder Dam Hotel also includes an art gallery and a restaurant.
9). Take a Self-Guided Audio Tour
If you want to take a tour of the Hoover Dam but do so at your own speed, consider a self-guided audio walking tour. A tour called Walk BC is available for those who want to learn more about the history of Hoover Dam and the adjacent Boulder City. The tour takes you through the Hoover Dam and the historic district of Boulder City, which is in the National Register of Historic Places.
10.) Visit Boulder City
Boulder City is also worth a visit if you’re exploring Hoover Dam. Boulder City contains several historical landmarks along with museums dedicated to the town itself and the Hoover Dam. Boulder City also has wonderful restaurants and shops that provide great opportunities for an afternoon of urban exploration and relaxation.
From the water to the sky, there are many unique and memorable ways to explore Hoover Dam and the surrounding area. Don’t hesitate to contact the friendly staff at Blazin’ Paddles if you want to add a kayaking tour of the Hoover Dam to your list of Las Vegas activities.