Hoover Dam/Lake Mead, Las Vegas
The impressive Hoover Dam is located approximately 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas. This dam, which was built in the 1930's during the Great Depression, is enormous and tall. Its location in a canyon, the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, makes a beautiful sight. The surrounding desert and extreme heat give you the impression of how tough it was to build this structure and the pain and suffering of the workers. Parking at the dam is $5 and a complete guided tour is $10 per adult. Take I-515 east/south from Las Vegas; it later becomes U.S. Highway 93 South which will lead to Hoover Dam at the Nevada/Arizona border.
Listed below are some intresting facts about the dam. Read it and weap!
Hoover Dam (formerly Boulder Canyon Dam)
Location: Black Canyon, Arizona-Nevada Border, USA
Date Started: May 1931 (first drilling of diversion tunnels)
Date Finished: March 1936 (two years ahead of schedule)
Height: 727 ft
Length: 1282 ft (at crest)
Base Thickness: 660 ft
Crest Thickness: 45 ft
Dam Type: Arch-Gravity
Power Output: 4 million kilowatt-hours per year
Resevoir Capacity: 1.24 trillion cubic ft (Lake Mead)
Cost: $165 million
Construction Company: Six Companies Inc.
Power Distribution: 36% to pump water to California, 13% to Los Angeles, 6% to other Southern California cities, 9% to Southern California Edison Company, 18% to Arizona, and 18% to Nevada
- Before actual dam construction could begin, 4 diversion tunnels had to be constructed to divert the Colorado River
- The dam's two 230 ft tall wings house 17 generators
- The dam has 4, 375 ft intake towers to take water in from Lake Mead for use
- The dam flooded for 2 months in 1983
- 590 miles of piping were used to cool the cement during construction
- Piping caused the dam to cool in only 20 months as opposed to the 150 years it would have taken naturally
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Hoover dam is on the border between NV and AZ. If you go to the line in the middle of the dam.......you can have one foot in each state. The tour is interesting if you are into history or engineering and takes approximately 30-45 minutes. There are many tour companies that run daily trips with pickups at most hotels. If you are going to drive yourself, go early in the day as the parking garage fills up quickly.
The Hoover Dam was constructed by the WPA over a 5 year span from April 1931 to May 1935. At over 746 feet it stands to this day as one of America's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders, drawing visitors from all over the world annually. Any visit to the Hoover Dam would not be complete without a tour of the facilities, which includes a museum and film highlighting the history of the dam as well as an intimate look into the inner workings of the dam itself. Self guided tours are available every day of the year (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 9 am to 5 pm. All passenger cars are able to drive across the dam, but it is forbidden to stop. Pedestrians are allowed on the dam during daylight hours only. The Hoover Dam is located 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas on highway 93 and straddles the Nevada / Arizona border. The Visitors Center is located on the Nevada side of the dam.
Tickets: Adults $10, Seniors: $8, Children (7 – 16): $5 (Children under 6 are free)
Parking: $5 (cash only)
Directions From Las Vegas: Head southeast on I-515. I-515 turns into US-93. Continue on US-93 until you reach the Dam.
If you visit one spot off the Strip, it would have to be Hoover Dam. Me, I've actually never taken the dam tour, although it is something I would like to do. No, I've only visited the dam and walked across from Nevada into Arizona. I wish they had the stateline painted on the road like in "Fools Rush In". Shame.
The arrow in the picture points to one of those wacky electric towers they build at an angle in that area. Strange.
One of the treasures of Southern Nevada is Lake Mead, which was formed by the completion of Hoover Dam. There are diverse opportunities to get out on the lake itself as well as numerous trails in the national recreation area, several of which are located near metro Las Vegas.
My favorite trail - and a rather simple one, if you must know - is the Railroad Tunnel Trail which begins down the hill from the Alan Bible Visitor Center off Highway 93 (in between Hoover Dam and Boulder City).
It is a very level trail skirting high above the lake that runs for about two miles through five old railroad tunnels. Very cool.
Near Vegas is the Hoover Dam. This tour is defintely worth checking out. Hell, it's one of the 8 world wonders, need anymore be said about it. They show a short film about the dam, and provide a guided tour. I highly recommend for anyone taking a Vegas vacation to make the time for this tour.
'But it's only a dam' I hear you say...
Ok, so it's not totally undiscovered exactly... But it's still well worth the trip south of Las Vegas. The drive there goes through some impressive landscape too.
While there is in fact a visitors centre, it's enough just to walk around the dam and marvel at just how enormous the thing is. The views are incredible. All round very impressive.
Lake Mead is just a short trip from Las Vegas. The 100 mile lake, which was created by the Hoover Dam, is an oasis of sorts, especially in the summer. The lake contains a resort area and marina which provides cruises and other opportunities for water based recreation.
Since I visited in late November and on one of the 60 or so not sunny days of the year, I didn't spend much time here. Freezing rain is not the ideal condition for a boat trip around a lake. But I figured I'd mention it as its a popular excursion for those seeking to leave the glittering excess of Las Vegas behind.
The Hoover Dam is a short day trip from Las Vegas. The dam took 5 years to build and now supplies power to 5 states. Tours of the dam are offered and are highly recommended. Since I visited on one of the worst weather days of the year, I skipped the tour. But its worth the 1/2 hour drive out here, even if its only to drive across the dam and see the view from 1200 feet. Its been described quite accurately as an engineering marvel, and it lives up to that comment.
For those visiting Vegas without renting a car, tours to the dam are offered by various companies.
Thanks to the Hoover Dam, the waters of the Colorado River filled the deep canyons which used to tower above it and created Lake Mead.
Today the lake is a popular spot for boating, fishing, waterskiing and sailing. There are also many campgrounds and marinas in the area.
We encountered this marvelous viewpoint near Boulder City en route to Hoover Dam.
The colossal Hoover Dam was completed in 1935 giving this desert region and Las Vegas a reliable water supply from the Colorado River and inexpensive electricity to boot.
It is a very impressive structure and definitely worth a visit if you are heading eastward to the Grand Canyon. You can take a $10 tour of the facilities (print your own discount coupon from the website for $1 off) or you can just walk over the dam and view it from both the Nevada and Arizona sides of the canyon.
Here's another money saving tip: park your car on the Arizona side, there is plenty of free parking here and you will enjoy the views as you walk across the dam to the visitor's centre. Parking on the Nevada side is $5.
Notice in the photo how low the water level is. Apparantly it is 50 feet lower than it should be due to an eight year drought in the region. The dam has lost 40% of its generating power because of this.
Sidewalk Cafe, Boulder City
This is a Great litle cafe to stop at if your visiting Hoover Dam, they do wonderful sandwiches and you can sit on the sidewalk/pavement and watch the world go by as a soft mist of water helps you cool off.
538 Nevada way.
There are quite a few off roading trails around Lake Mead, we took our Jeep around to explore them. We were the only ones in the area and since it was about 115 degrees F, we found a perfect secluded spot for a skinny dip! :D
We had our rental jeep and we drove out to Hoover Dam. It was quite someting to see. Afterwards, we went to Arizona to explore a bit and came across this little place called Willow Beach Harbor where we rented a speed boat. It's located on the Colorado river below the Dam. You can drive your boat almost up to the dam through these great canyons, very cool!