VERY HOT!!!! GO DOWN TO THE BOTTOM AND OF COURSE TO THE MOVIE TO REALLY SEE HOW LONG AND HARD AND DANGEROUSLY THE MEN WORKED. THERE IS A LITTLE NOOK TO EAT BREAKFAST (THE COFFEE CUP) RIGHT BEFORE YOU ENTER THE DAM AREA.
THERE IS A LITTLE CAFE AT THE DAM TO EAT SOME LIGHT FOOD AND SNACKS.
The drive to the Hoover Dam is pretty nice, a real break from the glitz of Las Vegas. On the way to the famous dam, we saw a variety of cacti including the giant Joshua tree. This tree can withstand the heat of Nevada!
The lake is beautiful and parks are being built nearby while they are constructing a new bridge and roads passing through Hoover Dam to Arizona state. We were told the bridge will be done in 2008!
Only a half-hour drive from the Vegas strip, Lake Mead is a day trip that cannot be missed. I highly encourage renting a car for this excursion (see my transportation tip).
Lake Mead Marina offers rentals such as fishing boats, Sea-Doo's, pontoon boats, and ski boats. The prices per hour are very reasonable, and because a two-hour rental minimum is all that is required, you don't have to spend an entire day on the water. (Unless, of course, that's what you want to do!)
Nothing can be more peaceful than a day spent on the lake. You'll forget that you are only a short distance away from the excitement and crowds of the Vegas strip. Lake Mead is a beautiful, serene landscape that must not be missed.
Bring a cooler full of water (you'll need it!) and do not forget the sunscreen! Also, you may want to stop at a deli or convenience store on your drive to the lake and pick up some sandwiches so you can have a picnic lunch on the water!
If you come all the way to Las Vegas you owe it to yourself to also take the time to see the Hoover Dam, about a 30 min. drive away. I have an entire photo album dedicated to the Dam on my homepage. If you've seen it on tv, as most of us have, the real thing will really make an impression on you. It's sheer size alone is awe inspiring. From the Dam's top it is a mile down to the canyon. It is also an amazing feat of engineering. Our tour guide told us that the concrete in the Dam's center was still not yet fully dry because it is so thick! Though what impressed me even more than these things was the Dam's beauty. One of America's greatest landmarks, the entire structure is a gorgeous piece of art deco architecture, a virtual work of art.
There is a statue dedicated to the construction workers who built the Hoover Dam. During the building of the dam, there were thousands of constructions workers who fell down the ravine and died. Just imagine how dangerous and hazardous their job was! If you are looking down below the dam, it is probably about 300 feet!
During the time, the Hoover Dam was built, the construction workers had to cut the rocky mountains to be able to construct the road and the dam. They were using dynamites to blast the huge rocks. They were climbing the steep rocky mountain just using ropes tied to their bodies.
The statue is dedicated to these construction workers so we won't forget how they sacrificed their lives in order for the new generation to enjoy their lives today in the desert of Nevada and California. The builders re-routed the water and they were able to supply the electricity to these two states.
Next time, you see a neon light at the Strip of Las Vegas, you will give thanks and pray for these construction workers!
I am not a gambler so my one and only must-see activity tip on Las Vegas is Hoover Dam. Hoover Dam is located 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas on US Highway 93 at the Nevada-Arizona border. To use a technical term: it is humongous. It is also awesome.
What I find fascinating is that it took less than five years to build this structure. There were no roads then. It was (and is) a desert environment. The construction workers were tough, resilient men--heroes in my eyes.
Do you know that by walking a few feet that you will be in a different time zone? One half of the dam is in Nevada (Pacific Standard) while the other half is in Arizona (Mountain Standard). The top of the dam is actually a very busy road. From the dam, you'll have a nice view of Lake Mead.
The Hoover Dam was built on the time of the big economic crisis, in 1930, but it is still a milestone in the story of the architecture. The dam surpassed all engineering records when the consruction works finished in 1935. This was the so far highest dam, the most expensive and largest hydroelectric plant of all time.
Astonishing, but it was finished with two and a half years earlier and from less money, than planned. With the help of the Hoover dam became peopled the southwestern part of America, since was current and water supply already.
In several parts of Nevada, Arizona and South California even today this 221 metres high huge construction towering above the black canyon of the Colorado River insures the current and the water.
I myself took part in a flight excursion from Las Vegas without landing at Hoover Dam. Look at my transportation tip.
The busiest season for visitors is in the summer from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
Powerplant Tour Admission Fees: U$11.00, Seniors (62+) U$9.00, Juniors (ages 4-16) U$9.00. Tickets sold until 4:15 p.m.
Tours: Summer: first tour at 9:15am; last tour at 5:15pm. Winter: first tour at 9:15am; last tour at 4:15pm
the hoover dam is a very worth while side trip when in las vegas. the dam was originally called the boulder dam and was built in the 1930's. it was built on a narrow spot of the colorado river on the nevada/arizona state line. it is located about 25 miles southwest of las vegas by car or you can book a bus trip at any hotel on the strip. you can take tours of the interior of the dam.
lake mead was formed by the construction of hoover dam in the 1930's. this large lake is an oasis in the desert just east of las vegas. on the west shore of lake mead there are several marinas that offer restaurants, boating, and swimming opportuntities. a very nice place to visit in the summer to get away from the heat of las vegas. lake mead is located about 25 miles east of las vegas on US 93.
The Hoover Dam is still considered one of the engineering wonders of the world and is an amazing structure with a wonderful story. Apart from the engineering feat and amazing taming and using of the great Colorado River, two obscure facts make it even more marvelous:
1. The Colorado River Compact is an agreement concerning the division of waters and was signed by seven states and the federal government. Where could you find that many parties agreeing to anything these days?
2. The construction of the dam was completed two years ahead of schedule and well under budget. Wow! Unheard of!
Without going into all the figures and history, the Colorado had, for centuries, been either a flood or a trickle, wreaking havoc in the way of floods or inadequate flow for irrigation and the dam evidently does a great job of dealing with both problems providing water and power for millions of residents of the Southwest US. It appears that the ‘short end of the stick’ went to Mexico even though they were included via a treaty in 1944.
Even though it is basically a piece of infrastructure with a very utilitarian purpose, the dam and surroundings are also pleasant and enjoyable sights. The ones I enjoyed most are:
The plaza with wonderful art deco angels with soaring wings - greened brass except where tourists rub the toes for good luck.
The plaza floor with an stone inlaid astronomical design and a wonderful American eagle.
The art display inside the visitor center.
The turbines themselves.
All in all, a dam good place to visit!
when you visit hoover dam you can take a self guided tour of the interior of the dam for a small fee. pictured are the huge turbines at the base of hoover dam. a very interesting perspective of the this feat of 1930's engineering.
I can't say enough about it - just drive down and see it. Unfortunately the tour isn't what it used to be. When I first went about 6-7 years ago, the tour was pretty decent allowing you to walk into the deep underground tunnels and view control rooms, etc. Now the 'cheap' tour consists of a video, a ride down to see the turbines and that's about it. You can pay a lot more money and take the Discover Tour if you're dying to see more. This is no fault of the Dam - thanks to 9-11, the security is much tighter.
Check out the interesting sights outside and on top of the dam - and enjoy the warm sun and clear desert sky.