Experience the Thrills and Wonders of Hoover Dam with These Must-Do Activities When You Take a Hoover Dam Tours
At Hoover Dam, you can do more than meets the eye. As well as some great viewpoints, there are interesting sights and places nearby. See our top 8 recommendations for your Hoover Dam Tours below!
1. HOOVER DAM VISITOR CENTER
Your first stop when you take a Hoover Dam Tours is the Hoover Dam Visitor Center, where you can find restrooms, food, and information. The visitor center also has a parking lot, but it can get crowded depending on the time of day.
Here you can purchase a tour ticket and take a self-guided walk through the center’s narrated exhibits. A great way to learn about the history of the Hoover Dam and appreciate its heritage. Exhibits include maps, archival material, and models of the dam’s energy system and infrastructure. You can choose from 3 different tours:
- Self-Guided Visitor Center Tour: $10 (Visitor Center exhibits, observation deck)
- Guided Powerplant Tour: $15 (Visitor Center, observation deck, original construction tunnels, Nevada Powerhouse)
- Guided Dam Tour: $30 (Visitor Center, observation deck, original construction tunnels, Nevada Powerhouse, elevator ride to the top of the dam, inspection tunnels & ventilation shaft)
2. HOOVER DAM BRIDGE – MIKE O’CALLAGHAN – PAT TILLMAN MEMORIAL BRIDGE
Another cool thing to check out is the Hoover Dam Bridge. Also known as the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, this massive structure is a very impressive sight. It also offers some of the best and most unique views of the dam.
The building is named after former Nevada governor Mike O’Callaghan and soccer player Pat Tillman, who died while serving in Afghanistan. The arch bridge spans the Colorado River connecting Nevada and Arizona and is 1,900 feet long. Since its opening in 2010, the bridge has been the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere and, at 890 feet tall, is the second tallest bridge in the United States.
This bridge was the result of the Hoover Dam Bypass Project, which created a safe route across the dam. Today, you can walk across the bridge to get a different view of the Hoover Dam’s man-made structure and water level. You can also go by car, but you cannot see the dam from the car.
3. HOOVER DAM LOOKOUT – KINGMAN WASH
A sure way to enjoy your Hoover Dam Tours is to visit one or more of the lookouts. The Hoover Dam Lookout on the Arizona side of the dam offers breathtaking views of the Hoover Dam from above.
This is definitely the best way to understand the enormity of this structure. Simultaneously glimpse rapids, Lake Mead, Black Canyon, and the surrounding desert environment.
This viewpoint is easy to miss, but it’s worth it as it’s rarely crowded. To get there, follow the Hoover Dam Bridge into Arizona and take the Kingman Wash exit. There is a dirt access road that takes you about half a mile (0.5 miles) to a vantage point.
If you feel like it, follow this trail to see Fortification Hill, the Black Mesa, and the breathtaking expanse of the surrounding mountains.
4. LAKE MEAD AT HOOVER DAM
Next to a huge hydroelectric dam lies the blue waters of Lake Mead. This body of water was created by the construction of a dam. Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the largest of its kind in the United States.
Covering 247 square miles, Hoover Dam’s Lake Mead is a perfect contrast to the concrete and steel sections of the dam. The area is prime kayaking, boating, and swimming destination. For those who prefer land-based activities, there are hiking trails and several campsites here.
Plus, enjoy stunning 360-degree views of the reservoir on a self-guided tour of Lake Mead and Hoover Dam at the Visitor Center.
5. GOLD STRIKE HOT SPRINGS TRAIL
Another lesser-known Hoover Dam activity is the Gold Strike Hot Springs Trail. This 6-mile off-road hike is a little strenuous, but most people can easily complete the first mile or so. Bring plenty of water and snacks and dress appropriately for the weather.
This hike is one of the best activities at Hoover Dam. At several points along the route, you will have to climb over rocks or hold on to support ropes. Along the way through the Wash Gorge, you might come across scenic caves, natural pools, and bighorn sheep.
Some hot springs have dried up, but there are hot springs where you can swim and hot spring waterfalls. Definitely, one of the coolest spots near Hoover Dam so highly recommended.
6. HEMENWAY PARK
Turn off Highway 93 on the way to Hoover Dam and check out Hemenway Park. This short detour takes you to another top attraction near Hoover Dam. Here you can breathe in the fresh air, enjoy snacks and watch wildlife.
Hemenway Park in Boulder City, Nevada is a pleasant little green space best known for its large horn sheep herd. Fittingly, this is the state animal of Nevada, and you’ll often see these sheep grazing in parks or resting in the shade.
Park also has a playground, tennis courts, and picnic areas, making it a great place to take a short break before continuing your journey to the Lake Mead area.
7. NEVADA SOUTHERN RAILROAD MUSEUM & OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN BOULDER CITY
Boulder City has plenty of activities to do near the Hoover Dam. If you have time, I recommend spending a few hours here. One of his most popular attractions is the Nevada Southern Railroad Museum, which features historic train models dating back to the 1840s. You can also ride the 7-mile historic railroad and learn about the locomotive history of the area along the way.
Another cool spot near Hoover Dam is Bootleg Canyon Park. With cross-country and downhill trails that crisscross the desert landscape, it’s an ideal place for mountain biking. You can also hike here to find a great vantage point overlooking Lake Mead.
For a change of scenery, visit Veterans Memorial Park, a 25-acre green space. There are several playgrounds and courts, a three-acre fishing pond, a designated skate park, and trails for biking and hiking.
If you have time, check out the free Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum exhibits, or stroll through the cacti and desert shrubs at the Allan Bible Botanical Gardens.
8. GET STUNNING AERIAL VIEWS OF HOOVER DAM
Finally, make your visit to Hoover Dam extra special with the Hoover Dam Helicopter Tour. Nothing beats the aerial view of Hoover Dam. The best way to capture the grandeur of this structure.
It’s also worth noting that most Grand Canyon helicopter tours from Las Vegas fly over the Hoover Dam. This is perfect if you are traveling from Sin City and don’t mind just a helicopter ride over the Hoover Dam. We did this helicopter tour and got some great photos of the dam and canyon from above. It was a lot of fun and I recommend you see it for yourself!
If you’re in Las Vegas and you don’t want to rent a car, you can take one of these Hoover Dam tours from the Strip. We’ll take care of round-trip transportation, guides, and tickets. Some of these tours include extra stops at attractions along the way, so they’re perfect for a day trip.
The most popular one is this full or half-day tour with a shuttle service. It’s also included in the Las Vegas City Pass, one of the best Sightseeing Passes in Las Vegas.
You could also book a Hoover Dam helicopter tour and enjoy a narrated flight while soaring over one of the most famous U.S. landmarks.