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Answers You Want to Know About Hoover Dam

What’s Hoover Dam?

Hoover Dam was built to control flooding of the Colorado River in through the agricultural region of California and Arizona.  It created Lake Mead, a massive man-made reservoir.  It is located about 45 minutes from Las Vegas.  Hoover Dam also generates electricity for the surrounding states.  Visitors can visit Hoover Dam to experience the magnificent structure and learn more about its history and purpose.

 

Where is Hoover Dam?

Hoover Dam is located about 45 minutes from Las Vegas, and is an easy Day Trip from Las Vegas.  It is on the state border of Nevada and Arizona.

 

Why did they build Hoover Dam?

Although many people believe the primary reason to build Hoover Dam was to generate electricity, its primary purpose was to control the flooding of the Colorado River through agricultural California. Secondary reasons for the dam were to produce electricity and provide drinking water. 

 

How do I get to Hoover Dam?

Hoover Dam is less than an hour’s drive from Las Vegas.  It is in the area of Boulder City, Nevada. There is a shuttle to Boulder City available as well as Day Tours to Hoover Dam

 

Is Hoover Dam for kids?

Hoover Dam is great for kids.  It is visually stunning and there is much to learn with plenty of walking around. This is a good learning experience, which should generate a lot of questions. 

 

Hoover Dam is on what river?

Hoover dam is built on the Colorado River, and created Lake Mead, the man-made reservoir. 

 

Hoover Dam is in what state?

Hoover Dam is in both Nevada and Arizona, built on the state line.

 

How far is Hoover Dam from Las Vegas?

Hoover Dam is about 37 miles from Las Vegas Strip, about a 45-minute drive. 

 

Where is the Hoover Dam Overlook?

The best overlook is high above the Colorado River, offering excellent views of the Hoover Dam.  It is the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. This 1,060-foot main span is the world’s tallest concrete arch span bridge. There is a pedestrian walkway that offers spectacular views from above the Hoover Dam.  There are also overlooks from across the dam, on the Arizona side.  These are included in the Hoover Dam Highlights Tour from Las Vegas. 

 

Is there a Hoover Dam Restaurant?

Yes, there is the Hoover Dam Café, offering sandwiches, salads and sides, convenient during a visit to the Hoover Dam. 

 

Where is the Hoover Dam Museum?

The Hoover Dam Museum is located inside the Boulder Dam Hotel, in the Historic District of Boulder City.  It has some excellent displays and portrays the story of building the dam and the history of the area.  The Museum is free. 

 

Boulder Dam vs. Hoover Dam

Originally called Boulder Dam, Hoover Dam had a name change.  In April 1947, President Harry Truman approved a congressional resolution that officially renamed it to Hoover Dam.

 

When was Hoover Dam built?

Hoover Dam was built in the 1930’s amid the Great Depression, which provided an opportunity for many laborers to be available to work on the incredible project.  Hoover Dam was completed ahead of schedule in 1936. 

 

When is Hoover Dam open?

Hoover Dam is open year-round, and tours run daily.  Tours inside the dam were paused in 2020, and hopefully will resume in 2021.  Meanwhile visitors can access other areas on and around the dam.

 

Is Hoover Dam a National Park?

Hoover Dam is not part of the National Park System, but is part of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.  Next to the Hoover Dam area is Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which is part of the National Park System. 

 

Is Hoover Dam open for tourists?

Yes, Hoover Dam is open for visitors.  Guests can walk across the dam, enjoy different viewpoints, and even take tours inside the dam to visit the generator room (which has been temporarily closed since March, 2020). There is also a gift shop and café.

 

How far is Hoover Dam from Las Vegas?

It is about a 45-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip to Hoover Dam and Boulder City.

 

What is the Hoover Dam Bridge?

High above the Colorado River, and offering excellent views of the Hoover Dam, is the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. This 1,060-foot main span is the world’s tallest concrete arch span bridge. There is a pedestrian walkway that offers spectacular views from above the Hoover Dam.

 

Can I go inside Hoover Dam?

There are schedule tours inside Hoover Dam that allow guest to see the generator room and the interior construction.  This section was closed in March, 2020 (during COVID restrictions) and hopefully will open again in 2021.

 

Hoover Dam Visitor Center 

Tour tickets for tours inside Hoover Dam include admission to Visitor Center exhibits and observation deck.  Also included, across the street, is the 1940s era Original Exhibit Building topographical map presentation.

 

What hikes are near Hoover Dam area?

The Historic Railroad Hiking Trail, just minutes from Hoover Dam, is inside Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and offers a 7.5 mile roundtrip walk through 5 historic tunnels that were used for the train when building the dam.  The walk is extremely flat and easy, and is dirt/gravel.  Gold Strike Canyon is a challenging trail, including climbing over rocks, and eventually leading to the Colorado River, below Hoover Dam; it is a strenuous hike and not advised without research and preparedness.

 

Is Hoover Dam near Grand Canyon?

Hoover Dam is about 2 hours from the Grand Canyon West Rim, and about 4 hours from Grand Canyon South Rim. 

 

What are the hotels near Hoover Dam?

Hoover Dam Lodge is the closest hotel to Hoover Dam.  Nearby Boulder City offers a number of other hotels, just 10 minutes from Hoover Dam and Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  The Boulder Dam Hotel is the historical center of Boulder City, just as it was in the 1930’s when Presidents and other dignitaries stayed there.  Guests can stay in this beautiful hotel, and enjoy a delicious lunch in the dining room.

 

Can you drive across Hoover dam?

Yes, if you drive your own car, or take a Hoover Dam Day Tour, you can actually drive across the top of the dam. 

 

Can you walk across Hoover Dam?

Yes, visitors can walk across the top of Hoover Dam and take pictures from the top. 

 

In which State is Hoover Dam located?

Hoover Dam straddles the state borders of Nevada and Arizona.  The Colorado River, below, is the state line. 

 

Which Hoover Dam tour is best?

Hoover Dam Highlights Tour includes a visit to the Hoover Dam, views from the Overlook Bridge, visiting the Boulder Dam Museum in Historic Boulder City, and a stop at the Lake Mead Visitor Center. 

 

Who built Hoover Dam?

During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, thousands of potential workers arrived in the Las Vegas area, hoping to find work at the dam.  Those who were hired eventually moved to Boulder City, which was a city built by the U.S. Government to house employees working on the project. Meanwhile, the U.S. government set about finding a contractor to build the proposed 60-story arch dam. The contract was awarded in March 1931 to a company called Six Companies, a group of six construction firms that had pooled its resources to work together and to meet the $5 million performance bond. In Boulder City, there are some incredible bronze statues, along the Art Walk, that depict some of the workers. 

 

Will there be a Hoover Dam without water?

When plans were being worked on to build the dam, historical records were studied for rainfall from the previous decades.  These studies of the years prior to the 1930’s included some unusually wet years, which projected some higher-than-normal expectations for future years.  Rainfall amounts fluctuate over the years, decades and centuries.  The last few decades have had lower precipitation in the Rocky Mountains, which is the area that provides the water for the Colorado River and Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam.  1986 was the year of the highest water levels in recent history.  The high-water mark around Lake Mead reflects that high point, and not the “normal” level of the reservoir.  Although the water is lower than normal in recent years, this can change according to fluctuations in weather patterns. 

 

Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon tours?

National Park Express used to offer a combined 1-day tour that included Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.  We have found it a better guest experience to offer each as a day tour, allowing guests to more fully enjoy each destination on consecutive days without rushing through.

 

Can we visit Hoover Dam and Lake Mead Visitor Center?

Yes, our Hoover Dam Highlights Tour includes a visit to the Lake Mead Visitor Center, which offers lake views and area information.  This center is run by the National Park Service. 

 

Is it called Hoover Dam or Boulder Dam?

Great question!  From 1933 to 1947 the official name was Boulder Dam.  In April 1947, President Harry Truman approved a congressional resolution that officially renamed it Hoover Dam. Even before 1993, the project had been called Black Canyon Dam for a while. 

 

Hoover Dam or Glen Canyon Dam?

Hoover Dam, near Las Vegas, is on the border of Nevada and Arizona.  Glen Canyon dam, near the city of Page, is located in Norther Arizona.  Both dams are built on the Colorado River to control flooding and support irrigation.

 

Hoover Dam Art Deco?

Beautifully designed statues and structures around Hoover Dam reflect the Art Deco period of the 1930’s.  The Winged Figures of the Republic, Terrazzo tile floors, decorative doors and arches, and other architectural aspects adorn them dam. These make for incredible photo opportunities.

 

How much did Hoover Dam cost to build?

It cost about $49 million to build Hoover Dam, which is approximately $980 million in today’s dollars. 

 

Where was the opening scene for Hoover Dam James Bond Movie?

Yes, there was an opening bungee jump dam scene in Golden Eye, but it was not at Hoover Dam.  It was the Contra Dam, or Verzasca Dam, in Switzerland. 

 

Hoover Dam kayak and Hoover Dam raft trips?

There are options for kayak and raft trips above and below Hoover Dam.  Visit Blazin Paddles, Adventure Child or Black Canyon River Adventures for more information.  These are unique experiences to see Hoover Dam, the Colorado River and Lake Mead. 

 

Is there a Hoover Dam National Park?

Hoover Dam is not a National Park, but is part of the United States Bureau of Reclamation.  Next to this area is the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which does fall under the National Park System.

 

Hoover Dam tours from Vegas?

There are Day Trips from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam, that include the dam, the overlook bridge, Historic Boulder City and the Hoover Dam Museum.

 

Where can I discover more of the Hoover Dam History?

The Hoover Dam Museum, located within the historic Boulder Dam Hotel, offers some excellent information on the history of the dam, and the area around it. The museum is free. There are also visitor centers located at the Hoover Dam that are included with a purchase of the tour inside the dam. 

 

What about the Hoover Dam water level?

Many visitors wonder about the Lake Mead water level, behind Hoover Dam.  When plans were being worked on to build the dam, historical records were studied for rainfall from the previous decades.  These studies of the years prior to the 1930’s included some unusually wet years, which projected some higher-than-normal expectations for future years.  Rainfall amounts fluctuate over the years, decades and centuries.  The last few decades have had lower precipitation in the Rocky Mountains, which is the area that provides the water for the Colorado River and Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam.  1986 was the year of the highest water levels in recent history.  The high-water mark around Lake Mead reflects that high point, and not the “normal” level of the reservoir.  Although the water is lower than normal in recent years, this can change according to fluctuations in weather patterns. 

 

Can Hoover Dam withstand an earthquake?

Hoover Dam was built with earthquakes in mind.  The dam was built to last “indefinitely” and is extremely solid with seven million tons of concrete.  It is 660 feet thick at the bottom.  Earthquakes are generally not considered to be a threat to the massive structure.

 

Can Hoover Dam flood Las Vegas?

No. Las Vegas will not be flooded by Hoover Dam.  As unlikely as it is that there would ever be a flood, if it happened, the water would flow downriver to Davis Dam, which would stop a surge.  Beyond that, California and Arizona are in the path.  Las Vegas is at higher ground than Hoover Dam and the Colorado River and is under no threat of being flooded. 

 

Can the Hoover Dam break?

The simplest answer is no.  Hoover Dam was built to be more stable and secure than it needed to be.  It is shaped like a crescent wedge, with the top of the dam is just 45 feet (13 meters) thick, and its base 660 feet (221 meters) thick. The bottom is as thick as the length of two football fields end to end. It is built with solid concrete.  In fact, it is built with 4.5 million cubic yards. It is built to withstand water pressure, earthquakes, erosion and every other imaginable threat.

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