Is a Tour of the Hoover Dam Worth It? (2024)

The Hoover Dam is one of the greatest engineering feats in the United States. What’s more, according to the National Park Service, the dam sees around 7 million tourists per year. This makes it the most-visited dam in the entire world! But you might be wondering, is a guided tour of the Hoover Dam worth it? This article will help you decide if a guided Hoover Dam tour is right for you!

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Why You Should Take a Hoover Dam Tour

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One of the biggest dams in the United States is the Hoover Dam, and it sits right on the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona.For those who don’t know, a man-made dam is a barrier that stops the flow of a body of water to create a reservoir of water and hydro-electric power. In 1931, the creation of the Hoover Dam across the Colorado River formed Lake Mead!

According to the Bureau of Reclamation website, the Hoover Dam is 726 feet high. There’s a power plant located at the base of the Hoover Dam, which provides electricity for both Nevada and Arizona, as well as California. This power plant generates enough power to serve 1.3 million people!

You can’t go inside the 590-foot-deep dam, but you can marvel at it by walking or driving across it. At the dam, there’s a visitor’s center, as well as a café. There’s also a lookout point with binoculars that people can use to look out over the dam.

The Hoover Dam is around a 40-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip, but there are many interesting stops along the way to make a trip to the dam even more interesting. For this reason, many people chose to take a guided tour to the Hoover Dam. Let’s take a look at what a Hoover Dam tour includes.

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Top Areas You’ll Visit During a Hoover Dam Tour

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Seven Magic Mountains and Boulder City

There are several interesting stops between Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam. One of them is the Seven Magic Mountains, a desert art installation that’s a unique photo op! Another stop between Vegas and the Hoover Dam is Boulder City, a small town that was built specifically so that the construction workers building the dam would have somewhere to live during construction!

According to the tour guide, workers only made $1.83 a daybuilding the dam! Today, Boulder City is home to 17,000 people, and is one of the very few cities in Nevada that doesn’t allow gambling.

The Desert Bighorn Sheep at Hemenway Park

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Hemenway Park is a park in Boulder City where families used to camp out in the 1930s while waiting for members of their family to be admitted into the Hoover Dam project. They stayed here because if a family member received approval to work on the Hoover Dam, they would be given a place to live in Boulder City.

Today, Hemenway Park has a playground and is a fun place for kids to play. However, the best part of Hemenway Park is that it’s home to free-roaming bighorn sheep! The state animal of Nevada roam freely all over the park. They make for great photo subjects; however, be careful not to get too close, because they are wild animals!

Lake Mead Panoramic Lookout

Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States. To get there, you’ll drive on the same road the original builders used to get to the Hoover Dam! The panoramic lookout over Lake Mead was originally built for people to stand and watch the lake fill up. Unfortunately, it’s kind of the opposite these days, as the water level is low due to frequent drought.

The Colorado River is 195 feet lower than usual, but despite this, the view is still lovely and good for photos. If you look closely, you may be able to see the many tiny antelope ground squirrels that call the area home. In fact, your tour guide might even give them some water so you can see them up close!

Cross the Hoover Dam

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Since you’re in a small group with a climate-controlled van, you’ll be able to drive right up to the dam. Big tour busses are not allowed near the dam so this is a huge perk on our small group tour! Once you’re there, you’re free to walk across the Hoover Dam and get to learn all about its history. And you might enjoy using the binoculars to get a better look at the vista.

Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge

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Although the Hoover Dam was constructed in the 1930s, the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge was only recently built in 2010.The intention was so cars can drive to Arizona over Interstate 11 and alleviate the traffic over the dam. It also made it safer for pedestrians to explore the dam.

The cool thing about the overlook bridge is that pedestrians can also climb up the bridge by using the stairs or the ramp. Once on top of the bridge, there’s an amazing view of this desert country.

Benefits of a Guided Hoover Dam Tour

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Okay, so now you may understand more about the Hoover Dam and why it’s important. But why should you take time out of your Las Vegas trip to go see the Hoover Dam? We have a few reasons!

It’s Close to Vegas

The Hoover Dam is a just short drive from the Las Vegas Strip. How often do you get to say that you’re less than an hour away from one of the greatest engineering feats in the country? The whole tour from pickup to drop-off takes around 4 hours. This means you can visit the Hoover Dam in just a half-day trip and still be back in time for your dinner reservations on the Strip!

It’s an Engineering Masterpiece

Not only does this enormous dam supply the water and electricity for three different major U.S. states, but it also helps protect southern California and Arizona from floods. It was truly a feat of engineering when it was constructed in 1931, and it remains so today.

Tours Make It Easy to Visit

There are several ways to visit the Hoover Dam from the Las Vegas Strip. However, going with a guided tour is the easiest way to see the dam and learn all about it. Instead of having to navigate your way there and back, all you have to do is meet your friendly driver/guide at the designated pickup on the Strip! What’s more, going with a tour will ensure you learn all the intricate facts about the dam and surrounding areas you likely would not have discovered otherwise.

The View Is Better Than You Think

Both of the views from the Lake Mead Panoramic Lookout and from the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge are quite impressive! They make for some amazing photo ops and are unlike anything you can see anywhere else.

It’s a Family-Friendly Activity

While not every popular activity near Las Vegas is family-friendly, this one certainly is! If you’re planning on visiting Vegas with the kids in tow, visiting the Hoover Dam is interesting for the whole family. What’s more, it’s educational! If you’ll be in Vegas with the fam, and you’re unsure where to stay, check out our list of the best family-friendly hotels in Las Vegas.

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Why Hoover Dam Tours Are Worth It

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So now you’re convinced how cool the dam is, but is it worth taking a guided tour there? The answer is: Absolutely, yes! There are several reasons why taking a guided tour to the Hoover Dam is much better than going on your own.

Hotel Pick-up Included

You don’t have to worry about getting to the Hoover Dam yourself or figuring out where to meet your guide. The Hoover Dam tour picks you up from any of the major hotels on the Strip. They’ll send you a text the day before so you know exactly where to meet them! They are very organized and make sure not to leave anyone behind! Your tour guide will drop you off at the end of the tour as well.

What’s more, the luxury tour van has chargers for iPhones! The driver (who doubles as the tour guide) will also give you cold water bottles when you get on the bus. Make sure to bring a cash tip for the driver to give them at the end!

Two-for-One Experience

Not only does this tour take you to the Hoover Dam, it also takes you to the Seven Magic Mountains for some unusual photos. We actually think the tour is more of a four-for-one experience, because you also get to stop at Hemenway Park to see bighorn sheep, and stop at the beautiful Lake Mead Panoramic Lookout!

It’s worth mentioning that the Seven Magic Mountains is free to visit as of the writing of this article. However, the state is thinking about making the Seven Magic Mountains a paid attraction. If they do this, they will start requiring tour companies to have a permit in order to visit. Therefore, if you’re considering taking this tour, you should make sure to do it soon!

See and Understand More

When you’re with a knowledgeable driver and guide who knows so much about each of your stops (and also where the three bathrooms are on the tour), your trip is so much more stress free. Plus you learn much more about the Hoover Dam, Boulder City, and the other stops than you would if you went on your own. For example, the our tour guide’s grandfather had personally worked on the Hoover Dam and lived in Boulder City! This definitely gave a unique perspective to the tour.

Small Group Tour

The tour van holds 14 people or fewer, so it’s not a massive 52-passenger bus of strangers. This means you’ll get the chance to interact with the guide more and learn more useful facts about the Hoover Dam and surrounding areas. You’ll be able to ask your guide questions about what you’re seeing and double-check about any factoids you missed.

Stories and History

Not only do local tour experts know a lot of information about all of the stops on the tour, they are also a lot of fun! For example, at the Lake Mead Panoramic Lookout, our tour guide poured water from water bottles on the cliff so the antelope ground squirrels would come out to drink the water that’s so hard for them to find in the desert. We got an up-close view of these cute critters. That’s probably not something we would have thought to do otherwise!

Good Value

With a guided tour, you don’t have to through the trouble of renting a car. You also won’t have to wonder what you’re looking at or why it’s significant. Perhaps most importantly, you won’t have to personally deal with the traffic heading back into Las Vegas. Let your driver handle it with ease. All in all, a Hoover Dam tour is more than worth it for the price!

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Is a Tour of the Hoover Dam Worth It? (9)

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The Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is considered one of the greatest engineering feats in the United States. It is located on the Colorado River, between Nevada and Arizona. The dam was constructed in 1931 and created Lake Mead, which is the largest reservoir in the United States .

The Hoover Dam is 726 feet high and has a power plant located at its base. This power plant generates electricity for Nevada, Arizona, and California, serving approximately 1.3 million people.

Guided Hoover Dam Tours

The article discusses the benefits of taking a guided tour of the Hoover Dam. Here are some key points mentioned:

  • Proximity to Las Vegas: The Hoover Dam is a short drive from the Las Vegas Strip, making it easily accessible for tourists.
  • Engineering Masterpiece: The Hoover Dam is not only an important source of water and electricity but also serves as a flood protection system for southern California and Arizona.
  • Ease of Visit: Taking a guided tour eliminates the need to navigate and provides a knowledgeable guide who can provide detailed information about the dam and its surroundings.
  • Impressive Views: The tour includes stops at the Lake Mead Panoramic Lookout and the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, offering stunning views of the dam and the surrounding area.
  • Family-Friendly Activity: Visiting the Hoover Dam is a family-friendly activity that can be educational and interesting for all ages.

Areas Visited During a Hoover Dam Tour

The article also mentions several interesting stops that are part of a guided Hoover Dam tour. These stops include:

  • Seven Magic Mountains: A desert art installation that provides a unique photo opportunity.
  • Boulder City: A small town built to accommodate the construction workers of the Hoover Dam. It is now home to approximately 17,000 people and does not allow gambling .
  • Hemenway Park: A park in Boulder City that offers a playground and is known for its free-roaming bighorn sheep.
  • Lake Mead Panoramic Lookout: A lookout point that provides a panoramic view of Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States.
  • Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge: Also known as the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, it offers an amazing view of the desert country and provides a safer pedestrian route to explore the dam.

Benefits of a Guided Hoover Dam Tour

The article highlights several reasons why taking a guided tour to the Hoover Dam is worth it:

  • Hotel Pick-up Included: The tour includes hotel pick-up and drop-off, making it convenient for tourists.
  • Two-for-One Experience: The tour not only includes a visit to the Hoover Dam but also stops at the Seven Magic Mountains, Hemenway Park, and the Lake Mead Panoramic Lookout, providing a comprehensive experience.
  • See and Understand More: With a knowledgeable guide, you can learn more about the Hoover Dam, Boulder City, and other stops on the tour .
  • Small Group Tour: The tour is conducted in a small group, allowing for more interaction with the guide and a personalized experience.
  • Stories and History: The tour guides often share interesting stories and historical facts, enhancing the overall experience.
  • Good Value: Taking a guided tour eliminates the need to rent a car and provides a hassle-free experience with a knowledgeable guide, making it a good value for the price.

In conclusion, a guided tour of the Hoover Dam offers a convenient and informative way to explore this engineering marvel. It provides access to interesting stops along the way and offers a comprehensive experience that includes stunning views and historical insights. Whether you're a family looking for a fun and educational activity or a solo traveler seeking to learn more about the dam's significance, a guided tour can enhance your visit to the Hoover Dam.

Let me know if there's anything else I can assist you with!

Is a Tour of the Hoover Dam Worth It? (2024)


How strenuous is the Hoover Dam tour? ›

The majority of the trail is estimated to be in the mostly gentle grade category (5% or less). This trail will likely be navigable for most wheelchairs/mobility equipment or stroller users.

Which tour is best for Hoover Dam? ›

Our most recommended Hoover Dam Tours
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  • From Las Vegas: Grand Canyon Skywalk Express Helicopter Tour. ...
  • From Vegas: Grand Canyon & Lower Antelope Canyon 2-Day Tour.

Is the Hoover Dam tour worth the money? ›

The short answer is: yes, despite the concerns you might have, the chance to visit the Hoover Dam is one that shouldn't be passed up! There are surprisingly a lot of things to do at Hoover Dam. It's affordable, too! However, even determining what exactly people mean by "tour" in this context can be confusing.

How long do Hoover Dam tours take? ›

Keep in mind that Hoover Dam tours include a one-hour guided tour of the powerplant and passageways within the dam itself, while the Powerplant Tour is a 30-minute guided tour of the powerplant only. Both tours include admission to the Visitor Center.

How much time do you need at Hoover Dam? ›

Handy information
⏰ Suggested Duration:2 hours
☀️ Best Time to Visit:Fall
? Must See:The Observation Deck
Jul 28, 2023

What is the best day of the week to visit Hoover Dam? ›

What day of the week is best time to visit? - Hoover Dam. “What day of the week is best time to visit?” We went on a Thursday afternoon after the tours had ended and it wasn't busy at all. Weekdays are definitely less crowded, but I would recommend going in the morning for a tour to avoid large crowds.

Can I see the Hoover Dam without a tour? ›

You can absolutely still walk across the top of the Hoover Dam. In fact, you don't even have to pay for it – the dam has no admission fees. However, if you want to see inside the dam, you'll have to buy a ticket for a guided tour.

Can I tour Hoover Dam by myself? ›

While you're free to walk around the top of the dam on your own, you can't take a self-guided Hoover Dam tour inside the dam itself. Unfortunately, the only way to get inside is by purchasing a ticket to one of the guided tours offered by the staff.

Can you just drive by and see Hoover Dam? ›

Can you view the Damn, with out taking a tour - Hoover Dam. Yes, you may drive down to the level of the dam, park on either side, and walk across the dam. The first parking you see is the large garage ($10), or you can drive across the dam and park on the other side where there are some free open parking lots.

What are the downsides of the Hoover Dam? ›

But the dam also caused environmental concerns. In particular, it changed the Colorado River's course, affecting fish habitats, sediment structures, water quality, and the capacity of the initial floodplains.

What is the price of a Hoover Dam tour? ›

Admission: Hoover Dam tours cost $30 for adults, seniors, juniors and military members. No children under 8 are permitted on the one-hour self-guided tours.

How much walking is the Hoover Dam tour? ›

We'll stop at Lake Mead Overlook for a photo stop, park at the visitor center, do the power plant tour, and walk over Hoover Dam. We usually get around 7,000 steps on this tour for those of you step-counting!

Can you do Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon same day? ›

Not only can you explore the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon in one day, but you absolutely should! Here's why: Short Answer: Yes, it's totally possible to hit up the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon in a single day, especially if you're headed to the Grand Canyon West from Las Vegas.

What do you wear on the Hoover Dam tour? ›

A good portion of the Hoover Dam experience is outdoors, please plan for all types of weather. We suggest you dress comfortably and wear comfortable walking shoes.

What do I need to know before going to Hoover Dam? ›

Security at the Hoover Dam is tight. All visitors are subject to security screening before entering the visitor center or taking any tours. Certain items are not allowed on the dam, including weapons, luggage, strollers, and pets (except for service animals).

How much pressure is against the Hoover Dam? ›

What is the maximum water pressure at the base of the dam? 45,000 pounds per square foot.

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