Hoover Dam, located in Black Canyon just 35 miles from Las Vegas, is a popular day trip for families. Towering more than 700 feet above the Colorado River, this engineering marvel now boasts over 1,000,000 visitors per year. Weighing in at more than 6,600,000 pounds and made primarily of concrete, its job is to control water flow, protect against floods and provide generation of hydroelectric power. Everything about this structure is gargantuan. It took five years, 45,000 pounds of steel, more than 5,000,000 barrels of concrete and 21,000 men to complete the project. Built during the Depression, it is a testament to ingenuity and taking the self-paced Discovery Tour will reinforce that belief.
If you time it right, you can make it to Hoover Dam in less than an hour and spend 2-3 hours on the tour. You can even drive across the dam itself. The best times to go are in the spring and fall, as the mercury rises in the summertime and traffic can be backed up for more than an hour on the road to the dam. Regardless of the time of year, make sure you dress appropriately for a walk; bring water, a hat and sunscreen with you.
Reservations for the tours are available year round. They are highly recommended during peak summer and Spring Break months. Leave food, snacks, soda, cups and chewing gum in the car, as these are not allowed on the tour and trails.
>>More information about the Hoover Dam.