From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam: 5 Best Ways to Get There
Hoover Dam is an amazing man-made engineering marvel located less than an hour from the Las Vegas Strip. First opened in 1936, it was one of the largest concrete construction projects on Earth at the time and remains one of the world's largest dams.
It's a working hydroelectric dam, generating power for Las Vegas and the entire southwestern U.S. It's a great day trip from Las Vegas with a special connection to the city, as a lot of the power used by Vegas' lights and signs is generated at the dam's massive power plant. Lake Mead is the reservoir created by the dam (the largest in the country), and it supplies a lot of the water used by Las Vegas.
Getting to the dam from Las Vegas is easy - there are several ways to do it. It's free to drive across the dam and park in one of the viewing spots. You can also park for free in one of the remote parking lots and walk across. Of course, you can also buy a ticket to do a guided tour of the dam (and its interior) and/or of the power plant. There's also a self-guided tour ticket option, which gets you into the visitor center, museum, and viewing center.
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1. From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam by Car
It's an easy, 45-minute drive to get from the Las Vegas Strip to Hoover Dam. First, take the I-215 east towards the airport, then connect to the I-11 and US 95 south, which will take you right to US 93, which leads into Boulder City. Follow the signs from Boulder City; it's a short, 10-minute drive out to the dam's visitor center.
At the dam, there's a parking garage on the Nevada side and two parking lots on the Arizona side. The more remote lot, about ¾ mile from the dam, is free, the closer lot charges a fee. The more remote lot is convenient if you plan to walk across the entire dam structure.
2. From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam by Tour
The easiest way to experience Hoover Dam from Las Vegas is to take a private tour. Viator offers a comprehensive guided Hoover Dam tour experience, which includes round-trip transportation from most major Las Vegas resorts, as well as a restaurant lunch. The highlight is a special walk on top of the dam, something most other tours don't offer.
The adventure starts with pickup in the morning at your hotel. Then you arrive at the dam (it takes about 45 minutes to get there), and you can walk across the top and get some Instagram-worthy pics.
Next, you descend down inside the dam for a tour of its massive power plant. Then it's back outside for a look at the enormous spillways, where the water goes into the power plant from the lake. You also get to visit the dam's museum and visitor center. The bus even stops near the bypass bridge before departing, so you can get more great photos of the massive structure. A knowledgeable guide accompanies you for the entire experience.
The bus then takes you to a restaurant for hot, made-to-order lunch, then back to your Las Vegas hotel. If you go Tuesday through Saturday, the tour ticket includes an admission ticket to an afternoon performance of the popular Mac King Comedy and Magic show. The entire tour is about eight hours, pickup is around 8am, and you'll get back to your hotel around 4pm.
3. From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam by Rideshare
Another easy way to get from Vegas to Hoover Dam is to take a Lyft or an Uber. The shared ride option, if available, will cost about $40 from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam visitor center. A regular Uber or Lyft ride will be about $55, each way. As a comparison, a taxi will cost at least $100 each way. Those prices are per car each way, not per person.
The drive from Las Vegas takes less than an hour.
4. From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam by Bus
The new-for-2019 Boulder City Express bus now links most major Las Vegas Strip and Downtown resorts with Hoover Dam. The shuttle bus also stops in Boulder City (a cool place to visit), the Lake Mead Visitor Center, and the marina. These price for the shuttle include admission fees to the respective sites.
Alternatively, you can take the HDX (Henderson and Downtown Express) public bus from Las Vegas to Boulder City. This gets you easily between Las Vegas and Boulder City but will not take you the final 10 minutes to the dam itself. You would need to take a taxi, private bus, or rideshare from Boulder City to the dam.
National Park Express has a shuttle between the dam and Boulder City. A 24-hour pass for the HDX bus (and other buses in the region) is a reasonable price and reduced for seniors, students, military, and other special groups.
5. From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam by Helicopter
It's possible to see the incredible scale of the dam from the air if you fly in a helicopter. There are two options: most Las Vegas to Grand Canyon helicopter trips will include a flyover of the dam and Lake Mead. There are also specific air tours of the dam and lake from Las Vegas, with no landing, just flying over the area.
Helicopter service is available from and to the Hoover Dam Lodge, which has a heliport. You can fly there from Las Vegas or take a tour of the dam and lake that starts and returns to the lodge.