From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam: 5 Best Ways to Get There
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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 even today remains one of the world's largest dams. A very popular Las Vegas tourist attraction, it's the most visited dam in the world.
Hoover Dam is 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, and it supplies a lot of the water used by Las Vegas.
Getting to Hoover Dam from Las Vegas is easy – there are several ways to do it. If you drive, you can park for free in one of the remote parking lots and walk across the dam, which is free to do. The roadway along the top of the dam is mainly a pedestrian walkway with great views to either side. The Mike O'Callaghan—Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, located next to the dam, also has a walkway. The bridge offers amazing views of the dam, and it's free to 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 observation deck.
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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 dam is on the border between the two states). The more remote lot, about three quarters of a mile from the dam, is free, the closer lot and the parking garage charge a fee. The more remote lot is convenient if you plan to walk across the entire dam structure.
You can also rent a car in Las Vegas for the drive to Hoover Dam. Consider renting the car from a non-airport location, as it can be a lot cheaper than picking up a rental car at the airport. Many large Vegas resorts have car rental counters on-site.
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. The Ultimate Hoover Dam tour from Las Vegas with Lunch is a great way to see the dam. The comprehensive tour includes round-trip transportation from most major Las Vegas resorts, as well as a restaurant lunch. The highlight is a special guided walk on top of the dam, something most other tours don't offer.
The adventure starts with an early morning pickup at your hotel (they pick up at most major Strip resorts). 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. The early-morning pickup allows you to get to the dam before most tourists arrive for a better experience.
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 and where it exits, over 700 feet below you at the base of the dam. You also get to visit the dam's museum and visitor center. The bus also 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 and during the tour, snacks and bottled water are provided at no charge. On the way back, you even stop at the iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign for a photo op and in the historic downtown area of Boulder City. The tour ticket includes an admission ticket to the LA Comedy Club at the Stratosphere. The entire Las Vegas to Hoover Dam 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 or Taxi
Another easy way to get from Vegas to Hoover Dam is to take a Lyft or an Uber. The cost from the Las Vegas Strip area to the Hoover Dam visitor center is about $60. As a comparison, a taxi will cost at least $100. Those prices are per car each way, not per person. The drive from Las Vegas takes about 45 minutes.
Be aware, while it's easy to get an Uber or Lyft car from Las Vegas to the dam, you may find it very difficult to get a rideshare car to pick you up at Hoover Dam for the ride back. The area is quite remote, and the cars normally return to Vegas after dropping off passengers. Consider planning ahead with a taxi company for round-trip service, or try reserving the rides in advance on the rideshare app.
4. From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam by Bus
The Boulder City Express shuttle links most major Las Vegas Strip and Downtown resorts with Hoover Dam. The shuttle bus (which is operated by National Parks Express) also stops in Boulder City (the downtown historic district is a cool place to visit), the Lake Mead Visitor Center, and the marina. It takes you right to fun tourist attractions like ziplines, lake cruises, and kayak tours.
Alternatively, you can take the HDX (Henderson and Downtown Express) public bus from Las Vegas to Boulder City. This is the cheapest way to get from Las Vegas to Boulder City but will not take you the final 10 minutes to the dam itself. You would need to take the Boulder City Express shuttle, a taxi, or a rideshare car from Boulder City to the dam. A 24-hour pass for the HDX bus (and other public transit buses in the region) is available for a reasonable price and has reduced fares for seniors, students, military, and other special groups. It's a great way to get around for those visiting Las Vegas on a budget.
5. From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam by Helicopter
The best way to see the incredible scale of Hoover Dam is from the air, by helicopter. There are several options to get from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam by helicopter. 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.
Papillon provides helicopter tours over Hoover Dam from the Las Vegas airport. They also fly from their base at the Hoover Dam Lodge in Boulder City. The Hoover Dam Lodge, which is a resort hotel, is a great place to stay if you want to spend more time exploring the dam. The resort is near the dam, and you can ride mountain bikes along an old railroad line (now a scenic bike path) right to the dam.