So Hoover Dam, That’s Like on the Strip or Something Right?
While you can find the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, a castle, and most of Artie Lang’s money on the strip, you cannot find the Hoover Dam there. For the longest time the only way to get from Nevada to Arizona without driving hours out of the way was by crossing the Hoover Dam. Recently the Tillman Bridge was completed, so now one may by-pass the dam. The Tillman Bridge is becoming a tourist attraction in itself, and is currently the Western Hemisphere’s longest single-span concrete arch bridge.
|Plus you can see the bridge from the dam, and the dam from the bridge - that’s two of the most stunning man-made creations right next to one another. And getting there is simple. As mentioned there is little choice if you are coming to Vegas from Arizona, and the dam and the bridge are a quick thirty mile drive east from all the lights and glitz of Vegas. Many who decide to spend part of their Vegas vacation at the Grand Canyon decide to stop along the way and check out the Hoover Dam. This is highly recommended if you are driving. Plus many Grand Canyon Tours take a stop at the Hoover Dam for pictures and to find out more about the bridge at the Hoover Dam Visitor Center.
Getting To Hoover Dam
You can rent a car, and if you are familiar with the roads in the area (or have GPS) you will arrive in about 45 minutes. However even with the recently constructed Tillman Bridge, traffic can still be a hassle (especially on a busy Vegas weekend) and parking is like trying to find a seat at a penny slot machine in Cesar’s Palace (there aren’t any), so many choose instead to hop on a tour bus. This may take a bit more out of your day, but with a tour bus you get the full Hoover Dam experience without having to worry about traffic. And the cost isn’t that much more than you would spend on gas anyway – from around $40 and up depending on the type of tour you take.
Also, a number of Vegas tour companies offer Helicopter tours of the Hoover Dam, so that may be an option. Price-wise it’s going to run you in the low hundreds, but if hovering thousands of feet in the air with nothing but 4 inches of steel between you and death isn’t something you worry about, you won’t find a better view.
A Bit About the Dam
You literally cannot understand simply from a description, or picture, just how spectacular the structure is. Construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1936 at the cost of $49 million. Wow, I’ve seen people lose more than that at the blackjack table… (No literally, I have, I wanted to throw up, didn’t even phase the Chinese business gentleman it looked like but I’m pretty sure he committed hari kari later). Naturally that price is pre-inflation. It would be like a trillion dollars or something now, so it was no small project. Since the 1900’s it was speculated a dam built there could produce massive amounts of energy, and construction began both as a means to take advantage of this, and part of Franklin Roosevelt’s infrastructure plan to get people back to work during the Great Depression.
A Hoover Dam tour isn’t just about the size and beauty of the structure, though that is enough. It is also about the amazing feats of engineering and sheer human willpower it took to construct such a thing. So if you are in Vegas for any amount of time the Hoover Dam is definitely something you will want to see.