Self Drive to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas
The Lake Mead Recreational Area is noted as ‘America’s Most Diverse National Recreation Area’ and the close proximity of the park to neighboring cities allows you to see the lake, which is the largest reservoir in the United States, and the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas.
The Hoover Dam is a large concrete arch-gravity dam located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River that impounds Lake Mead, and its location is right on the border between the U.S. states of Nevada and Arizona.
The dam was built between 1931 and 1935 by thousands of workers and its construction cost over one-hundred lives.
The Hoover Dam can be seen from many of the Grand Canyon Helicopter tours from Las Vegas, but did you know you can drive right up to it?
The purpose of the Hoover Dam is to control floods, provide irrigation water and produce hydroelectric power to public and private utilities in neighboring Nevada, Arizona, and California.
Right up until 2010, drivers could drive over the crest of the Hoover Dam but due to heavy traffic, the Hoover Dam Bypass was built.
Take your lunch with you and have a rest at the picnic tables during your day trip to the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.
The good news is, you may not be able to drive over the Hoover Dam anymore, but you can walk it!
The distance to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas is only 38 miles, a 50 minutes driving journey (without traffic).
While you’re visiting the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas, pop by the beautiful Lake Mead Recreation Area. Visitors at Lake Mead can enjoy activities such as boating, cycling, hiking, and camping across an area of 1.5 million acres of canyon, mountains, and valleys.
Stand on the State border and pose in front of the ‘Welcome to Arizona’ sign which is right by the Hoover Dam.
Keep an eye out for wildlife in Lake Mead Recreation Area, the area has over 900 plant species, that attract over 500 animal species as well as 24 threatened species across 9 designated wilderness areas.
Some of the animals to look out for are the American Coot, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Burrowing Owls and the Longhorn Sheep.
In the Lake Mead Recreation Area, the water covers around 186,000 acres (75,000 ha) of the park and the area is one of the most visited National parks in the USA.
Over the years Lake Mead has experienced a water reduction which is down to changing rainfall patterns, climate variability and reduced snow melt from Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah Rocky Mountains.
Neighboring populations rely on the Lake for electricity and there is increasing pressure on the water management teams who are effortlessly trying to keep up with demand.
Current water use patterns are putting pressure on water management resources at Lake Mead as the population relying on it for water, and the Hoover Dam for electricity continues to increase.
Las Vegas needs a lot of electricity and water and in order to ensure that the city is able to benefit from Lake Mead, nearly $1.5 billion was spent on building a new water intake tunnel in the middle of the lake. The 3-mile tunnel took seven years to build under the lake and was put into operation in late 2015.
You can camp at Lake Mead Recreation Area, something fun to do if you’re visiting the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas. Camping fees at Lake Mead are $10 night.
Swing by the Echo Bay Marina Boat Docks to see how the other half live with beautiful boats parked at the marina.
When leaving the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, be sure to stop by the city of Henderson, the second-largest city in Nevada, after Las Vegas.
The city is beautifully picturesque and it has been named as “One of the Best Cities to Live in America” by Bloomberg Businessweek as well as one of the Top 10 “Safest Cities in the United States” by the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
For more information on Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, visit the official National Park website.