Las Vegas Places to Visit… “Hoover Dam & Lake Mead”

An hours drive South of the Vegas Strip lies one of the Wonders of Man. Built during the Great Depression from 1931 -1935 Hoover Dam has more than 4,360,000 cubic yards of concrete (that’s 436,000 cement truck loads). It has been estimated that the dam is so well built it could stand 10,000 years. The pyramids in Egypt are estimated to be 4,500 to 5,000 years old. The work on the Dam was so dangerous that 96 workers lost their lives during its 5 years of construction.

The Hoover Dam was built for 3 reasons, the first as a water shed to store water for the future population growth of the Southwestern States, to control water flow through the fertile farms and growing areas in California’s Imperial Valley and to provide electrical power through hydro power generation.

There are a variety of things to see and do at the dam. As you near the dam from Hwy 93 on the left side of the road you’ll see a side road the takes you to an overlook of Lake Mead. You’ll see the marina and several islands which have revealed themselves as the lake water has receded over the past few years.

Less than a quarter mile down the road you’ll see a parking lot with a footpath built into the side of a rock mountain. This path takes you to a walkway which overlooks the Hoover Dam. The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge by itself could be considered an engineering marvel as it spans the Colorado River chasm which separates the States of Nevada and Arizona. The bridge stands 886′ above the river below and provides a spectacular view of the dam, lake, and surrounding mountains.

Across from the road from the bridge parking lot lies a trail which was the original railroad trail which helped support the building of the dam in the 1930s. The trail is well maintained with vistas of Lake Mead and has several tunnels through the mountains as it winds through the valley.

At the dam, you can walk at your leisure exploring its exterior as well as visit the museum. I highly recommend taking a tour down into the inner workings of the dam and its power plant with massive turbines.

You get more information by visiting the Hoover Dam website.