Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hoover Dam, Nevada

Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border of Nevada and Arizona. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives. Hoover Dam impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States.

After our amazing day with the Grand Canyon Railway visiting the Grand Canyon, it was time to pack up and leave Williams, and head to the Hoover Dam! From Williams, it is a 2hr and 50 min drive to the Hoover Dam.

About an hour into our trip, I realized that I had forgotten to pack up my Kindle! Since we were already half way into there was nothing to do but trek on (luckily they hotel staff found it).
By the time we made it to the Hoover Dam, the sun was up scorching everything in sight. For those looking for an address for the Hoover Dam, there isn't an actual address. I used the POI option on our GPS, and that got us in the right direction.

When planning this trip, I read that you should plan to visit the Hoover Dam as early as possible. Hoover Dam is a major tourist attraction; nearly a million people tour the dam each year. Since it was a holiday weekend, and the start of summer, we had planned to get up early and head out...the beds were just too comfortable and we needed the extra sleep.
Parking is a little bit tricky, if you want to be near the visitor center, on the NV side, it's a $10 fee. But if you're willing to deal with congestion, pedestrians, the stop and go traffic, and climbing up and down hill, there is free parking on the AZ side.

Instead of taking a tour, we decided to explore the Dam on our own. When I was about 12 years old, my parents to us to visit the Hoover Dam (coinsidently, on our way to the Grand Canyon) when I was a kid, there was the big line across the bridge that told you which state you were in. That was what I remembered and was most excited about seeing again, only thing was that it's no longer there. I was pretty bummed.  But we were still able to explore and grab some photos.

The last time I visited the Hoover Dam, the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge wasn't there. It's a really impressive bridge. I love the story behind the naming, O’Callaghan, a decorated Korean War veteran, was the Governor of Nevada from 1971 through 1979. And Tillman had been a football player for the Arizona State University and for the Arizona Cardinals. He gave up his multimillion-dollar career in the National Football League to enlist as an infantryman in the U.S. Army, and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.

I know a lot of people chose to do the Hoover Dam tour, to do the tour it's $15 per adult. to us it wasn't worth it. We did want to see the Visitor Center, but to get into the visitor center, (you have to go through security checkpoint just like at the airport) and then pay $12. Since we were heading to Las Vegas, I wanted to save my money since I knew I would be losing it.

Over all it was a great day at the Hoover Dam. There were a lot of people out and about, but that didn't stop us from enjoying our day. If you're interested in visiting the Hoover Dam, here are some other things you could do:

- Power Plant Tour
- Check out the Winged Figures of the Republic
- Canoe, kayak or raft just below Hoover Dam on the Colorado River
- Observation Deck atop the Visitor Center
- Helicopter Tour
- Explore Lake Mead

Before heading out, we stopped off at the "lookout" point. I'd suggest stopping off here. Parking is scarce, but if you're just looking for a quick stop, feel free to pull off to the side (be mindful of your surroundings) From the top you get a nice view of Lake Meade. It's definitely worth a 5 minute pit stop.