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Located just 40 minutes outside of Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam is perched in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River and is a top-rated tourist attraction for visitors from all around the world. Completed in 1935, the engineering marvel now generates enough annual hydroelectric power to provide 1.3 million people in Nevada, Arizona and California with energy. The construction of the dam created jobs for nearly 5,000 people during the Great Depression and as a result, Boulder City —now a popular starting point for many excursions to the Hoover Dam — sprung up to house workers.
When planning a trip to the Hoover Dam, you'll find there’s a variety of ways to experience the landmark ranging from biking trips on the trailhead to late-night aerial flights, and cruise combinations on Lake Mead to cutting-edge Hummer tours. Many (but not all) tours include admission to the dam itself. Here are a handful of outstanding ways to visit the Hoover Dam.
Best Overall Tour: Hoot and Hoover Dam Tour
If you’re interested in a tour experience that weaves history and comedy then the Hoot and Hoover Dam Tour is for you. During the 6.5-hour tour, travelers explore different areas of the Hoover Dam Power Plant, including the top of the dam for a walking tour loaded with a wealth of historical facts. The tour guide for this experience is a professional stand-up comedian who delivers a downright hilarious narrative that ensures a lot of laughs. The tour is also a great value with lunch, round-trip bus transportation (to and from Las Vegas hotels) and free admission to the Mac King Comedy and Magic Show at Harrah's Las Vegas Casino all bundled into the price.
Best for Adventurers: Hoover Dam Trike Tour
For a unique and more adrenaline-pumping way to see the dam, the Hoover Dam Trike Tour is a thrilling option. Start off with round-trip bus transportation from Las Vegas hotels to Boulder City, where travelers board their own tricycle motorbike (note that no specific motorcycle license is required to operate the bike). From there, a tour guide leads the way to the Hoover Dam, pausing at gorgeous viewpoints for photos and to provide information about the area. Spanning five hours from start to finish, there’s plenty of time to explore the dam on your own before returning to Las Vegas. Viator members stated that this was a highlight of their trip and that the guides were exceptionally knowledgeable.
Best Classic: Hoover Dam Experience from Las Vegas
For a traditional and affordable taste of the Hoover Dam, book the six-hour Hoover Dam Experience from Las Vegas. During the tour, travelers will see Boulder City, Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam – including a two-hour power plant tour. Entrance fees are included in the price, as well as round-trip transportation in an air-conditioned bus from Las Vegas hotels (note that meals are not provided). The tour passes over the top of the dam, with a break at the Arizona Lookout for a photo opp of the entire dam area including the Bypass Bridge. Once inside the dam, visitors will see exhibits and film presentations, and listen to fascinating anecdotes from informative guides. Several departure times are available so it’s easy to fit this tour into even the busiest travel schedule.
Best for Outdoor Enthusiasts: Hoover Dam Mountain Bike Tour
Those who enjoy the great outdoors will have a blast on the Hoover Dam Mountain Bike Tour — an eco-experience that offers both exercise and insight into the dam. The seven-hour tour leaves from hotels in Las Vegas where cyclists are transported via bus to the trailhead. From there, they’ll embark on a guided mountain bike tour past breathtaking scenery and enter the beautiful Lake Mead Recreation Area to learn about local desert plant and animal life. If the weather is nice, riders can even go for a quick dip in the water of Lake Mead before continuing on through a series of tunnels that once transported supplies during the dam’s construction. Upon arrival at the dam, cyclists are welcome to explore the visitor's center or take the dam-operated discovery tour.
Best Combo Tour: Hoover Dam and Lake Mead
For a full-day experience that combines the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, book the eight-hour Hoover Dam Tour and Lake Mead Cruise where you'll witness the largest reservoir in the United States from every angle imaginable. The day-long tour includes hotel pickup and transportation to the Hoover Dam where travelers embark on the signature discovery tour to learn about the making of the dam while taking in the generators, murals, maps and displays. After the Hoover Dam, you'll head to the Lake Mead Marina for a 90-minute relaxing cruise tour where you'll enjoy lunch on the open-air steamboat deck as you soak in the views of the dam and dramatic rock faces.
Best Aerial: Vegas Strip and Hoover Dam Twilight Helicopter Tour
See the twinkling lights of the Las Vegas strip and the wonder of Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam on a two-hour helicopter tour. First, enjoy limousine service from your hotel to the helicopter launch pad where you'll board the six-passenger helicopter and kick off your adventure. Passengers travel over the desert to catch the sunset over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam while the pilot fills you in on the engineering marvels via a two-way communication system. After ample time for photos, the helicopter heads back to Las Vegas to see the sparkling strip as the dark settles in. At the end of the tour, the pilot flies low over Sin City icons like the Luxor Pyramid, Stratosphere Tower, Bellagio Fountain and New York-New York Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.
Best Transportation from Vegas: Hoover Dam Hummer Tour
If you’re looking for something different than a typical tour bus, but still want a comfortable, relaxed ride, consider the Hoover Dam Hummer Tour. The four-hour long tour takes an in-depth look at the Hoover Dam while providing round-trip transportation from your hotel in a spacious H2 Hummer. Along the way, passengers listen to a comprehensive background of the Hoover Dam over the SUV's cutting-edge media system. Once at the dam, take a closer look at history with the discovery tour that includes the Nevada wing of the power plant, an elevator ride that descends 500 feet into the canyon and panoramic views of Lake Mead and the Colorado River from the observation deck.