The Hoover Dam is one of Nevada’s more prominent, long-standing landmarks. It was constructed during the Great Depression, when thousands of men flocked to the Black Canyon to build a dam that would tame the Colorado River.
It took less than five years to build the Hoover Dam, the largest of its time, and under such harsh environmental conditions, making it an engineering marvel. The American Society of Civil Engineers considers it one of America’s seven modern civil engineering wonders.
Today, the Hoover Dam is a 726-foot arch-gravity structure that welcomes approximately a million visitors every year. Whether you have previously visited the Hoover Dam and you’re looking for something new to do on your trip, or you’re going for the first time and have no idea what awaits you, we’ve got you covered!
Here are the top six things to do at Hoover Dam that you can’t miss!
6 Best Things to Do at Hoover Dam
1. Go Kayaking
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box, not-your-typical-touristy activity, kayaking may be one of the best things you do at Hoover Dam.
Our Hoover Dam & Hot Springs Hike starts at the base of the Hoover Dam, moves down the Colorado River, and then through the Black Canyon. As you hike up the Nevada and Arizona shores, the stops along the way let you marvel at the gorgeous scenery – sparkling emerald waters, unique wildlife, waterfalls, and breathtaking flora and fauna. It includes a relaxing steam inside a sauna cave and a refreshing soak in hidden geothermal hot springs.
It's a full-on day of Hoover Dam kayaking, hiking, and sightseeing, but beginners shouldn’t let that intimate then. The waters are calm and smooth, and we have professional guides to help you along the way. Whether it’s your first time kayaking or you’re a seasoned pro, you’re promised an exhilarating time.
With Evolution Expeditions and our Las Vegas kayaking adventures, we secure the necessary kayaking permits and gear for you, as well as a delicious lunch, beverages, and snacks, so you don’t have to worry about anything. Just bring a valid photo ID, your adventurous spirit, and a ton of energy for this seven-hour tour.
There’s nothing like experiencing the Hoover Dam by water.
Pro tip: Looking to kayak with a buddy? Ask us about our tandem kayaks!
2. Take a Tour
Step away from the neon lights of Sin City and walk into a slice of history. There are three types of tours you can take at Hoover Dam: a self-guided tour, a guided powerplant tour, and a guided dam tour.
The self-guided option is an audio tour that lets you go around the Hoover Dam at your own pace. The guided powerplant tour covers the history of the dam, a 30-minute guided stroll on an observation deck, the Nevada wing, and the Original Exhibit Building. The guided dam tour is a longer tour option with similar inclusions, as well as a one-hour walk on an observation deck and a stop at an inspection tunnel.
The Hoover Dam is an architectural anomaly in its own right. Live it up to the fullest and embrace its unique (and fascinating) history.
3. Visit Lake Mead
Checking out Lake Mead is one of the staple things to do at Hoover Dam. This lake was formed due to the construction of the Hoover Dam and is the largest of its kind in the country. Lake Mead, with a surface area of 247 square miles, provides a refreshing contrast to the architecture of the dam. In this area, you can find many on-ground activities (like hiking trails and multiple camping grounds), as well as water-based activities (like kayaking).
Lake Mead is especially nice during the hot months of summer. Grab your SPF and go for a dip to cool off in the triple-digit temperatures.
4. See the Unique Wildlife
One of the many interesting things to do at Hoover Dam is sightseeing. From the sparkling waters of Lake Mead to the unique flora and fauna populating the landscape, animal and nature lovers will be spoiled for choice. A common sight at the dam is the bighorn sheep, which can be spotted around Lake Mead and on the Memorial Bridge.
And speaking of the Memorial Bridge…
5. Cross the Memorial Bridge
Hoover Dam is the main attraction, but it’s still worthwhile to check out the Memorial Bridge – formally named the Mike O’ Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. The bridge is named after former state governor Mike O’ Callaghan, and the late football player Pat Tillman, who passed away serving in the Army stationed in Afghanistan.
Built in 2010, the bridge is a newer addition to the Hoover Dam that stretches across the Colorado River, linking the dam on the Nevada side and Colorado. Need a feed-worthy post to commemorate the trip? Stop for a picture at the “Welcome to Nevada” sign.
6. Check out the Visitor Center
This may not seem like something you’d intuitively add to your bucket list of things to do at Hoover Dam, but the Visitor Center is a natural stopping point that shouldn’t be missed. This is where you procure tickets for tours, purchase souvenirs at the gift shop, or seek a moment of respite at the café or restrooms.
You might also want to check out the bronze Winged Figures of the Republic statue situated just across from the Visitor Center.
There’s a lot more to this area than casinos, gambling, and the nightlife. Live Las Vegas in a totally new light. Ready to see a whole new side of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and all the wonders that Nevada nature has to offer? Evolution Expedition offers an affordable Hoover Dam kayaking package that can be enjoyed by beginners and advanced paddlers alike. These tours are led by WFA-certified guides that love to show off the beauty of the Black Canyon and educate others on interesting information about the area. When it comes to Las Vegas kayaking, no experience compares.