Hoover Dam, which is located about 45 minutes from Las Vegas, can make a great destination for a quick road trip. This monumental man-made attraction was built in the most extreme of situations. During the lean Great Depression years, President Franklin D. Roosevelt oversaw the completion of this dam in an immense project that took an impressive five years to build. By using the manpower of thousands, this structure was constructed by diverting the nearby Colorado River, using millions of pounds of concrete and employing thousands of people for much-needed work.
While the structure was completed by 1935, a power plant was added on and went online by 1937. As one of the largest power supplies for hydroelectricity, Hoover Dam supplies energy for regions all around Nevada, Arizona and California. If you’re planning to see this place for yourself, there are more attractions beyond the main structure. Here are some of the highlights for visitors to this amazing architectural feat.
For many people, the first stop on a visit to Hoover Dam is the visitor center. As you drive into it, you may pass along the high Mike O’Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, crossing from Nevada to Arizona. At the visitor center, you can learn more about the history behind the dam and technology that was used to build this amazing structure.
A popular option for visitors is to select the power plant tour. Once you begin this tour, you watch a video describing how the Hoover Dam came into existence. Then, after a harrowing elevator ride down to the bottom of the dam, you can see the different generators that are part of the hydroelectric system. While touring, you may pass through the old diversion tunnels and listen to the sounds of the Colorado River flowing through an enormous pipe. There is an observation deck to glance from, too, that gives you a unique view of the different parts of the dam.
Another tour option is the dam operations tour. This tour gives you a closer look at how a modern dam functions. You can journey through the past and experience the beginnings of the structure by seeing older systems that are now obsolete, communications and artifacts left behind by workers and inspection tunnels far below the surface.
If you’re trying to find an educational and interesting diversion from Las Vegas, Hoover Dam may be the right attraction for you. A combination of history and modern technology, this destination can give you an interesting side trip beyond the sparkle of Las Vegas.