Hoover Dam: Don’t get ripped off

In terms of remarkable engineering feats, the Hoover Dam numbers speak for themselves: it is 221m (726.4ft) high, 379m (1,244ft) wide and took 4.5 years to build from 1931.

Hoover Dam

When we arrived at the dam we were surprised to be directed into a car park which had a $10 charge (having never paid for parking on the rest of our US road trip). However we figured that maybe the price included the entrance charge, so paid it to a very miserable man who then informed us that tours were finished for the day. Sigh.

However, when we reached the visitor centre I was surprised to see that a one-hour tour would have cost us $30 (entrance to the visitor centre alone was $10 – also the first time we saw a charge for that). So a couple of hours of sightseeing would have totalled $70 (£42) for the two of us. While I understand the dam is some pretty impressive engineering, I thought that was quite steep – especially when you consider that a seven day pass to the Grand Canyon is $25 per vehicle. Maybe they’re still trying to reclaim some of the $165m it cost to build…

It was absolutely boiling as we made our way across the dam, but it was pretty amazing to see the huge body of water of the Colorado River on one side and know that what we were standing on was holding it all back.

Hoover Dam

Strong stuff…

But I was unimpressed when we crossed to the other side and found plenty of free parking. Tip: Ignore the signs for the pay car park and cross the dam to the free parking on the other side.

After viewing the dam from ground level we then drove around to the The Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, where you can look down on it and get a full idea of its scale.

Hoover Dam

It was pretty impressive; especially when you consider that it was constructed in one of the hottest, driest, areas of the United States.

Hoover Dam

The water is now used for essential irrigation, electricity generation and wildlife habitation.

Hoover Dam

A vital resource

It was also quite cool to say goodbye to Arizona on one side of the bridge and hello to Nevada on the other!

Hoover Dam

Goodbye Arizona…

Hoover Dam

…hello Nevada!


4 responses to “Hoover Dam: Don’t get ripped off

  1. I’ve never been though my parents went recently for the first time and said it was so impressive but had gone with a group rather than driven themselves so I guess that’s why they hadn’t faced this issue. Great pictures – I’d love to see this part of the US one day!

  2. The Dam is really impressive; and yes, the parking situation is absolutely abysmal. Always park on the Arizona side, even if it makes your hike down to the Dam and back up a little tiring, especially given the heat in the desert.

    Speaking of the Grand Canyon, if you have any inclination to visit the national parks, I highly suggest the $80 annual parks pass, Of course, that is if you don’t already have one. You definitely get your money’s worth out of it in the Southwestern US with the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon (west side of Las Vegas), and all the parks in Utah.

  3. Thanks for the tips! We considered getting a national parks pass, but we weren’t in the States for long enough. However, I think it’s a great idea for people who are staying longer!

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