Located just outside of Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam and the Valley of Fire are two of Nevada's most popular tourist attractions.
There is, however, some distance between the two and lots of things to do at each. It's natural to wonder if it's possible to visit both Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire in a single day.
Short Answer: Yes, it's possible to visit both Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire in one day. It will just require careful planning and a lot of driving.
Long Answer: You can visit both locations in one day but it's better to allow yourself more time to visit each. They both have a lot to offer so, if you want to experience everything, you should consider splitting the visits between two days.
Sometimes a day is all you've got, though, so let's break down how to see Hoover Dam and the Valley of Fire in one day.
Distance from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire
Most visitors to the Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire start their journey in Las Vegas, so let's use that as our home base.
Neither Hoover Dam nor the Valley of Fire is too far from Las Vegas. Thanks to this, tons of people staying in the city visit them! When planning a trip for both in a single day, however, you have to put in a bit of extra planning.
On a round trip from Las Vegas to both locations and back, you'll cover a total of roughly 165 miles. The total driving time is about 3 hours but read on to find out the distance for each leg of the journey.
Distance from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam is about 35–40 miles (55–65 km) southeast of Las Vegas, depending on which route you take. The most popular route, on the interstate, is 37 miles (60 km) and takes just about 45 minutes.
Distance from Hoover Dam to Valley of Fire
The distance from Hoover Dam to the Valley of Fire can vary. If you go through Boulder City/Lake Mead, it's roughly 65 miles (105 km). Through Las Vegas, it's about 80 miles (130 km). Regardless, the drive will take you about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Distance from Valley of Fire to Las Vegas
The Valley of Fire is located about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of the city. This means that it's a roughly 1-hour drive to get back to Las Vegas from Valley of Fire. You could travel to Valley of Fire first, of course, and the total driving time would still end up the same!
Transportation Options from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire
To visit both the Hoover Dam and the Valley of Fire in one day, the first thing you'll need is reliable transportation.
The most convenient option is to rent a car. This will allow you the freedom to travel at your own pace and make stops along the way. This is especially useful if you plan on doing any hiking or picnicking at the Valley of Fire.
If you don't want to rent a car, you can also consider a Hoover Dam tour or using a shuttle service. These options may be more expensive, but they can be a good choice if you prefer to have someone else handle the driving and planning.
Keep in mind that tours and shuttle services may have set itineraries. Check with the company to see if they can accommodate a visit to both the Hoover Dam and the Valley of Fire in one day.
Regardless of which transportation option you choose, it's important to plan your route in advance. The drive from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam is relatively straightforward, while the drive to the Valley of Fire is a bit more winding and can take longer. Be sure to allow some breathing room for potential traffic and delays, too!
Part 1: Traveling from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam
To make the most of your time, it's best to start your day early. The drive from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam takes about 45 minutes, so you can leave your accommodation as early as 8–8:30 am. This will allow you to get to the Hoover Dam before the crowds and enjoy a leisurely visit!
The dam is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. You should have enough time to take a tour of the dam, explore the visitor center, and snap some photos of the impressive structure, before leaving for the next stop.
Just the guided tour of the Hoover Dam takes about 2 hours. If you want to experience everything, try to set aside at least 3 hours for the whole visit. At face value, some people think Hoover Dam will be boring, but there's plenty to do there!
Part 2: Traveling from Hoover Dam to Valley of Fire
After your visit to the Hoover Dam, it's time to hit the road and head to the Valley of Fire. The drive will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Leaving the Hoover Dam around 1 pm is generally a good idea.
You can spend as little as 1 hour at the Valley of Fire if you drive through and stop at the only most scenic spots. It would be about 2 hours if you take on a short trail or two, as well. Really, though, you could spend the whole day exploring the valley if you wanted to!
The visitor center at the Valley of Fire is open from 9 am to 4 pm, though the whole park is open from sunrise to sunset. If you're visiting in the winter, make sure you get there in good time!
For most of the year, you'll likely have plenty of time to explore the park and take in its breathtaking red rock formations. Some popular activities at the Valley of Fire include hiking, picnicking, and photography.
Part 3: Traveling from Valley of Fire to Las Vegas
Once you've been thoroughly enchanted by the Valley of Fire (or you ran out of time before sunset, which hopefully doesn't happen), it's time to return to home base.
The drive from the Valley of Fire back to Las Vegas takes about 1 hour. This is the last leg of the journey, though, so there's no rush!
It is definitely possible to visit both the Hoover Dam and the Valley of Fire in one day and experience their most popular offerings. It's important to keep in mind, though, that it will be a long and busy day.
If you're not up for the challenge, or if you want to fully appreciate both attractions, you may want to consider spreading your visits out over two days or more.
Just be sure to plan your itinerary carefully and realistically, keeping in mind potential delays. Using this guide as a starting point, try to allow plenty of time to have as much fun as possible!