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Is Glen Canyon and Hoover Dam the Same? 

Last Update on May 31, 2023
by Maxtour
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The Glen Canyon Dam and the Hoover Dam are not the same, but they have quite a bit in common. They're located relatively close to each other and are both on the Colorado River.

These impressive dams have contributed significantly to supplying water and generating electricity in their local areas. On a national and even global scale, they have become symbols of human ingenuity. 

Despite what they have in common, Glen Canyon Dam and the Hoover Dam are distinct entities. In this article, we will explore the wonders of these two extraordinary engineering marvels and unravel the differences between them, too.

What Are Glen Canyon and Glen Canyon Dam?

Glen Canyon is nestled in the majestic red rock landscapes of northern Arizona and southern Utah. The canyon boasts awe-inspiring beauty and a rich natural heritage. 

Carved by the Colorado River over millions of years, the canyon stretches approximately 186 miles (299 kilometers) and enchants visitors with its towering sandstone cliffs, mesmerizing rock formations, and the tranquil serenity of Lake Powell.

Standing tall and mighty at the heart of Glen Canyon is Glen Canyon Dam, a monumental structure that altered the landscape and transformed the Colorado River. 

Completed in 1966, this concrete arch dam spans the Colorado River and gave birth to Lake Powell, one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the United States. 

The primary purpose of Glen Canyon Dam is to regulate water flow, provide hydroelectric power, and facilitate irrigation to arid regions. It also ensures flood control downstream.

What Is the Hoover Dam?

Hoover Dam is located on the border of Nevada and Arizona, 275 miles (443 km) downstream of Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. 

Hoover Dam predates Glen Canyon Dam, having been completed in 1936. This historic masterpiece is a symbol of America's resilience during the Great Depression and has attracted millions of visitors over the years.

Related Reading: Is the Hoover Dam Tour Worth It? 

Formerly known as Boulder Dam, this impressive feat of engineering was constructed using over 4.4 million cubic yards of concrete. Rising 726 feet above the Colorado River, it not only tames the mighty river but also creates Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. 

Hoover Dam controls floods and harnesses the power of the Colorado River to provide water and electricity to millions of people in the region.  Besides its practical functions, the dam offers visitors a chance to marvel at its awe-inspiring art deco design, ingenious engineering, and panoramic views.

Which Is Bigger: Hoover Dam or Glen Canyon Dam?

Glen Canyon Dam is bigger than the Hoover Dam. It might not be immediately obvious from pictures, but there's quite a size difference between these two dams.

  • Hoover Dam is 726 ft (221 m) tall and 244 ft (379 m) long.
  • Glen Canyon Dam is 710 ft (216 m) tall and 1,560 ft (475 m) long.

The Hoover Dam is actually taller than Glen Canyon Dam but Glen Canyon Dam is much wider, making it bigger overall.

Differences Between Glen Canyon Dam and Hoover Dam

Glen Canyon Dam and the Hoover Dam's differences go beyond their size. Though both dams share the Colorado River as their life force, several key distinctions set them apart. 

  • Their construction periods vary significantly, with Hoover Dam being completed more than three decades before Glen Canyon Dam. 
  • Glen Canyon Dam is an arch dam, while the Hoover Dam is a concrete gravity-arch dam.
  • Glen Canyon Dam primarily serves as a storage reservoir while the Hoover Dam is mainly used for both water storage and power generation.
  • The Hoover Dam receives more tourists than Glen Canyon Dam — Hoover Dam tours from Las Vegas are some of the most popular tours in the area.


Glen Canyon Dam and the Hoover Dam are not the same but they're both remarkable structures that have played pivotal roles in the development and sustainability of the American Southwest. 

The two dams serve as a testament to human ingenuity and continue to capture imaginations as legendary icons even decades after their construction.

The next time you feel like going on an adventure, consider exploring the wonders of Glen Canyon Dam and the Hoover Whether you're awestruck by the force of nature or the brilliance of human achievements, these landmarks offer something for everyone to marvel at!



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