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Where is the best place to view the Hoover Dam?

Last Update on December 27, 2022
by Sunny Samaroo
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The Hoover Dam is a massive concrete arch-gravity dam located on the border between Arizona and Nevada, about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas. 

It's an incredibly popular tourist destination and attracts millions of visitors each year who come to see its impressive size and learn about its history and engineering. 

So, where is the best place to view the Hoover Dam? Let us show you on one of our Hoover Dam tours from Las Vegas!

All kidding aside, there are several great spots to view the Hoover Dam, and the best one for you will depend on your preferences and what you are looking to see. Here are a few options.

Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

This Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, also known as the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, offers panoramic views of the Hoover Dam and the Colorado River below. 

The bridge is about 1,500 feet downstream from the dam and offers a unique perspective of the dam from above. It's a great spot for photography and for getting a sense of the scale of the dam.

View of Hoover Dam Bridge
This is the Hoover Dam's iconic bridge, the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

Hoover Dam Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is located on the Nevada side of the dam and offers panoramic views of the dam and the surrounding area. From the observation deck, you can see the dam from the front and get a close-up view of the Colorado River and power plants. 

The Visitor Center also has a museum with exhibits about the interesting history and construction of the dam.

Hoover Dam Tours

If you want a more in-depth experience, you can take a guided tour of the dam. These tours take you inside the dam and give you a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the power plants and other facilities. 

You can choose between the longer $30 Dam Tour and the shorter $15 Power Plant tour. Both include access to the Visitor Center and the Power Plant, but only the Dam Tour lets you see the inner workings of the dam through its historic tunnels. 

See our article on whether the Hoover Dam tours are worth it to learn more about what each tour has to offer.

View of Hoover Dam
Official Hoover Dam tours include letting you see inside the Power Plant.

Arizona side of the dam

If you want to see the Hoover Dam from the Arizona side, you can park at the Arizona Hoover Dam Plaza.

From the Arizona side, you can get a good view of the dam from the front, as well as the spillways and power plants. The Plaza also has a gift shop, restaurant, and restrooms. 

Keep in mind that the Arizona side of the dam is not as developed as the Nevada side and does not have as many amenities or attractions. However, it can be a good option if you want a less crowded, more peaceful experience.

Top of the dam

If you want to get an up-close and personal view of the Hoover Dam, you can take a self-guided tour that takes you to the top of the Hoover Dam. These tours typically include a walk along the crest of the dam, where you can see the spillways and intake towers up close. 

You'll also get an awesome view of Lake Mead, the Colorado River, and the surrounding area. Walking on top of the dam is a great way to get a sense of the scale and engineering of the dam. Looking down and seeing just how high up you are will fill you with awe.

Helicopter tour

If you want to see the Hoover Dam from a completely different perspective, you can take a helicopter tour. 

These tours typically take off from Las Vegas and fly over the dam, giving you a bird's-eye view of the structure and the surrounding area. You'll be able to see the dam from above, as well as the Colorado River and the surrounding landscape.

There are several companies that offer helicopter tours of the Hoover Dam, and the tours typically last about 30–45 minutes. Be sure to book in advance and bring your camera, as the views from the helicopter are truly breathtaking.

View of Hoover Dam
Helicopter tours of the Hoover Dam will offer you a view like this one.

Kayaking in Black Canyon

If you want to get a unique perspective on the Hoover Dam, you can take a kayaking trip through Black Canyon, which is located downstream from the dam

Black Canyon is a beautiful and rugged area with towering cliffs and crystal-clear waters, and it's a great spot for a kayaking adventure.

During the tour, you'll paddle through the canyon and get a close-up view of the dam from below. You'll also get to see the beautiful landscape and wildlife of the area and learn about the history and geology of the canyon.

To take a kayaking tour through Black Canyon, you'll need to book in advance and be in good physical condition. The tours can be physically demanding, but they are also very rewarding and offer a truly different vantage point from which to appreciate the Hoover Dam.

Boating on Lake Mead

Another water-based activity that doubles as a great way to view the dam is to take a boat tour on Lake Mead. Lake Mead is a vast reservoir that was created by the construction of the dam, and it's a popular spot for boating, fishing, and other water sports.

Boat tours on Lake Mead are quite popular, with several tour operators to choose from. The tours may range from just an hour or two to half a day. 

Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam have an interesting history which you can learn about on tours. In addition to appreciating the dam, you'll also be able to appreciate the wildlife that calls Lake Mead home.

Because these tours are popular, book in advance. Be prepared for the elements, too. The weather can be hot and sunny in the summer, so be sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water. In winter, wear layers, as it can get chilly. Regardless of the season, you should also be prepared to be splashed by water!

Related Reading: How Deep is the Water in Front of the Hoover Dam?

View of Lake Mead
Lake Mead is almost as popular as Hoover Dam itself.

Conclusion

The Hoover Dam looks imposing and awe-inspiring from any angle, yet each one offers a unique experience. It can even vary depending on the time of year.

  • The Visitor Center observation deck, walk-on-top self-guided tour, and official Hoover Dam tours are specially curated to show you the best and most impressive sides of the dam, both visually and in terms of the dam's history and engineering.
  • Helicopter tours and the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge give you a bird's-eye view of the dam that you can't get otherwise.
  • The two opposite sides of the dam, up in Lake Mead and downstream in the Black Canyon, are a two-in-one deal where you get to enjoy the water while having a great view of the dam.
  • Yet still there are less popular vantage points that can be just as stunning, such as visiting the Arizona side of the dam instead of the much more popular Nevada side.

There are lots of options for where to view the Hoover Dam, but don't worry too much about which one to choose. None of them will disappoint you! 

However, the Hoover Dam tours are considered the tried-and-true way to experience the dam. If you can't decide, it's best to go with one of them.

No matter which you choose, be sure to plan your visit in advance and allow plenty of time to explore. The Hoover Dam is a truly magnificent structure and is definitely worth a visit.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sunny Samaroo

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