Home » 1999 Cross Country Road Trip

Hoover Dam, NV

Saturday, July 31, 1999 - 9:00am by Lolo
33 miles and 0.75 hours from our last stop


Kalchbrenner Family at Hoover DamKalchbrenner Family at Hoover DamAs great fans of Chevy Chase's Vacation movies, we pride ourselves on our Griswold-like vacations and just couldn't pass up the opportunity to take our "dam" pictures and stop at the "dam" gift shop at the Hoover Dam.

We drove across the very impressive bridge over the dam, entering into Arizona and a different time zone. We then parked the car and walked back into Nevada to the Visitor Center, making sure to spend time with our legs straddled across both time zones, advertising the fact that we were novice travelers. But who cares. It's great to be unjaded and awed by new experiences.

We were fortunate to be able to take the hardhat tour, which took us into the bowels of the dam through the tunnels into the power plant and control rooms. Remember the scene in Vacation when Clark wandered off from the tour and wound up hanging from the side of the dam. That's the tour we took except we boringly stayed with the tour group. Today unfortunately, because of security concerns since September 11, these tours inside the dam are no longer offered and have been replaced by the Discovery Tour which explains things from the top of the dam.


The Hoover Dam is located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas at the Nevada-Arizona border. It rises more than 700 feet above the Colorado River and is considered to be one of the greatest engineering works in history.

The Dam was built during the Depression by thousands of men who came to the Black Canyon to find work to feed their families. It took less than 5 years to complete what was the largest dam of its time. Now, more than 60 years later, Hoover Dam still stands as a world-renowned structure. The dam is a National Historic Landmark and has been rated by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of America's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders.

In 1937, the Bureau of Reclamation began conducting tours through the Hoover Dam and Power Plant. Today, more than a million visitors a year take the tour and millions more drive across the dam.

Unfortunately, since 9/11, the hardhat tours into the dam are no longer offered. However, there is a Discovery Tour which takes you onto the top of the dam and explains things from there.

Hoover Dam location map in "high definition"

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