When I was visiting Vegas late last Fall, I made a side trip to visit the Hoover Dam.

Even though I was a little short on time, it was an easy decision to take a drive to visit this National Historical Landmark.

Getting to Hoover Dam

I was staying at the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort (which is not on the Las Vegas trip), so it was only about a 35-40 minutes drive.

Once you get there, on-site parking is available ($10 at the time of my visit).

a sign over a road

Welcome to Hoover Dam signage










You can get a decent view of the dam even from the garage.

a train track in a canyon

View from Garage

a sign with a map and information on it

Signage at garage









Once you exit out of the garage, you’ll see signage that points to to the visitor center and tours.

a sign on a fence with a bridge in the background









Self Guided and Guided Tours

You have go through a security screening before you can head in to buy tickets.

I didn’t bother with buying advance tickets.  It also wasn’t crowded as I visited in the morning.   There are different tour options available.  You can buy a guided dam tour or guided power plant tour, if you are interested in seeing the inside for the dam.  Note that for the guided dam tours: “Tickets CANNOT be purchased online, and are only sold on-site, in person, on a first come-first served basis.”

I simply opted for a self-guided tour so I can wander at my leisure.

a sign on a wall

Exhibit Hall #1

a display of a large rock formation

Exhibit Hall #2










a sign on a wall

Exhibit Hall #3










When you’re done with the self guided tour, you can head over to the observation deck for some amazing/refreshing views.

a large dam with a bridge and mountains in the background

Views from observation deck #1

a bridge over a river

Views from observation deck #2









a large building next to a body of water

Looking down from observation deck








a building on a cliff by water

Views outside.











Before heading back to the garage, be sure to head over to the gift shop for any souvenirs  (gift shop is located towards the garage side).

Is half a day enough time to visit?

Yes.  Even if you’re strapped for time, a half a day is more than enough time.  The length of the visit will vary, but it is best to plan for at least 90 minutes (for the self-guided tour).  This way, you’ll have ample time to enjoy the exhibit hall, take in the sights, take pictures, and explore the gift shop.

If you’re in Vegas and looking for things to do, definitely look into visiting this National Historical Landmark.  It will be a longer drive from the strip, but it is absolutely do-able.  If you plan it well, you can also pair it with a visit to the Grand Canyon West (I did not pair on the same day, but more on that to come!)

And what’s even more fun and amazing?

On my departure flight leaving Vegas, I caught the Hoover Dam from a distance!  After the self-guided tour, I can definitely admire it so much more from a scale perspective and the architectural feat that it is.

a aerial view of a large canyon

View from the plane!