While I was in Las Vegas, Nevada for a work conference, I visited the Hoover Dam on a half day tour.
Early in the morning, we left Las Vegas on a coach bus and visited Lake Mead, which is the U.S.’ largest reservoir. The man-made lake in Nevada generates hydro-electricity and distributes water to itself and 6 other nearby states: Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. This lake is a vital source of water in the desert, and after its construction in the 1920s, it brought development to the Western states.
After Lake Mead, we visited the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge and it’s visitor
center. The arch bridge is a relatively new construct that took around 5 years to construct. As it sits about 900 feet above the Dam, it’s one of the US’ tallest bridges. The bridge truly demonstrates a remarkable feat of engineering.
The Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge straddles the border of Nevada to Arizona, and when crossing the bridge, you can walk from Nevada to Arizona. When I was a child, my mom told me about how she did this but at a different location of the Hoover Dam, and I was fascinated by the concept. Although I’m older now, and have already experienced this many times, I smiled at the nostalgia of the memory my mom shared with me.
While the tour did not visit the Hoover Dam or enter it’s facility, walking across the bridge offered a great viewpoint of the Dam and there a myriad of learning opportunities along the bridge and at its visitor center.
I would recommend this tour, if you like self-guided tours and don’t have enough time to commit a day to exploring the Hoover Dam. It certain provides a taste of it, and is a great chance to get off the Vegas Strip. The tour operator provides bottled water and a variety of snacks. Even though the tour was more than half booked, we never ran out of food or water. When I booked, it only cost me $30, so I found it well worth the experience too. However, others on this tour expressed displeasure when they realized we weren’t actually visiting the Hoover Dam.