Note: Some tour providers on this list may have limited or ceased operations due to COVID-19. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
If you’re scoping out the Grand Canyon or visiting Las Vegas, you may be considering a daytrip to the Hoover Dam – the National Historic Landmark that keeps the Colorado River at bay. At the time of its completion, dam workers used 6.6 million tons of concrete, more than 5 million barrels of cement and 45 million pounds of steel. And that’s not all you need to know about the Hoover Dam:
Who built the Hoover Dam? President Calvin Coolidge authorized the Hoover Dam (then known as the “Boulder Canyon Project”) in 1928. A consortium of construction firms, called Six Companies, won the contract in 1931. Laborers toiled for around four years, completing the engineering marvel in 1935.
What is the purpose of the Hoover Dam? The Hoover Dam holds water in Lake Mead where it is stored so it can be diverted strategically to irrigate local fields.
Why was the Hoover Dam built? The Hoover Dam was built to divert water from the Colorado River to various corners of the then-developing southwestern United States.
Tours of the facility are available on-site and include access to the power plant and the dam’s passageways. However, independent tour companies – many of which depart from Las Vegas – also make stops at the dam. Many of these organized tours include additional experiences, such as a scenic helicopter flight over the dam. Considering both traveler sentiment and expert input, U.S. News gathered five of the best Hoover Dam tours available.
Comedy on Deck Tours – Hoover Dam Ultimate VIP Tour with Lunch
Guides double as stand-up comedians on this approximately seven-hour tour of the Hoover Dam. In addition to transportation and a dedicated driver, you’ll have the opportunity to walk across the top of the dam, see interior generators and learn how they work, and enjoy a made-to-order lunch. Plus, you’ll stop at the iconic Las Vegas welcome sign for a photo-op and drive through Boulder City, Nevada. Tourists call it a great way to spend a day and the best “dam” tour around thanks to the entertaining and talented guides. This tour departs daily at 8 a.m. and costs approximately $70 per person. The company also offers a Grand Canyon tour.
Papillon – Hoover Dam Heli Tour
Marvel at the Hoover Dam from a bird’s-eye view with this helicopter tour from Papillon. You’ll soar 2,500 feet above the dam, the Colorado River and Lake Mead on the six-minute, 10-mile flight. Along the way, you’ll be entertained by headset narration detailing the history of the area. Travelers enjoy the flight, saying the views are spectacular. You can book daily every 15 minutes from 9:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Tickets start at $69 for all ages. Papillon also offers longer tours of Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon, among other locations.
Gray Line Las Vegas – Half Day Hoover Dam from Las Vegas Tour
An ideal option if you’re short on time, this half-day tour from Gray Line Las Vegas promises round-trip transportation from the Strip to the dam, plenty of photo-ops and 90 minutes to explore the exterior of the dam. During the 4 1/2-hour excursion, you’ll also enjoy access to the museum and visitor center, and have time for a photo-op at the famous Las Vegas welcome sign. Reviewers rave about the views and the entertaining, informative guides. They also say this is a convenient tour for travelers based in Las Vegas. Tickets start at $65 per person and include Las Vegas hotel pickup. Infants up to 23 months old ride for free. Two departures are available daily at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Gray Line also offers tours to see the Grand Canyon.
Vegas Trike Adventures – VIP Deluxe Hoover Dam Trike Tour
Explore the area surrounding the Hoover Dam behind the wheel of your very own Rewaco trike, a three-wheeled motorcycle. During the five-hour trip, you’ll take in spectacular views of Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, Boulder City and more. Two tour guides accompany your group, pointing out landmarks and stopping for pictures along the way. Travelers call this journey an amazing experience, though some wish they had a bit more time to explore the dam. Tours start at 8 a.m. Monday, Friday and Saturday and conclude around 1:30 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $370 per two-person trike with a combined passenger weight of 400 pounds. No motorcycle license is needed. You can also take this tour via the company’s Slingshots, or three-wheeled vehicles. Prices for Slingshot use start at $419. Vegas Trike Adventures also offers tours of the Las Vegas Strip and Red Rock Canyon.
Pink Adventure Tours – Hoover Dam Tour
Take in views of Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam and the Colorado River on this three-hour tour, which is capped at 10 participants. After departing from Las Vegas, the tour stops at the Boulder Dam Museum inside the Boulder Dam Hotel, where presentations and exhibitions detail the history of the dam’s construction. From there, your guide will take you to the Arizona side of the dam where you’ll get a chance to stroll along this architectural marvel. Take your pick between an 8 a.m. or 1 p.m. departure. Tour prices start at $114 for adults and $104 for children ages 3 to 12; this experience isn’t suitable for kids younger than 3. Most reviewers give this tour high marks, praising the knowledgeable, entertaining tour guides and comfortable vehicles. Pink Jeep Tours also offers tours of Red Rock Canyon
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