As one of the most iconic cities in the US, Las Vegas is actually not far from Hoover Dam. So what should you do when visiting both?
What are the best stops between Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam?
There are numerous things to do in the area between Las Vegas and Hoover Dam. There are many tours available for the Hoover Dam itself. You are also not too far away from Valley of Fire State Park, Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, and the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
We’ll discuss which places are most popular to go on a day trip in the area. Let’s explore the southwest and Nevada!
Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam
Las Vegas is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country, with lots of fun, entertainment, history, and really good weather for people who fly or drive into the desert city.
Believe it or not, the city of Las Vegas is actually only about a half hour away from Hoover Dam and makes for a fairly easy drive – during which you’ll find plenty of other things to do.
More about Hoover Dam
One of the biggest attractions to visiting Hoover Dam is the enormity of the structure. The dam is 726 feet tall and 1,2444 feet wide, making the walk or drive across the top about a quarter of a mile.
Construction of the dam started for multiple reasons: to provide hydroelectric power to the southwest, including California, The dam also controls the Colorado River which flooded frequently before construction.
Why visit Hoover Dam?
Built in the 1930s, Hoover Dam is a major historical landmark.
Located not too far from Vegas, it is also fairly easy to get to while also learning about how water is distributed in an area known for being fairly dry
The massive scale and curious inner workings of the damn also makes for excellent and interesting tours for people interested in engineering.
Boulder, Nevada was a city literally created as the headquarters for making Hoover Dam. The city has the Nevada Railroad Museum and some cool hotels. Some also believe that the historic hotels and buildings are haunted.
Go ahead and visit to decide for yourself.
Valley of Fire State Park
Located about an hour north of the Hoover Dam is Valley of Fire State Park. The state park is well known for petroglyphs which are thousands of years old, having been etched by indigenous people in the area.
The state park is full of geological sites, including layered rocks that burst with color during sunrise and sunset.
Want to have a picnic? Valley of Fire State Park provides smart use of shade. We do suggest bringing water and lots of it though, especially if you visit in the summer.
Thanks to the proximity of the southwest, you could visit the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam on the same day.
Located about 40 miles from Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon provides one of the world’s largest state parks and is beautiful to behold.
Grand Canyon National Park provides hiking tours and you can also go on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is a glass walk way which puts you out over the Grand Canyon in a way that at least feels safe – and provides a breathtaking view of the Canyon – straight down and of course out for miles.
Lake Mead Recreational Area
Literally minutes from the Hoover Dam is Lake Mead Recreational Area. Of course, the reason why those this engineering wonder and Lake Mead are nearly side by side is because the Hoover Dam created Lake Mead.
The area is now known as a recreational water area. When the lake is high enough, you can enjoy boating, camping, fishing, and multiple beaches.
Red Rock National Conservation Area
Red Rock is full of geologic beauty without as much of the height and scale as the Grand Canyon.
The area is just a few miles away from Las Vegas and is known for its beautiful hikes. We again suggest you bring plenty of water – it can get quite hot there.
This place is home to Ice Box Canyon, which is known for having seasonal waterfalls – and a place to cool down!
Zion National Park
This one is a bit further away from Las Vegas at 2 and a half hours – but that could still be a day trip, right? Like much of the state and national parks we listed, the primary draw of Zion is natural wonder and geology as well as history.
These places make for an excellent drive at sunrise or sunset and are great for hiking.
Whether you are getting back and forth between many of the places we suggested, helicopter tours are possible to see the whole southwest from a much higher angle.
You can also find helicopter tours that will take you from Las Vegas to Zion National Park and back, all while enjoying the natural scenery of the southwest.
El Dorado Canyon
Named for the mythical city, El Dorado Canyon actually does have deposits of silver and golf within its mines.
The area is known primarily for history and being a rocky geologic area, this is a fun place for you and the kids to climb in a fairly safe manner.
In all fairness, you really can’t see much of anything here though there is potential to see a new aircraft from the US Air Force flying overhead. Area 51’s actual intent is unknown, but it is safe to say that at the very least, they test experimental aircraft.
Just don’t approach too close and pay careful attention to the signs on the outside that tell you not to get too close.
Wanna see snow near Las Vegas? Head to Mount Charleston during the winter and go skiing or snowboarding.
The peak is high enough to allow snow to stay – so if you are literally looking for a place to cool down, this is definitely a great choice at only 45 minutes away from the city.
“Death Valley” is a couple of hours west, but can be worth going especially if you enjoy the scenic desert and the potential for serious darkness.
Death Valley doesn’t have much artificial light, so it is one of the best places on earth to see the night sky, with planets and stars.
Be warned: As you might suspect from the name, Death Valley is hot and dry – and a place better suited to the animals adapted to live there within the sand. Again, bring plenty of water – and even blankets as well as anything to protect against heat.
Death Valley can range in temperature quite a bit.
Preparing your vehicle for a southwest road trip
Not from the southwest? Make sure your vehicle is ready for a trip through the deserts of the southwest. Bring gallons of water to put in your trunk in case you get stranded, in addition to coolant and antifreeze
Bring a jack and a spare tire too, in case you run over something and find yourself with a popped tire on a hot desert day.
- The Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, and multiple state and national parks are within a few hours drive of Las Vegas
- Hoover Dam itself is a great place to visit to learn about history and engineering in the southwest
- Most of the places to visit in the area are geological wonders and are beautiful, especially during sunrise and sunset.