The awe-inspiring Hoover Dam spans the Black Canyon of the Colorado River at an impressive 726 feet high. Located between Nevada and Arizona, this arch-gravity dam structure promises stunning views, especially overlooking the river. It's definitely worth a visit if you're traveling through the region.
But can you drive over the Hoover Dam?
You can drive across the Hoover Dam, but there is no through traffic permitted on the Dam. The road from the Arizona side is closed and you'll have to turn around to reenter Nevada to go and you will also have to go through security checkpoints.
So, can you drive around the bridge? What else is there to explore in the area? Can you walk on the Dam? Find out the answers to all these questions and more in our handy reference guide below.
Can you drive across the Hoover Dam?
You can drive over the Hoover Dam, but it is important to note that there is no through traffic allowed. You will have to enter the Dam on Nevada State Route 172 and go through security inspections before you can drive on the Dam.
After you drive across the Dam, you will have to turn back and return using the same road. You cannot stop your vehicle on top of the Dam, so be sure to park your vehicle in one of the Dam's defined parking areas (see below) before you go exploring.
There are several things to keep in mind when driving to the Hoover Dam: from the kind of vehicle you can drive, to the inspection points you'll pass leading up to the crossing.
A list of vehicles that are permitted on the Dam is:
- SUVs and passenger cars with less than one ton of cargo capacity
- Light trucks
- Dual-wheel trucks
- Sport Utility Vehicles
- Semi Tractors
- RVs and camper trailers
- Busses without luggage
To be able to drive across the Hoover Dam, you'll have to pass through the Hoover Dam Inspection Point located on Nevada State Route 172, a mile north of the Dam. Be sure to let your vehicle be inspected and not carry any sort of weapons, including pepper spray.
All motorists must stop for inspection at the security point, where the vehicle may be searched. If you happen to be carrying any weaponry, or a drone, you may be disallowed from entering.
How do you drive across the Hoover Dam?
The Hoover Dam is not open to thorough traffic, so you will have to drive across the Dam and go back during your visit. It is good to note that the visitors should leave US-93 at Nevada State Route 172 to reach the site of the Dam.
The Hoover Dam is accessible from major cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas, Flagstaff and Los Angeles. You can refer to the table at the end of the article for more details about the routes to follow as well as the driving distance and times to make a road trip to Hoover Dam.
Can you walk across the Hoover Dam?
The short answer to this question is yes, you can walk across the Pedestrian Plaza to take in the stunning views of the Hoover Dam.
Since the dam overlooks the pristine blue river surrounded by jagged peaks, the views must not be missed out on, which is why there is a you can walk on the Pedestrian Plaza's sidewalk across the Hoover Dam.
Located inside the Dam's security zone, the views of Lake Mead, the Colorado River, and of course, the bordering canyons are simply breathtaking.
After you explore the Dam, you can grab a bite to eat at the nearby café at Hoover Dam.
How close can you park to the Hoover Dam?
While there's no actual fee to enter the Hoover Dam, unless you decide to take a guided tour of the region, you will have to pay $10 for parking.
An expansive parking garage is located on the Nevada side of the Dam on the road across the visitor center, making the area very accessible. However, if you're traveling in a bigger vehicle, say a trailer or an RV, you will have to use the parking spaces on the Arizona side of the Dam.
The parking spaces on the Nevada side can fill up quickly, so try and arrive as early as possible to secure a spot. Remember to get there early to explore the views devoid of large crowds.
On the Arizona side, there's a parking space located on the left of the roadway that leads you into the state, which also costs $10. You'll also find up to four more parking areas a little further from the Dam that charge no fee.
Things to do when visiting the Hoover Dam
There are many activities you can do at and around the Hoover Dam:
- Take a Dam or power plant tour - You can choose from a self-guided tour, a power plant tour, and a Hoover Dam tour to learn more about the architectural marvel and its surrounding region. Carry drinking water and wear sturdy footwear, especially if you're taking a guided tour, as you'll be walking a lot.
- Go Kayaking on the Colorado River - While you'll have to obtain a permit to go kayaking in the river independently, you can take a kayaking tour to best explore the region.
- Cross the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge - Officially known as the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge; it has unparalleled views of the river and surrounding canyons. The bridge itself is an architectural marvel and also overlooks the Hoover Dam!
- Explore the Visitor's Center - Home to exhibits about the Dam and an observation deck located 600 feet above the Colorado River, paying a visit to the visitor center is an excellent idea. (Open from 9 am to 5 pm daily)
Is the Hoover Dam open all day?
The Hoover Dam is open every day from 5 am until 9 pm, with guided tours beginning around 9 am and ending around 4 pm. While the Dam is open on Christmas and Thanksgiving, no guided tours are offered on these holidays.
The guided Dam tour offered by the Bureau of Reclamation can only be purchased on-site and costs $30. You can also choose to go on a guided power plant tour for $15; tickets for the same are available online.
Besides the official tours, you'll find several third-party tour operators offering different tour packages; from stand-up comedy and tourism tours to a road trip from Las Vegas, there's no dearth of unique tours you can take to explore the Hoover Dam.
Best time of the year to drive to the Hoover Dam
Open all year round; there are positives to visiting the Hoover Dam in each of the seasons. Considered to be the best by the majority, the wintertime sees minimal crowds making it perfect for free exploration and photography, along with the fact that the weather is pleasant.
The fall months and springtime are also excellent times to pay the Dam a visit as the weather isn't unbearably hot during the day, and though you'll be faced with some crowds, you'll still get to enjoy the Dam and its views.
Due to the roaring crowds and high temperatures (it can go up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit in July or August), visiting the Hoover Dam in the summer comes with some drawbacks The pedestrian walkways are unshaded, so it's essential that you apply your sunscreen and keep yourself well-hydrated.
As a popular tourist destination, the Hoover Dam and its neighboring areas are a site for several events throughout the year, most notably the Las Vegas Turkey Trot and Boats & Brews (at Lake Mead).
Getting to the Hoover Dam
|Starting City||Distance||Driving Time|
|Las Vegas, Nevada||37 miles||45 minutes|
|Flagstaff, Arizona||221 miles||3 hours 30 minutes|
|Phoenix, Arizona||270 miles||4 hours 15 minutes|
|Los Angeles, California||295 miles||4 hours 30 minues|
From Las Vegas to Hoover Dam (37 miles, 45 minutes)
A reasonably short drive; you'll follow along Interstate 515 North for nearly half your journey before continuing onto US Route 93 South. You'll then exit onto Hoover Dam Access Road to reach your destination.
If you're in search of a bigger adventure, why not follow our road trip suggestion from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon that will give you the opportunity to see the Hoover Dam as well as doing some epic sightseeing?
From Flagstaff to Hoover Dam (221 miles, 3 hours 30 minutes)
Located three and a half hours away from Flagstaff, you'll make the trip to the Nevada access point for the best views and day at Hoover Dam. Your journey will begin via Interstate 40 West which you'll follow for two hours before continuing onto US Route 93 North.
Ultimately, you'll exit onto Hoover Dam Access Road and park your vehicle before touring the region.
From Phoenix to Hoover Dam (270 miles, 4 hours 15 minutes)
Though a longer drive, Hoover Dam is perfect for a weekend trip away from the city. The best route to follow begins on Interstate 10 West, after which you'll exit onto Arizona Route 303 Loop.
You'll then take US Route 60 West to connect with US Route 93 North, leading you into Nevada and ultimately Hoover Dam Access Road.
From Los Angeles to Hoover Dam (295 miles, 4 hours 30 minutes)
Situated nearly five hours from Los Angeles, visiting Hoover Dam is an excellent way to get away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood. The fastest and most scenic route from Los Angeles begins on US Route 101 South and leads you to Interstate 10 East.
Driving by San Bernardino National Forest, Mt. San Antonio, and Mojave National Preserve, you'll make your way into Nevada via Interstate 15 North.
Then, you'll follow Interstate 215 East until US Route 93 East towards Boulder City. Lastly, you'll exit onto Hoover Dam Access Road and reach your destination, the unique arch Dam that overlooks the Colorado River.