The Hoover Dam was one of the great engineering feats of the Great Depression of the 1930s in the United States. And impressive it is.
At its base, the massive concrete wall is 660 feet thick, so thick that the concrete is still curing. That means that, unlike most constructions that are fighting against aging from when they’re built, the Hoover Dam is actually getting stronger. At the bottom of the massive wall are two hydroelectric power plants, one on the Arizona side and the other on the Nevada side, each housing eight or nine enormous turbines.
The tour guides are careful to point out that the purpose of the dam is not to supply power to Las Vegas and that in fact none of the electricity generated at the Hoover Dam finds its way to that poster-child for consuming electricity with wanton abandon. And aside from generating electricity, the dam performs a vital role in controlling and distributing water supplies downriver.
Photos of the Hoover Dam
What to Know Before You Go
The Hoover Dam is just outside Las Vegas.
The Bureau of Reclamation offers Powerplant and Dam Tours that start at the Visitor Center. You can find more information about those here.
I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »
I take photos and travel. I do it for a living. Seven continents. Dozens of countries. Up mountains. Under water. And a bunch of places in between. Based in Washington DC.