Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada. When completed in 1936, it was both the world’s largest hydroelectric power generating station and the world’s largest concrete structure. It was surpassed in both these respects by the Grand Coulee Dam in 1945. It is currently the world’s 38th-largest hydroelectric generating station.
When I visited in March of 2009, the water level of Lake Mead was relatively low. The sun-baked earth of Nevada and Arizona contrasts heavily with the bleached earth, marking the high water line of the lake. Where I stood was the bridge over the spillway for the dam. Last used in the 80’s these spillways, when used, bypass water around the dam at over 120mph. Looking down these tubes (large enough for a bus to fit through) is not for the faint of heart.
Two tours of the dam are available and well worth the time and money spent. For $11 per person (discounts available for children, seniors and active military) is the Hoover Dam Power Plant Tour. It is broken up into several components at numerous locations. The unique tour format allows guests to pick and choose which locations they want to see and the complete tour generally lasts about two hours.