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A moment at Hoover Dam

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I thought I would take a short break from Asia and post a few shots from a stop at Hoover Dam in Nevada. There is no story this time, just some basic information and photos. Having lived in the Las Vegas area, I have been lucky enough to visit here a number of times. The Dam actually sits right on the border of Arizona and Nevada, and is situated about 32 miles from the Las Vegas strip.

Hoover Dam, Nevada Side

The Dam is often crowded with tourist from all over the world who are there to marvel at it's engineering magnificence and massive size. It is impossible to really capture the structure with a photograph, as you can only fit bits and pieces of it into a snapshot. It would be necessary to fly over by helicopter to get a full view.

Hoover Dam Bridge Construction

Getting to the Dam is easy by car and there are also day trips that you can take from the strip, which can be purchased online or information can usually be gathered at the hotel desks. A bridge is being constructed (see above picture) which will make it easy for traffic to cross the river, without driving over the Dam. This will be ideal for cargo trucks, but also the large amount of traffic that crosses back and forth between the states. After 911, the Dam road was prohibited for cargo trucks and this forced truckers to have to drive hundreds of miles out of their way to Needles, California to reach their destination. This bridge is supposed to be completed as early as Fall of 2010. There is a website about the project which you can access HERE. There is a live webcam that can be viewed by clicking on the camera icon to the left of the article.

Hoover Dam Garage

There is a large parking garage which was designed to fit more attractively into the natural rock and surroundings. The warm color almost blends in with the side of the mountain that it resides in. A fee of $7 is required to park there, and so far, I've never had trouble finding a space in there. There are also elevators on each floor if you do not wish to walk down the stairs.

One View from the parking garage at Hoover Dam

There are actually plenty of nice views from the various floors of the garage and plenty of safe areas to stand and take photos.

Sidewalk heading back up to the parking garage. Visitors Center on the left

Due to the ongoing construction of the new bridge and the popularity of Hoover Dam, it is not uncommon to have to wait in traffic for a while before getting to the garage. The traffic was pretty light on the day that I took this photo (above) and it didn't take any time to reach the garage. If you were driving from the Las Vegas strip, you would be heading in from the top of the hill where you can see the garage on your right.

Sidewalk in front of the garage and heading towards Hoover Dam

The good thing is that once you park, it is easy to walk around the area and enjoy the view, along with the architecture. A number of Palm Trees line the walkway and the grounds are kept up quite nicely. Although it is extremely safe here, there is always a friendly police presence.

Tilted angle view of Hoover Dam

I used a somewhat wide angle lens to capture this photo (above) and it was still impossible to fit the whole Dam into the picture. There are a number of statues at the Dam, one of which is a statue of a worker  (Joe Kline) that was sculpted by Steven Liguori. There is more information HERE about the art around Hoover Dam.

Statue of Joe Kline, a worker on the Hoover Dam. Sculpture by Steven Liguori

There are also the "Winged Figures of the Republic", which generally draw a large crowd of people, due to their unique design and beauty created by Norwegien born Oskar Hansen. There is a more detailed discussion on this art, at this link HERE.

One of the Winged Figures of the Republic, designed by Oskar Hansen

There is a Visitor's center which can be accessed by taking the escalators down (over by the parking garage) and walking across. The design of the center is also unique and modern. Designers took care to keep the colors in balance with the local desert surroundings and the copper colored glass reflects the sunlight beautifully. 

Standing on the Hoover Dam. The Visitor Center is the copper building in the middle

There are towers on the Lake Mead side, and both have clocks that show the time of the state that it sits in. There is a one hour difference between Nevada and Arizona. So walking within a few feet on the bridge changes your time-zone. Not terrible exciting, but a fact, non the less.

On the Nevada side of the Hoover Dam. Nevada towers on the right, with Nevada clock

Although there is a lot of traffic driving over the Dam, they are directed to drive slowly and there are crosswalks that are safe for pedestrians. I've never had a problem walking from one side to the other.

The road that runs across Hoover Dam 

There is also a cafe and gift shop next to the parking structure where you can sit down and relax. Keep in mind that depending on the time of year or day of week, it can be more or less crowded. The area is  handicap accessible and would be easy for a wheelchair to move around.

Hoover Dam structure 

There are plenty of interesting things to see and photograph around the Dam. The Visitors Center can provide a wealth of information about what, when, why and how. The link to the Visitor's Center and tour information from the local office is HERE.

On top of the parking garage at Hoover Dam

If you ever get to Las Vegas, then take the time to visit this amazing place. Be sure to take your camera and wear plenty of sunblock. It might be a good idea to take a bottle of water also. The desert sun can be quite harsh during the summertime. By the way, there are also public restrooms that are easy to get to.

View from the sidewalk on top of the Hoover Dam


Anonymous said...

I took this tour back in the early 90's when i was about 9 or 10.. I have been to almost all the National parks in the South west and West and East coast.. And this is one place i will never forget.. I am sorry to hear that you are no longer able to walk down threw the dam as that was exciting . I would say Visiting the hoover dam is something i will never forget.

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