Visiting Las Vegas? Why Hoover Dam, Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge & Lake Mead must be on your to do list

Hoover Dam Nevada Las Vegas from














Most people visiting Las Vegas (one of most favourite places in the world to visit!) never get past the madness that is “The Strip”. Some do go on a flying trip by plane or helicopter to the Grand Canyon. This includes a quick fly over the massive Hoover Dam Wall to let them capture a few trophy shots. So they can say they saw the famous Hoover Dam Wall.

This is not enough, in my view. They are missing a fascinating, engaging and calming day out. I think everyone visiting Las Vegas should, at least once, spend a day exploring the impressive Hoover Dam Wall, the staggeringly remarkable Hoover Dam By-Pass (Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge to give it the correct name) and the cooling and calming Lake Mead.

I love going to the Hoover Dam and the stunning Lake Mead that it holds back. Every time we go to Las Vegas we make sure we take one day, at least, to enjoy it.

Hoover Dam Wall is an icon. An art deco and engineering phenomenon!
Built during the Great Depression between 1931 and 1936, 100 men lost their lives constructing this massive structure. It is a massive and powerful concrete bulk that you cannot but be impressed by. Even more so when on the bridge and see the Art Deco styling and features. 

It was built to dam the Colorado River, that runs through the Grand Canyon. It was to create a dam to supply water in the middle of the Nevada Desert to the fast growing cities like Las Vegas – and to provide electricity for both Nevada and Arizona. It is built across the boundary between the 2 states.

Not only can you enjoy views of the bridge and walk across the bridge, but you can also go on a tour that includes a video of the building and takes you right down to the base of the dam wall to see the Art deco styled turbine halls. You can usually also go outside and look up and appreciate just how high and huge the dam wall is. The tour is fascinating and leaves you with amazement at the engineering that is heading towards being a century old!

Out on top, you can walk across the top of the dam wall. And travel in time. Arizona and Nevada are in different time zones, and so you can travel across the time zone

For more on the tours visit the USA Government Official Site:

Hoover Dam Bridge By-Pass. Another Staggering engineering feat!
The whole area is now even more impressive as in addition to the Hoover Dam, they have also build a stunning high level traffic bridge called The Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. 

This bridge was built post the 9/11 attacks as it was felt that it would be safer and better to not have as much traffic crossing the Hoover Dam. It also increases capacity and the speed to cross the border.

The new bridge is an amazing technical feat, and highly impressive. There was one fatality in building the bridge, unlike the main Hoover Dam which had over 100 deaths.

You can walk over the bridge, and you get great photos across to the Hoover Dam wall and Lake Mead. Well worth doing! The video below shows just how high up and what amazing views you will get.

Find out more on the Official Hoover Dam By-Pass site

Lake Mead. Calming, cooling and relaxing
Lake Mead is the name of the lake created by the Hoover Dam Wall. The Dam Wall is named after President Hoover, and some think the lake is the Hoover lake. It is not!

Lake Mead is a large and very deep lake, and it is formed by the flooding of the mountains that used to be there. There are some beach like areas that people can swim in, and there is a large marina where you can hire boats and jet skis. Since 1964 the whole area is now part of a bigger Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which means it is carefully maintained as an open and under developed place of natural beauty.

The lake is a pleasant and cooling place to swim in the heat of the desert. The lake level had fallen very dramatically over the last decade, and it was quite frightening to see by just how much. You can see by the large 20 to 30 foot high white coloured rock patches around the lake showing where the water level used to be. As the lake also supplies much of the water used in nearby Las Vegas, this was a real concern.

The level is starting to increase again significantly as the last few winters have seen a lot of snow falls hundreds of miles and miles away in the mountains. This is what determines the level of the lake. This is the key to the level of the lake as it defrosts and works it way down the river into the lake.

If you hire a boat or jet ski, you can sail fairly close to the wall and also get great views. We did just this, and then parked them and swam in the cool water. 

This is a huge and fabulous lake. It is very quiet in the week, and you feel as if you have it to yourself. On Jet Skis and boats you can dial up pretty close to the Hoover Dam Wall. This allows a very different perspective. It is quite an experience. In the video below it starts showing the view from a jet ski I took of the Dam Wall.

For more on Lake Mead Marina and Rentals visit the Lake Mead Marina Site

Most people that go to Las Vegas, will just see the Lake Mead, Hoover Dam Wall and the new By-Pass bridge  by taking a quick flight over it on the way to the Grand Canyon. But it really is worth taking the drive out to it, which is about at most 40 minutes from The Strip in Las Vegas. Highly recommended.

The video I made of the Bridge, Hoover dam Wall and Lake Mead (including jet skiing):

Hoover Dam By-Pass: Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge from
Hoover Dam By-Pass: Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Hoover Dam Wall & By-Pass Bridge from Lake Mead Las Vegas from

Turbine Hall inside Hoover Dam Wall Las Vegas Nevada from
Turbine Hall inside Hoover Dam Wall Las Vegas Nevada

Other Las Vegas articles on


Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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