Let’s get it over with and state the obvious. Like it or not, seeing the historic Hoover Dam will soon cost you. Entrance Fees are coming to Hoover Dam.
Don’t worry, currently, you can still see the dam, walk the bridge and enjoy some time outside of Las Vegas all for free. But we are not sure exactly how long that free will last.
A popular tourist excursion outside of Las Vegas is to drive out about 30 minutes south of Las Vegas and visit historic Boulder City. People like that the town seems to be stuck in a bygone era. The main drive thru the town is filled with small, often family-owned shops, diners, and restaurants. There is also a great museum as well as a free audio walking tour of part of the city
After a little time in Boulder City, visitors like to stop at Hemenway Valley Park to see if the Big Horn Sheep have come down to graze, then head off to see the reason Boulder City exists.
The little town of 16,000 people was built in the 1930s in order to house the workers (and their families) who were building what became one of the greatest mechanical wonders of the modern world. Hoover Dam
State Highway 93, used to cross Hoover Dam into Arizona. After the terror attacks of 9/11/2001, the government installed a security checkpoint on both sides of the dam. In 2010, we opened The Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. And created Interstate 11. Removing highway traffic off the dam.
From the security checkpoint on the Nevada side, you can drive down, across the dam to the Arizona side, then return the same way. The road no longer connects back to the highway on the Arizona side.
To get down to see the dam, you need to stop for a security screening. For most people, it’s a cursory thing. Stop, roll down your windows and follow the directions of the nice officers standing on both sides of your vehicle. Large vehicles and those pulling trailers, need to go into a different lane and may be subject to a more intimate inspection!
NOTE: This is not a “rent a cop” situation. You are dealing with Federal officers. So don’t play stupid with them. Do as they direct you to do. I have seen many times what happens when stupid tourist thinks they can outsmart the man/woman with a badge. It ain’t pretty. Ok?
Several years ago, they started to charge tour companies a per person fee for the inspection and entrance to Hoover Dam drive.
FYI: Hoover Dam is technically not part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Meaning your National Park Pass probably won’t work here.
Then they started work on a new, permanent structure that could handle several lanes of various types of vehicles. Since I do Hoover Dam tours, I have been able to watch the progress of this new entrance station and it’s coming along nicely.
There is no real set date on when the new entrance will be operational. We are guessing by the progress, it should be open later this year or early next year. It’s the federal government, they are not known to be on time or punctual!!
As I said earlier, they are currently only charging tour operators a per person fee to enter. With the new entrance, the idea is to charge an entrance fee to everyone heading down to see Hoover Dam and the bridge. It may be a per vehicle fee or a per person fee. That is still being worked out from what we are being told.
Fee or Free?
As far as we have been told, nothing else is changing. Once the new fees start, you would pay your entrance fee, you drive on down. Stop and park, then walk up The Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge to get an awesome view of the Hoover Dam and the Colorado River below. Thats still free.
Drive down to the dam. The parking garage charges $10 per vehicle to park. or continue to drive across the Dam to the Arizona side. The first lot on the Arizona side is known as “Lot 9” and that is $10 per vehicle. Continue to drive past Lot 9 and you will find several other overlooks with free parking.
Currently, there is NO ENTRANCE FEE for private vehicles! The new fees will start later this year or early next year. Follow The Vegas Tourist on Instagram and Facebook for updates on when and how much the new fees will be.