Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hoover Dam

The new bridge crossing the Colorado river at Hoover Dam does not allow for decent views of the dam, or the river because it is too wide and the guardrails are too high.  This might be a good thing, as people would likely ignore the ‘no stopping’ signs on the bridge if there was anything to see!

Since we found a quiet boondocking spot in the desert not too far south on Hwy 93, it was an easy trip back to check out the scenery without a 5th wheel following right behind!

Originally, all traffic went right across the dam itself, but the road is very narrow and winding and congested, and added to security concerns post 9/11, a huge new bridge was built to avoid the dam and ease the traffic problems.  The new bridge opened just last year.

After going through a security check-point, vehicles are still allowed to go across the dam, visit the visitor center, and walk around the area.  For now though, it is a dead-end road, and once you cross the dam, you have to re-cross it to get back to the main highway.  It looks like at some point they may put another check on the Arizona side and allow through traffic, but for now you can only access the dam from the Nevada side on spur road 172.

The new bridge is very close to the dam itself, in fact the road leading to the dam switchbacks right underneath new bypass road, and the new bridge at one point, which offers good views from below.


On the far (Arizona) side of the dam there are a number of parking areas (closest ones are ‘pay’), where you can observe the dam or walk down onto it.  It was too hot to park where there is no shade, so Hailey and I just looked down from above.


Water levels in lake Mead behind the dam are about 100’ lower than they have been in the past, so a lot of the dam, the dry overflow spillways and banks of the lake are exposed.


There is also a pedestrian walkway onto the new highway bridge, which likely provides great views of the downstream side of the dam, but once again there was no shade in the parking areas and temps were 35C (96F), and I could not leave Hailey in the truck.

After leaving the dam area we drove down to check out the lake access via the Kingman wash, just past the dam on the Arizona side.  We had checked it out on the way by, but was clearly too rough for the 5th wheel.  Now, we drove it all the way to the lake.  It was moderately rough, and moderately scenic, with the desert in bloom along the way.


As in most of the facilities on Lake Mead, these washroom buildings are now about a half mile back from the actual lakeshore because the water is so low.



There were a few boaters and fishers camped at the water’s edge, including a class A RV, so I guess the road is not too rough for all RV’s!


Back on the new section of Hwy 93 south towards Kingman, there are a number of wildlife overpasses (and underpasses).  The overpasses were apparently designed for the Desert Bighorns to safely cross the road.



Next:  following the Eldorado Jeep trail from our camp to Lake Mohave.


  1. Last time we crossed the Hoover Dam was in 1994 & there sure was a lot more water in Lake Mead at that time. First time in 1986 there was definately enough water in there to float a battleship. Yep, figured a person could probably get a far better look at the new bridge from below alright.

  2. Thanks for the informative pictures !

    I have never been there and now know I won't.


  3. Thanks for the informative pictures !

    I have never been there and now know I won't.


  4. Great pictures of the dam, it was a good way to remember our visit there.

  5. Nice photos. I look forward to seeing the new bridge. Hopefully riding out there with my son in 2012.

  6. Great photos. I was there just two months ago. We went through the security check point from the Nevada side, drove over the dam and parked in a lot on the other side. We didn't go far enough to realize the road was closed. On the Nevada side, there is a nice little town nearby where we stopped and ate at a nice sidewalk cafe.