Hoover Dam & Grand Canyon

Filed under: Articles,Just For Fun,Leisure,Vacation Tips |

After a couple of days in Vegas you’re left yearning for a dose of the “normal” world so we decided to rent a minivan and make the journey to Grand Canyon taking in Hoover Dam in the process.

We’d studied and asked how far and how long it would take and estimates ranged up to 380 miles and 5 hours. We decided to set off early and by 8am we were pretty much the first people to set foot on Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a huge concrete arch gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. The Dam is on the border between Arizona and Nevada and when it was completed in 1936, it was both the world’s largest hydroelectric power generating station and the world’s largest concrete structure. It was then surpassed in both these respects by the Grand Coulee Dam in 1945 and today the world’s 38th-largest hydroelectric generating station.

The Hoover Dam is located 30 miles southeast of LasVegas and was named after Herbert Hoover who played an instrumental role in its construction, first as the Secretary of Commerce and then later, as President of the United States.  Construction began in 1931, and was completed in 1936, a little more than two years ahead of schedule. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.

Lake Mead is the reservoir created by the dam, named after Elwood Mead,  who oversaw the construction of the dam. The guide we spoke to also told us of how Lake Mead has dropped some 120 feet in water level over the last 10 years and the following photo shows evidence of that:

From Hoover Dam we journeyed out to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s a long journey and nothing quite prepares you for what you are about to witness when you see the Grand Canyon for the first time. It’s simply awesome… a word I detest due to its overuse but even that doesn’t do the Grand Canyon justice.

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles  long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles (6.4 to 29 km) and attains a depth of over a mile or 6000 feet, whichever you prefer. Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s  geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists,recent evidence suggests the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River continued to erode and form the canyon to the point we see it today.

Grand Canyon Village is worth visiting as it houses Buckley O’Neil Cabin, Kolb Studio, El Tovar Hotel, Bright Angel Lodge, Lookout Studio, Hopi House and Grand Canyon Railway Depot.

The Grand Canyon is an amazing sight to see and it’s well worth making the trip from Vegas to see it. There are various ways to do it such as by helicopter, airplane, coach or by hiring a vehicle but be warned if you choose either of the latter two, it is going to be a very long day.

If you’re unsure about visiting, and you shouldn’t be, then give Red Rock Canyon a try. It’s located just 20 mins from Vegas and although nothing like the Grand Canyon it still makes for an interesting few hours to get away from all the madness that is Vegas itself.

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