Trying to decide between a visit to the Grand Canyon or to the Hoover Dam on your Las Vegas vacation can be difficult. Both of these iconic American landmarks offer a wealth of activities and breathtaking views of natural beauty and engineering marvels. We’ll compare the two and highlight some of the best things to do at each location, so you can decide which one is the best fit for your vacation plans. If you have time, you can always do both.
Do You Pass the Hoover Dam on the Way to the Grand Canyon?
The Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon are both located in the Southwest United States, but they are not directly on the way to each other. The Hoover Dam is located about 30 minutes to the east of Las Vegas, Nevada, while the Grand Canyon is located in northern Arizona, about a 4-hour drive from Las Vegas. Some Grand Canyon tours will stop on the Pat-Tillman and Mike O’Callaghan Bypass bridge over the dam, but there’s only time for a photo.
Grand Canyon: A Natural Wonder of the World
Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is one of the most famous natural wonders in the world. This massive gorge was carved over millions of years by the Colorado River and stretches for more than 277 miles. With its stunning red rock cliffs and breathtaking views, it’s no wonder that the Grand Canyon attracts millions of visitors each year.
Must-Do Activities at the Grand Canyon
Hiking: With more than 250 miles of trails, the Grand Canyon is a hiker’s paradise. Whether you’re looking for a challenging backcountry hike or a leisurely stroll along the rim, there’s a trail for you.
Helicopter rides: For a bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon, book a helicopter tour. These tours include a flight over the canyon and a landing at the bottom for a closer look.
Scenic drives: If you’re short on time or don’t want to tackle the trails, you can still see the Grand Canyon by car. The South Rim Drive takes you along the canyon’s edge, with plenty of pull-outs for photos and short hikes.
Skydiving: If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable experience, skydive over the Grand Canyon. We offer a bus and tandem skydiving tour that take you up in a plane for a scenic flight over the canyon before you jump out and freefall back to earth.
Hummer tours: For a rugged and off-road adventure, book a Hummer tour of the Grand Canyon. These guided tours take you along dirt trails and through the canyon’s backcountry, giving you a unique perspective on this natural wonder.
Whitewater rafting: For the adventurous types, the Colorado River offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the country. You can book a guided tour or rent your own raft and hit the water.
Sunset viewing: No trip to the Grand Canyon is complete without watching the sunset over the canyon’s red rock cliffs. Head to Mather Point or Hopi Point for some of the best views.
We recommend enjoying the Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tours with Skywalk Tickets, the Grand Canyon Skywalk at 4,000 feet above the canyon floor!
Hoover Dam: A Modern Engineering Marvel
Located on the border between Arizona and Nevada, the Hoover Dam is a feat of modern engineering. Built in the 1930s, this massive concrete dam spans the Colorado River and holds back the waters of Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake in the United States.
Must-Do Activities at the Hoover Dam
Dam tour: No visit to the Hoover Dam is complete without taking a tour of the facility. You’ll learn about the dam’s history, construction, and operation, and even get to see the turbines up close.
Power Plant tour: If you’re interested in the dam’s power generation capabilities, be sure to book a tour of the power plant. You’ll see how the dam’s massive turbines generate electricity and learn about the dam’s role in the Southwest’s power grid.
Bridge walk: For a unique perspective on the dam, take a walk across the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. Set just 1,500 feet from the dam, this offers panoramic views of the dam and the surrounding landscape.
Lake Mead recreation: The Hoover Dam is just a short drive from Lake Mead, a popular destination for boating, fishing, and water sports. Rent a boat or book a guided fishing tour and spend the day on the lake.
Hoover Dam Museum: If you want to learn more about the dam’s history and construction, visit the Hoover Dam Museum. Located in the visitor center, the museum features exhibits on the dam’s construction, as well as its impact on the Southwest’s water supply and power generation.
You can see all these sights on our Half-Day Hoover Dam from Las Vegas Tour. We include pick-up from most major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Area. Your professional and experienced guide will provide narration on this round-trip tour from Las Vegas while you enjoy a ride on a luxury motor coach with airline-style reclining seats, air conditioning, and large vista view windows so you won’t miss a thing.
The Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam — which should you choose?
Both the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam near Las Vegas are must-see destinations that offer a variety of activities for all interests and fitness levels. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the Grand Canyon’s hiking trails and whitewater rafting opportunities may be more appealing. On the other hand, if you’re interested in modern engineering and history, the Hoover Dam’s tours and museum exhibits may be more up your alley.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal interests and how much time you have to spend at each location. Both the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam are worth a visit, and you can’t go wrong with either choice. Check out all our tours from Las Vegas here.