Arizona, Nevada, Where We've Been

Hoover Dam

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Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam lies on the Colorado River with the state line shared between Nevada and Arizona running down the middle. It is an engineering marvel that demonstrates American ingenuity and willpower.

The dam was built on the backs of 21,000 laborers over the course of 5 years. Using an estimated 6.6 million tons of concrete, it was the tallest dam in the world. Its 17 turbines are able to generate enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes. It can irrigate 2 million acres of land. Because of its construction, development of major southwest cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix were possible.

Today, the water level at Hoover Dam is at a historic low. It hasn’t been this low since the dam was being filled for the first time in 1937. The drought that is plaguing the west has been in effect for over 20 years now with no sign of relenting. In 2000, when the water level was at a high point, the water level stood at around 1,210 feet. However, at the latest measurement taken in July 2022, the water level stood at only 1,041 feet. It would spell danger if the water level falls below 1,000 feet. At that point the dam’s turbines will be affected and may not be able to operate, effectively losing power to 1.3 million homes.

We did the Power Plant Tour while we were visiting Hoover Dam. The tour started with watching a short movie showing the history and construction of the dam. Then we were guided to an elevator that led us down into the innerworkings of the powerplant. You can see the two powerplant arms in the picture below. There were two sections that they took us to. The first was a tube that allowed water to come through from Lake Mead and be channeled into the powerplant room. In the powerplant room were massive turbines spinning to generate electricity before the water was let back out to rejoin the Colorado River. 

Hoover Dam Lodge and Casino

I neglected to get any pictures of our “boondocking” site. It was basically a parking lot at the Hoover Dam Lodge and Casino. We were next to a couple of trucks and a scenic area overlooking Lake Mead. 

There were a couple of coyotes running around in the Lake Mead overlook area. They came into the parking lot and were digging through the trash at one point.

It wasn’t very quiet because of the trucks, but it was ok for an overnight.