Visiting Hoover Dam: A Traveler’s Guide

With the opening of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge (Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge) officially opened to traffic in October 2010, vehicles traveling on U.S. Highway 93 no longer cross Hoover Dam. Visitors to the dam must now exit US 93 at Nevada State Route 172 to reach the site.

Additionally, the dam is not open to through-traffic, as the roadway on the Arizona side of the site has been closed.

Vehicles can still cross the dam to visit the Arizona viewpoints and concessions, but all are required to turn around and re-enter Nevada to access Highway 93.

Visitors who have Hoover Dam as a destination in their travel plans need to know a few facts, as there are some restrictions around the site.

Also, all vehicles entering the dam site are subject to inspection by officers at the security checkpoint located approximately 1 mile from the dam.

Here are some guidelines to help you on your way:

What vehicles CAN come to the dam?

All passenger vehicles with a cargo capacity of one-ton or less, including:

  • automobiles
  • light trucks (including pickups with covered beds)
  • dual-wheel rear-axle vehicles
  • vans
  • sport utility vehicles
  • motorcycles
  • Semi-truck “bob-tails” without trailers
  • Buses WITHOUT luggage

NOTE: All buses will be inspected, including a walk-through of the passenger area; carry-ons such as small backpacks are okay.

  • Recreational vehicles and motor-homes
  • Vehicles towing camper-type or other small trailers, personal watercraft or boats, 5th wheel
    trailers, or non-commercial livestock trailers
  • Rental trucks (such as U-Haul/Ryder-type) 40 feet or less in length

NOTE: These vehicles and their contents will be inspected thoroughly – also, at the discretion of the inspecting officer, a walkable “aisle” must be available inside the cargo area for a front-to-back inspection of contents.

  • Tow trucks with 10 wheels or less towing no more than 2 vehicles
  • Commercial vehicles with permits (see permit section for more information)

What vehicles CANNOT come to Hoover Dam?

  • All commercial semi-trucks (18-wheelers), including those with empty flatbed trailers

NOTE: Commercial vehicles with permits are allowed (see permit section for more info)

  • Buses WITH luggage
  • Enclosed box trucks, moving vans, and/or race-car-type boxed vehicle/equipment transport trailers longer than 40 feet
  • Double-stacked trailers
  • Vehicles with cargo that cannot be inspected
  • Vehicles carrying hazardous, combustible or flammable materials (other than the vehicle’s fuel), munitions, explosives, fertilizer in excess of 40 lbs., fuel in authorized containers (gas cans, fuel drums, etc.) in excess of 25 gallons, or any material perceived to be a security risk.

Please remember, these are only guidelines… inspecting officers at Hoover Dam may use their professional discretion in permitting a vehicle to cross or not.

Hoover Dam Inspection Checkpoint

What is its purpose?

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, checkpoints were established to provide security control by restricting certain vehicles from crossing the dam.

Where is it?

The checkpoint is located on Nevada State Route 172, one mile north of the dam.

Who must stop at it?

All motorists who wish to visit the Dam must stop for inspection at the request of security personnel.

Who staffs it?

The checkpoint is staffed by Bureau of Reclamation Police Officers and contracted security personnel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Hoover Dam Vehicle Inspection Tips

Will my vehicle be inspected?

Any vehicle may be fully inspected before it is allowed to pass through the checkpoint. Certain types of vehicles (RVs, rental trucks, etc.) will always be inspected.

What areas of my vehicle will be inspected?

Vehicle passenger areas, trunks, cargo areas, engine compartments, undercarriages, and cargo holds may be searched, as well as any closed or locked containers. Also, bus cargo-bays, the covered beds of pickups, and pop-up trailer interiors will all be inspected.

Will an officer open or remove any cargo from my vehicle?

No. Vehicle operators or passengers will be responsible for removing any cargo coverings and for opening doors, compartments, cabinets, boxes, and crates, as well as repacking removed items.

What if I don’t want my vehicle inspected?

If a driver does not wish to have the vehicle inspected, or if the vehicle cannot be fully inspected, it will not be allowed through the checkpoint.

Can I carry weapons in my vehicle across Hoover Dam?

Yes, as long as their transport complies with state and federal standards, i.e. guns must be unloaded and in compliance with concealment laws. Also, no more than 1000 rounds of ammunition may be transported across the dam. Weapons are not permitted in any Bureau of Reclamation facility.

Hoover Dam Commercial Vehicle Permits

Who can get a permit?

Permits are issued to commercial vehicles belonging to local businesses that are contracted to work at Hoover Dam. The items they transport must be easy to inspect. Permits will not be issued to trucks with box-type trailers/containers.

How do I get a permit?

A permit application can be downloaded at: Hoover Dam Permit.pdf or contact the Hoover Dam Police at (702) 494-2312 or to request an application.

Information required includes:

  • Name of the business owner
  • Nature of the business
  • Nature of cargo
  • Cargo departure/destination locations
  • Photocopies of drivers licenses
  • Photocopies of all vehicle registration documents

Upon completion, the application should be mailed to the Hoover Dam Police:

Regular Mail:
Bureau of Reclamation
Lower Colorado Dams Office
ATTN: Hoover Dam Police Department
PO Box 60400
Boulder City NV 89006

Bureau of Reclamation
Hoover Dam
ATTN: Hoover Dam Police Department
Central Warehouse 2
Nevada State Route 172
Boulder City NV 89005
Phone: (702) 494-2312

How long does processing take?

About 3 work days upon receipt.

When do I have to renew?

Permits may be issued for up to periods of one year; however, all expiration dates will coincide with the date the permit was issued from the Hoover Dam Police Department.

What is the cost?

There is no charge for these permits.

Travel Tips

What are the best times to visit the dam?

Before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m. (Pacific Time).

What are the worst times to visit the dam?

Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. as visitation to the site is typically highest during that timeframe. Also, traffic across the dam during holidays and weekends can be extremely heavy with long delays on the roadways to the site.

The busiest seasons at Hoover Dam are the summer months from Memorial Day until Labor Day, and during Spring Break in late March/early April.

Can I stop my vehicle on top of Hoover Dam?

No. Stopping any vehicle on top of the dam is prohibited, and pedestrians are prohibited from the top of the dam during hours of darkness. You can stop at the parking lots and roadway turnouts on each side of the dam.

Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge

Can I see the dam from my car as I cross the new Hoover Dam Bridge?

No, Hoover Dam is NOT visible to those driving across the bridge.

Can I access the Hoover Dam Bridge as a pedestrian?

Yes, visitors can access the bridge from a Pedestrian Plaza inside the Hoover Dam security zone (vehicles are subject to inspection prior to accessing this site).

A parking area for approximately 70 vehicles is provided near the bridge in Nevada just past the security checkpoint; a set of stairs and access ramps lead to the sidewalk across the bridge.

Several interpretive stations are available along the walkway that features panoramic views of Hoover Dam, the Colorado River, and Lake Mead. Access to this area is only available during daylight hours.

When was the new Hoover Dam Bridge opened to traffic?

This bridge, the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States and the longest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere, was opened to traffic on October 19, 2010.

Where can I get information about the new Hoover Dam Bridge?

Visit the Federal Highway Administration’s web site at: – Hoover Dam Bridge

Are there alternate routes across the Colorado River other than the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge?

Yes, motorists can use U.S. Highway 95 and Nevada State Route 163/Arizona State Route 68 through Laughlin, Nevada, and Bullhead City, Arizona, to cross the Colorado River to the south; this route adds about 23 miles to travel.

For updated information on the status of Hoover Dam traffic or area roadway construction, call toll free 888-248-1259 or contact the Bureau of Reclamation’s External Affairs Office at 702-293-8421.

January 2011

Source: US Department of the Interior
Bureau of Reclamation


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