Continued from 4 days in Las Vegas as a Tourist (Day 3)
Trip Date: 16th October 2016
The final day of our Las Vegas trip was dedicated for 2 of the nearby attractions, which are not to be missed : The Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon.
Since we had decided to visit Hoover Dam, first thing in the morning, we decided to stay closer to Hoover Dam instead of continuing our stay in the strip Hotel. This basically helped us save about 40 mins driving time in the morning. Also, for the price, the Hoover Dam lodge was clean, comfortable and the casino area was better than what I got on the strip. We started the day off spending sometime around the Blackjack machine. It had good winning odds and fun to play along with my mom and RK.
Once we were done at the casino, we went straight ahead to the Hoover Dam area.
The first stop was at the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge Plaza. The parking is located on the right side of the Hoover Dam access road less than a mile before the actual Hoover dam parking. We almost missed it the first time we went to the dam. From this access point, you have a short trail which leads you into a arch bridge constructed across the Colorado river. The bridge actually carries U.S. Route 93 over the Colorado River, but pedestrians have safe pathways to walk over it to enjoy the view of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. It is indeed a beautiful view of the area.
Once we are done with the bridge, we directly moved on to the Hoover Dam parking. Hoover Dam is nothing but a arch shaped dam built across the colorado river. It is a must see tourist attraction due to its sheer size and the beautiful surrounding. There were tours available at the Visitor Center to show you the functioning of the hydro electric power plant. However, we stuck with our agenda and walked right across the Hoover Dam enjoying the massive construction and the beautiful scenery.
Since we were headed to the Grand Canyon next, we choose to have an early lunch. Though we were there on an weekday, still the food court was open and serving fresh food like fries, sandwiches, etc. After having a hearty lunch combining food we had brought along and from the food court, we decided to move to the next location.
Grand Canyon West
I am sure that our next stop, Grand Canyon doesn’t need any introduction. Even before visiting it for the first time, I have pretty much seen it in many movies, pics and heard a lot about its majestic views. However, the only thing I did not know about it earlier was the 4 different entrances and rims. Namely North, East, West and South. I have been to the East and South entrances on a prior visit. The South Rim is the one which is actually part of the National Park and super cool. The West Rim is more closer to Las Vegas but is not part of the National Park. It rather is rather part of the Hualapai Reservation.
We chose to do the West rim for 2 reasons: proximity to Vegas and the Skywalk experience. It took us little less than 2 hours to reach the Grand Canyon West parking. Unlike the National Park, on the West side, you have to mandatorily take one of the tours to get in to the different view points. You can just drive up until the main visitor center / gift shop in your own vehicle. The tours offer a shuttle service to the view points, food and a chance to walk on the Skywalk. I chose to skip the food and purchased just the shuttle and skywalk option. In my opinion the prices are on the higher side though.
The first view point for the shuttle was at the Eagle Point. A beautiful viewpoint to check out the sacred eagle formation, sleeping dog formation and the miles after miles of the deep canyons cut across by the river. They had the skywalk nearby as well. Skywalk is a glass, horseshoe-shaped bridge that allows visitors to walk beyond the canyon walls, about 4,000 feet above the riverbed. It is a one of a kind experience. The only drawback is that they don’t let you take any personal belonging along with you, including your camera.
Once we were done with the first point, we took the next shuttle to the Guano Point. There was a short trail which lead visitors to a fascinating view of an old Guano Mine. Also, you get a nice view of the canyon floor and the river from vantage points here. The next shuttle then took us back to the visitor center. From here you can pick up your car and ride back.
It would take about 2 hours to get back to Las Vegas to complete the round trip. However, since we wanted to have a quick stop at Sedona, we had booked our flight out of Phoenix. Hence, instead of driving West back to vegas, we drove 4-5 hours out East to complete short stops at other places like Flagstaff, Sedona and Phoenix, to complete our lovely trip.
– C U until the next trip diary –