A side trip many visitors to Las Vegas make is visiting the Hoover Dam and the surrounding hills to take pictures as well as hike. Approximately 35 miles away, many pet owners staying in that surprisingly pet friendly city may assume the outdoor nature of the Hoover Dam an ideal place to give their dog a proper walk. That’s what I immediately assumed myself until pulling up to the parking deck – the first question the attendant asked was whether I was traveling with pets.
Fortunately I wasn’t traveling with this little guy who was resting comfortably in an air conditioned refuge with relatives. It did throw me off however, as I’m sure there are many pet owners who have to turn back due to the restrictions at the Hoover Dam. (Which, by the way, don’t apply to service animals.)
Why Are Pets Restricted?
None of the staff at the Hoover Dam could give me a good reason for the restriction. The crowds certainly didn’t seem to suggest space was an issue, either across the walkways of the dam itself nor on the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge nearby (where pets are also restricted). According to United States Department of the Interior, pets are not allowed for their own safety and those of others. Certainly heat may be an issue during the summer months but aside from the dam below, the walkway across the Hoover Dam isn’t much more than a wide sidewalk.
The same goes for the long winding trails that lead to the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge and its pedestrian path, which provides incredible views of the Hoover Dam, Colorado River, and winding highways on both side traversing Nevada and Arizona.
Don’t Bring Your Pets – Or Try To
It’s never wise to break federal regulations as obviously as they will be when you’ve got your four-legged friend trotting alongside of you. There are numerous park police at various points on the Hoover Dam, the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, and even along the distant scenic overviews where pets aren’t allowed.
You not only face a fine but likely also ruin an experience to see what is an incredible feat of architecture. Hopefully one day the restrictions will be eased to more sensible regulations and your pets can enjoy the views of the Hoover Dam as well.