Dogs Not Allowed At The Hoover Dam

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.

no pets hoover dam sign

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.

no pets hoover dam

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.

Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

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.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Gayle November 27, 2011 at 10:16

I was there several years ago. Hoover Dam is absolutely incredible. One might think that creating a pet friendly area would have been better than banning them. There is no doubt that this policy will turn away visitors.


Anil P. November 28, 2011 at 06:52

Or at worst get them caught in a situation where they have to turn around if they’ve got dogs with them.


BenjiDog February 17, 2012 at 21:33

I was planning on seeing the dam with my pet, but screw it. This country is becoming a bigger police state everyday. I may look into getting him certified as a guide dog. There you go big brother! Stop me now and I’ll sue under the ADA!

Always a way. : )


Anil P. February 20, 2012 at 19:13

Certainly one way to go about it, though you’d probably have to act like you couldn’t see to pull it off. Tough to do with such incredible views.


Kenin - The Constant Rambler January 30, 2013 at 01:23

We visited the hoover dam last summer and were shocked to find the dogs were not allowed. We pretty much just drove through at that point. It was very frustrating.


Anil P. January 30, 2013 at 09:13

It’s really puzzling to be honest and am sure so many people end up having to turn back because dogs aren’t allowed.


Ruth (Tanama Tales) January 30, 2013 at 19:57

I didn’t know about these pet restrictions at the Hoover Dam. I can see how temperatures such as 115 degrees F can affect pets during hot months but it is weird to not get reasons for other seasons. Some places in California are getting strict with pets too. For example, you cannot bring your pet to the Venice Beach boardwalk on weekends. It is a hassle for people who go to with pets and didn’t know the rules. Last year, my friends hid their dog on a stroller to avoid a fine.


Anil P. January 31, 2013 at 05:34

I guess it’s to prevent bad dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets from messing the area up. But at Hoover Dam, there’s enough security around to make sure people do pick up their dog’s poop.


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