Boulder City Nevada

By Bob Grove

My first experience in Boulder City was during my college days in Cedar City Utah. A group of us spent the weekend in Boulder City wind sailing on a nearby dry lake and hiking in Bootleg Canyon. This was also my first time visiting Hoover Dam and and Lake Mead. I was hooked and have been back many times since.

The only city in Nevada without gaming or casinos, Boulder City is a great alternative for those who don’t enjoy staying in casinos, driving in traffic, and navigating through crowds. The population is around 15,000 giving it a small town feel and it’s only 30 minutes south of the Las Vegas strip.

Boulder City is home to Nevada’s number one visited attraction, Hoover Dam, and is close to Lake Mead, North America’s largest man-made lake. Other things to see and do include Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon zip line park, Bootleg Canyon mountain bike trails, where you may spot Desert Bighorn Sheep.

Our Route

There are a couple of options for driving to Boulder City from the St. George area where we live; one scenic the other through Las Vegas. I generally prefer taking the scenic route but due to a late start getting out of town we chose Las Vegas this trip. To take the scenic route, jump on Interstate-15 south to exit 93 and follow NV-169 south through the towns of Logandale, Moapa Valley, and Overton. This route also passes the east entrance to Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada’s first state park. The Valley of Fire is a collection of fiery red sandstone rock cliffs, mountains and canyons situated between I-15 and Lake Mead. I should mention that Moapa Valley is a popular recreation area known for it’s excellent off-road ATV trails, hiking, rappelling in Valley of Fire, and water sports at nearby Lake Mead. I’ll save the details for another time, that’s a whole trip in itself, which I prefer taking during the cooler months from late fall to early spring.

Once you’re past Valley of Fire the road turns to the southwest and becomes Northshore Drive that follows Lake Mead’s shoreline for most of the drive to Boulder City. Once you reach US-93, turn right for Boulder City or left for Hoover Dam and Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. Distance from exit 93 at Interstate-15 to Boulder City is approximately 81 miles. view map

Attractions & Things to Do

Hoover Dam, formerly called the Boulder Dam. Located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River on the border between Arizona and Nevada, the dam was constructed during the depression and dedicated on September 30, 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Click here for the dam tour information. Boulder City / Hoover Dam Museum – Located in the Boulder Dam Hotel – ​The Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum tells the story of the Boulder Canyon Project as it was experienced by the men and women who braved the desolation of the Southern Nevada desert to build Hoover Dam and Boulder City. Open Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm, Boulder Dam Hotel guests receive free admission. Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge – Hoover Dam Bypass – serves thousands of drivers on U.S. 93 each day. The bridge is 1,900 feet long and its twin concrete arches – at 1,060 feet – are the longest in the western hemisphere.  At 890 feet above the river below, it is the second tallest in the United States, second only to the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado. The walkway along the bridge offers unobstructed views of Hoover Dam. Lake Mead Recreational Area – Lake Mead NRA offers year-round recreational opportunities inlcluding boating, water sports, fishing, sightseeing, hiking, camping, and biking. Click here for more information. Southern Nevada Rail Road Museum – Ride the rails and experience history dating back to the 1930’s – the time this Boulder Branch Line was constructed by the Union Pacific Railroad to service the Boulder Dam project. Bootleg Canyon Trails – Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park is an extensive network of World Class Downhill and Cross Country mountain bike trails located in Boulder City, Nevada. Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon – Located in historic Bootleg Canyon minutes from downtown Boulder City. This adrenaline-pumping experience covers more than 1.5 miles of zip line over the course of four separate runs. The 3-hour adventure will take you atop of Red Mountain and send you screaming down historic Bootleg Canyon at speeds up to 60 mph.

Places to Stay

Boulder Dam Hotel – This Historic hotel opened in 1933 during the construction of the Boulder Dam. Home to the the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum and Gift Shop, the Boulder City Art Guild Gallery, three unique shops, and Matteo’s Restaurant and Underground Lounge. Conveniently located within walking distance of downtown shops and restaurants.

Places to Eat

Boulder Dam Brewing Company – BrewPub & Outdoor Beer Garden, featuring specialty beers brewed on site; wine & food. Space available for special events. Bus hrs Sun-Thur 11am-9pm; Fri-Sat 11am-Midnight. The Coffee Cup – Old fashioned diner featured on the popular TV show, Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives. Open for breakfast and lunch.


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