Our first stop after leaving our hotel in Las Vegas was the Hoover Dam. It was only about a 45 minute drive from Las Vegas. There’s a large parking garage you can park in for $10, then walk over and around the dam. Unfortunately there were no tours happening when we were there (I read something online about elevator troubles) so we just walked around on our own.
There are lots of signs giving information about how the dam was built, which was really interesting. It’s so big! We walked across the bridge looking over Lake Mead, then crossed the street at the end of the bridge and came back looking on the Colorado River side. There’s one part of the bridge where you can stand with one leg in Nevada and one in Arizona. It blew my mind to think about people building this huge structure in the 1930s. Over 100 people died during the building process.
We saw a lot of people walking on the huge bridge that bypasses the Hoover Dam (it’s called the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge) and wanted to get up there to get a better view. It took a while to figure out how to get up there, but eventually we found that if we went to the top of the parking garage, there was a trail leading to the bridge.
The bridge was super crowded and windy! Tons of people walking on it and taking pictures with selfie sticks and iPads. But, it offered great views of the dam. Also amazing thinking about how this bridge was built...there were lots of signs and pictures of that process as well.
While walking around, I saw a guy walking a dog that had doggie hiking boots on to protect her paws from the hot pavement.
All in all, we spent a couple hours wandering around. It was a sunny, beautiful day, and was a nice intro day to our big trip. From the dam we drove to Williams, Arizona, which is where our hotel was for the Grand Canyon portion of the trip. Williams is about an hour drive from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, but there’s not really anywhere else to stay very close to the canyon unless you actually stay inside the park.
Williams is on “Route 66” and has a bunch of old-fashioned restaurants and shops. There’s also a train station there, where you can take a train to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We drove around this little town then checked into our hotel, a Ramada/Williams. The hotel was fine - nothing fancy, but an easy location.
After unloading our stuff we went back out for dinner. We went to Historic Brewing Co. for dinner and it was SO good. I did not have high expectations for food during this trip, being a vegetarian and not wanting fast food, but this place was awesome. Our waiter was super friendly and helpful and told us about all 16 of the beers they make. My mom and I each got a flight of 6 beers to sample and ordered dinner. The beer was good, the food was good, all around just a great experience.
After dinner we were going to wander around town but we were both tired and cold. Instead we stopped at a grocery store to get some items for breakfast and some snacks then headed back to the hotel.
This was a pretty nice, easy intro day to our trip. We went to sleep anxious to hit our first park in the morning!