Are you in Vegas and starting to get a little sick of drinking and gambling the whole day away? Don’t worry, just rent a car and drive 30 km (18 miles) southeast to Boulder City. First, driving through the area will allow you to experience the amazing desert, with the sun high in the sky, and sand and cactuses wherever you look. Second, Boulder City has something for history lovers, nature lovers, and adventure lovers alike. Just choose how you want to spend your time, as it has a huge variety of options. Here are the best things to do in Boulder City, Nevada!
1. Railroad Museum
If you were ever curious about the history of the famous US railroad that used to run through the entire country, transporting gold, animals, and people since 1827, there is no better place for you than Boulder City. Nevada State Railroad Museum offers a big collection of locomotives, train cars, and photographs. You can also take the train, which is from 1930s; there’s no better way to experience the past. The train leaves from Nevada Southern Railway station (off Yucca Street). The ride is 11.25 km (7 miles) long (the trip is about 45 minutes) and takes you along the historic Boulder Branch Line. The trip will cost you 10 USD and admission to the museum is 6 USD.
Nevada State Railroad Museum
Railway Station Address: 601 Yucca Street, Boulder City, Nevada 89005
Museum Address: 2180 S Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701
2. Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
The blue water running under the amazing arched bridge through the big canyon–that just asks for a photo. But Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is not only a place for nice shots. The bridge was opened in 2010 in order to create a safer route than US 93 over the Hoover Dam (which was identified as “dangerous” as early as the 1960s), and it was named to honour the Korean War veteran Mike O'Callaghan and the football player killed in Afghanistan, Pat Tillman.
Interesting fact: since its opening, there have been 8 suicides on the bridge.
Address: Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Website: Memorial Bridge
3. Hoover Dam
The Memorial Bridge, mentioned above, gives a spectacular view of the Hoover Dam, which is located in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River. It was opened in 1936 and was built to control floods and produce hydroelectric power. Today, the Hoover Dam is still in use and there are two lanes of traffic that run across it. The Bureau of Reclamation offers tours of the dam where you can learn a lot about its history and purpose. The tour lasts 1 hour and costs 30 USD. It’s recommended to book the tour in advance.
Address: Nevada 89005
Website: Hoover Dam
4. Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum
A great place to find out more about the Hoover Dam and about Boulder City itself is the Boulder City Museum. It offers interactive exhibits, showing both social and economic history of the town. You can see photographs and artefacts from the construction of the Hoover Dam, and you can hear stories of workers and their families, detailing how they worked, how they lived, and what dangers they faced. The museum is open 7 days a week, from 10 am to 5 pm, and admission costs only 2 USD.
Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum
Address: 1305 Arizona Street, Boulder City, Nevada
5. Willow Beach Harbor
Let’s now move on to the more relaxing and mind-cleaning natural attractions of Boulder City. Willow Beach, with its 378 km (235 miles) of shoreline, lies by Lake Mohave in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and is heaven for everybody who loves fun in the water and being out in nature. There is a wide variety of wildlife living around the lake and plenty of water activities, like kayaking, that will prevent you from getting bored here. The beach has a campground, marina, and offers rentals of many kinds of watercrafts such as kayaks, canoes, and powerboats. There is also a convenience store, restaurant, and gift shop located in the marina, so you don’t have to worry about going to town too often.
Willow Beach Harbor
Address: 25804 Willow Beach Rd, Willow Beach, AZ 86445
Website: Willow Beach
6. Historic Railroad Trail
Designated a Historic National Trail, this hike is an awesome opportunity to connect with nature while learning. The trail goes through 5 old railroad tunnels, which were last used in 1961. It’s also the last part of the Hoover Dam Railroad system that isn’t disturbed or underwater. The nature here is also beautiful; keep a lookout for bighorn sheep, owls, ravens, and you can also see rattlesnakes or scorpions, so remember to be careful and stay on the trail!
You can access the trail from the Alan Bible Visitor Center or from the Hoover Dam parking garage (the garage fee is 10 USD).
Historic Railroad Trail
Website: Trail Information
7. Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area
Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is almost 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) of breathtaking landscape, full of red hills, yellow meadows, and amazing wildlife. Tens of biking, hiking, and equestrian trails provide the opportunity for peace and solitude together with nature. It’s also a place of cultural education with its Petroglyph Site, with many examples of rock art, including petroglyphs and pictographs. Here you’ll find interesting things to do for the whole day and still won’t see everything.
Website: Sloan Canyon Tourist Information
8. Hemenway Valley Park
Hemenway Valley Park, overlooking Lake Mead, will give you an opportunity to spot (and count) bighorn sheep without even leaving the town. On the grass around picnic tables, you can even spot 100 bighorns. This park is located right in the middle of Boulder City, and right across the street, you’ll find a perfect place to go and enjoy slightly cooler weather in the evening, especially if you’re travelling with the whole family. In Hemenway Valley Park, you can find a playground, horseshoe pits, and basketball and tennis courts.
Address: 401 Ville Dr, Boulder City, NV 89005
Website: Hemenway Park
9. Kayaking with Evolution Expeditions
Evolution Expeditions will take you on an amazing tour around Lake Mead, or for a breathtaking adventure down the Colorado River to Emerald Cave and its crystal clear, green water. Or, if you always wanted to kayak in the dark, they have an option for you–Kayak Twilight! Evolution Expeditions offers a wide array of options to create a perfect adventure for everyone. Tours take from 3 to 7 hours and cost approximately 129 to 199 USD. The packages have different durations and you’ll encounter a variety of attractions, but all will be an unforgettable experience for sure.
Kayaking with Evolution Expeditions
Address: 10300 W Charleston Blvd #13, Las Vegas, NV 89135
Website: Evolution Expeditions
10. Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon
But if you prefer being in the air a little more than in the water, I have something for you too. Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon offers a 2.4 km (1.5 mile) zipline ride down the Red Mountains over the Mojave Desert. You’ll be riding down over beautiful red and yellow landscape, full of great desert plants and animals. But don’t expect to have too much time for admiring the view, because you’re going to be riding down at a speed of over 95 kmh (60 mph). That sounds like a blast!
The zipline ride costs 159 USD.
Address: 1644 Nevada Highway Boulder City, NV 89005
Website: Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon
Small town: BIG attractions
Just a half an hour drive from Las Vegas, Boulder City is not very popular and not very touristy, but is just as worthy of a visit as the famous Las Vegas!
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