Located on the borders of Nevada and Arizona Hoover Dam is a principal source of flood control, irrigation and electrical power in the Southwest. It was for many years the largest dam in the world. Hoover Dam is now also one of the most exciting attractions in the west and a major tourist attraction.
As you drive to the Hoover Dam from the Nevada side there is narrow winding road which takes you down to the dam site. Shady, rocky canyon walls that angle sharply to the bottom of Black Canyon face you as you make hairpin turns along the canyon walls of the Nevada side down to Hoover Dam.
Absolutely different approach to Hoover Dam is taken from the Arizona side. When one winds into Black Canyon you see the back of Hoover Dam and its intake towers. Now this is a pretty good time to see them because the water level is way down. And some time ago the water almost completely covered them.
Long ago the Colorado River flowed uninterrupted along its 1,450 mile course from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California uninterrupted. The river relentlessly for 12 years carved out the Grand Canyon, Marble Canyon and other places along its path. The Colorado carried with it tons of silt to the lower Colorado and eventually out to the Gulf of California.
Settlers from Spain noted the reddish color of its silt and they gave it the name we know it by today, the Colorado River. The muddy Colorado River was known by several names in the past.