It’s blowing up on Instagram. Endless pictures of your friends standing in front of fluorescent painted stacked boulders in the middle of the desert. But why and where is this happening?
Art and Vegas. That’s why.
It’s called Seven Magic Mountains – an art installation that popped up in May 2011 located about 10 miles south of Las Vegas alongside Interstate 15. Created by internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, the installation is comprised of seven towers of boulders that are more than 30 feet tall.
After seeing the social hype, we had to check it out for ourselves. On a quick trip to Vegas for a stay at our all-time favorite Vdara Hotel and Spa, we took a slight detour.
Rondinone, the artist behind the mountains, believes in creating art that everyone can relate to, and Seven Magic Mountains is exactly that. It isn’t an intellectual masterpiece that requires intense thought that few can understand and connect with. Instead, it’s bright colors and stacked boulder towers – two things all humans inherently understand (unless you’re color blind).
From afar, the towers look tiny, especially with the vast desert landscape as its background. Getting closer, the massive scale of the magic mountains grow, along with your appreciation for the creation. It’s something you have to see to believe.
Due to its popularity on social media, you’ll find a steady stream of at least a few dozen people stopping by to check it out and take a selfie. Don’t let that deter you from visiting. It’s a beautiful destination and something to look forward to after spending hours soaking in the endless views of desert nothingness. Best time to visit are the golden hours in early morning or early evening so the sun bounces off the boulders with perfect shadows.
You’ve been waiting for the perfect reason to plan a Vegas trip, right? Get in your car and get going, and don’t forget your camera. Seven Magic Mountains is a temporary two-year exhibition that will glow away from the Vegas landscape forever in 2018.
And please remember, this is art. Don’t be a jerk and try to climb, move or carve your name in the boulders, and take your trash with you.
- From Las Vegas: Follow I-15 S to Sloan Rd (exit 25). Turn left (east) to Las Vegas Boulevard. Drive approximately 7 miles south on Las Vegas Blvd. and the artwork will appear on your left (east).
- From Los Angeles: Drive north on I-15 to Jean, NV (exit 12). Turn right (east) on NV-161 toward Las Vegas Blvd. Drive approximately 5 miles north on Las Vegas Blvd. and the artwork will appear on your right (east).
- There’s a designated parking lot at the exhibition entrance and a quick walk to the towers.
- No bathrooms onsite, so be sure to pee-pee in advance.