Windows down. Shades on. Beach Boys serenading. Sun dipping down the “purple mountain’s majesty.” I glance over my shoulder and have to do a double-take. What the…? Was that there the last time I drove by? To quote The Emperor’s New Groove: “How long has THAT been there?”
How many times does this happen to us? How often do we find ourselves driving on the open road and stumble upon something that catches our eye and makes us take a second glance? And we think about it for a little while until we forget about it. Until we drive by it again.
Once more, we think about how awesome it was. We might even go as far as to make an internal pact that the next time we pass it, we’ll stop and learn about it.
Well, I finally had that one day.
I make the drive between Salt Lake City and LA frequently, and usually only have to make a few pit stops for gas and nourishment along the way. I’m not sure which trip it was on, but about 30 minutes after I passed the last exit for Las Vegas, I saw a sign for “Seven Magic Mountains.”
Anyone from Southern California is familiar with “Six Flags Magic Mountain.” Was this a satellite of that theme park?
I turned my mind back to the road and almost immediately, my vision was arrested by shocking pillars of neon. Just East of the I-15 freeway between the Sloan and Jean, NV exits, seven gigantic, awe-inspiring pillars of rocks are just…there. Nothing else is around it. In the middle of the desert, BOOM! A burst of color.
On this particular trip, I had left LA early enough in the day and wasn’t feeling too rushed. I looked up quick directions to the exhibit and set off. I was so excited! Anyone who knows me understands my love of color (and glitter), and I couldn’t wait to get next to the giants.
After getting my fill of the rocks, I set off again. Sighing in contentment, I couldn’t stop “grinning like an idiot.” I couldn’t wait to tell my friends, coworkers, shoot – the world about these awesome rocks in the desert!
So…what exactly are the Seven Magic Mountains?
According to it’s website (yes, rocks have a website), the Seven Magic Mountains are a exhibit featuring seven ~30-foot-tall pillars or totems made from local boulders. The exhibit will be in its current location for 2 years, having been installed in May 2016. Created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, the Seven Magic Mountains are considered a “creative expression of human presence in the desert.” Call them what you will…they’re stunning!
Getting to the Seven Magic Mountains
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. 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. The artwork will appear on your right (east).
What you need to know
*There are NO restrooms available at this location. Pump and dump before you arrive, hopefully not in Jean or Sloan…their gas prices are always super high!
*Bring water/sunscreen. Even though you won’t be walking super far and playing around, you’re in the middle of the Mojave desert. Be prepared for blistering heat.
*Be aware of local wildlife. Snakes may be present, so keep your eyes open. Also, take care to not disturb the flora/fauna in the area. The desert is a delicate ecosystem and we need to take care of it.
*Don’t be rude. Park in the parking lot, not in the street. Don’t tag the rocks. Don’t litter. There will be people around, so plan accordingly.
*Lastly – you will be walking along a dirt path. Wheelchairs will literally have to be in “off-roading mode” to make this trek. It’s not far from the parking lot, but you have been warned!
Next time you find yourself on The 15 around Las Vegas, I urge you to make this quick stop. It’s only around for another 18 months!
Have you ever seen the Seven Magic Mountains? Would you stop in the middle of the desert to see them?