Most visitors to Las Vegas never venture from the Strip, but if you’re willing to leave the slot machines and buffets, and drive 10 miles into the Mojave Desert, you’ll find Seven Magic Mountains. Created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone in 2016, the outdoor art installation emerges from the surrounding flat and barren land like a mirage.
Just like its name states, Seven Magic Mountains is made up of seven 30 foot towers of colorful boulders stacked on top of one another. It’s quite the sight: rocks that probably weigh over several tons balancing in equilibrium high into the sky. Seeing the fluorescent structures up close makes you feel like you’re in a real life Tetris game. Visitors can get up close to the totems, forgetting that they could maybe topple down on you (just kidding, we’re sure the artist took all safety precautions).
Rondinone used locally sourced boulders for Seven Magic Mountains, and chose its particular location because it’s “physically and symbolically mid-way between the natural and the artificial”. The “natural” is represented by the mountain ranges, desert, and Jean Dry Lake backdrop, and the “artificial” is the Interstate 15 that connects Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Since we drove from LA to Vegas, we made a quick pitstop at Seven Magic Mountains on the way back home. The afternoon was scorching hot into the 100s, so the awe of the rocks was a bit diminished by the intense heat. We would’ve liked to roam around and bask in its glory, but the heat was too much to bear. Seven Magic Mountains is worth checking out if you have the time, but be mindful of the temperatures.
The installation was only supposed to be on view until 2018, but due to its popularity, Seven Magic Mountains has been allowed to stay open through the end of 2021.