Seven Magic Mountains
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada (S. Las Vegas Blvd.)
When to visit: Anytime during daylight hours
Time needed: 15-30 minutes
What is it about quirky, funky public art that is so enticing? I wondered that while visiting Seven Magic Mountains, aka the colorful rocks in Las Vegas.
These towers of painted rock have been a tourist attraction in the Vegas desert since 2016. Being there in person and walking among the stacks of rainbow-colored boulders is a very cool experience. The seven towers reach more than 30 feet high.
Seven Magic Mountains can be found just a 20-mile drive from the heart of the Las Vegas strip.
What’s the purpose of these neon rocks? How did they get there? Who is the artist responsible for them? And how can you plan your own visit to the site?
It’s time to learn more about these rainbow rocks. Let’s answer some of the most-commonly asked questions about this quirky place, from its history to driving directions to its future fate.
How much does it cost to visit 7 Magic Mountains?
It’s totally free! You just need a car to get there. The site has a sizable parking lot for dozens of cars. No tickets or payments are required. Just park and walk over to the stacks of neon rocks.
Is 7 Magic Mountains worth visiting?
Yes, definitely! In less than 30 minutes, and you’ll walk away with some awesome photos and a memorable life experience. If you’re visiting Vegas with a rental car, this desert artwork is a must-see.
Not much walking is required. It’s just a 3-minute walk along a gravel and dirt path from the parking lot to the artwork.
Since the path is not paved, it will be difficult for wheelchairs to access the site, unless one has a motorized chair that can operate on dirt. Pets are welcome if kept on a leash.
How did the colorful rocks in Las Vegas get there?
Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone created the public art installation in 2016. It was funded privately, costing $3.5 million. It sits on 3 acres of federal land and is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.
The boulders were found locally in Nevada. A team of workers cut and smoothed the rocks a bit, to make them more attractive and easier to work with.
How were the Magic Mountains built?
The workers sprayed them with dayglo colors of paint, and construction cranes then stacked the boulders into place.
Some of the boulder towers may look quite unstable in terms of their balance. But if you’re wondering how the seven magic mountains keep from falling over, don’t worry.
Each rock had a narrow core removed, and long screws were embedded inside before they were installed, to join each rock to its neighbor and lock them into place.
What do the 7 Magic Mountains represent?
Rondinone wanted to make something in the “land art” or “earth art” genre, which uses elements of the earth in artistic ways, and “pop art,” the genre most associated with Andy Warhol.
It was important to the artist to use vivid colors to make the piece stand out. He said, “Land art, per se, would camouflage itself and blend in… Seven Magic Mountains does the contrary. It will pop out of landscape.”
Rondinone aimed to capture the contrast of the quiet desert and the lights and sounds of the big city not far away. “It evokes continuity and solidarity between the artificial and the natural, and between the human and nature.”
The artist chose the stacked tower design because he wanted the work to look like the hoodoos (thin rock spires) in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks in Utah.
He chose to stick to the seven colors of the rainbow, plus black, silver, and white.
Is the Seven Magic Mountains attraction still open?
Absolutely! It first opened in 2016 and was planned as a two-year public art installation, but due to its popularity, its stay was extended.
As of this writing, it’s now scheduled to remain on display until at least 2026. It may be closing or moving elsewhere after that date, but that has yet to be determined.
The mountains did close once for renovations, and a barrier was placed around the site to keep out visitors. But that was a temporary thing, and the site is once again fully open.
What is the best time of day to visit Seven Magic Mountains?
Any time during the day is fine. The site is open 24 hours a day, so you can visit at night if you feel like it.
Weekday mornings are nice because the crowds are smaller. Visitation picks up on weekends and late afternoons.
Because you can walk around the boulders in a 360 space, you don’t have to worry about sun, shade, or backlight. The sun will always be shining on one side of the magic mountains.
Sunset can be a cool time to visit, especially if the moon is out.
Are there any tips for taking photos of the colorful rocks?
Just make sure the sun is behind you, shining directly onto the rocks. And make sure to mix up your photos. Take some distant shots, and some close ups.
Some of the coolest pics you will get are close-up face or half-body pics with the neon rocks standing imposingly right behind you.
Directions: How do you get to Seven Magic Mountains?
As noted, Seven Magic Mountains is only 21 miles (about a 20- to 25-minute drive) from the Las Vegas strip. You just drive south on I-15, exiting onto Las Vegas Blvd South at exit 25 (Sloan Road.)
You’ll see the rock towers at least a mile or two ahead of time. They are impossible to miss!
There is no actual Seven Magic Mountains street address. But you can search “Seven Magic Mountains” in Google Maps and Waze, and it will come up.
Can you get to Seven Magic Mountains via public transit, Uber, or group tour?
There is no public transit to this part of the desert. You can certainly take Uber or Lyft, though. Expect to pay $30 at the absolute minimum for a one-way ride from the heart of Vegas, possibly as much as $50 or $60.
And you’ll pay about the same for the ride back. Plus, you may have to wait a while to get a ride back, since these neon rocks are located way outside the city.
All in all, it’s far easier and cheaper to drive there. But if you find yourself without a vehicle, consider joining a group tour. The Vegas Welcome Tour visits 7 Magic Mountains and the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. The Vegas 3-Hour Combo Tour visits 7 Magic Mountains and the Hoover Dam.
Both tours provide good value, and they’ll cost less than taking an Uber would!
Are there bathrooms at Seven Magic Mountains?
No, there are no bathrooms on-site. The nearest restrooms are five miles south, at gas stations in the town of Jean, Nevada.
Is there any food or drink at Seven Magic Mountains?
Sometimes. On my last visit, there was a food truck selling tacos and cold drinks. But trucks are not guaranteed to be here, so don’t rely on them. Bring plenty of your own water, and snacks if desired.
What is the weather like at the neon rocks?
Las Vegas weather is hot and dry most of the year. Temperatures regularly exceed 100 F from June through August.
It rains here less than 15 days a year. A bigger concern is the wind, which can be quite strong throughout the year.
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