Seven Magic Mountains.

Seven Magic Mountains

Field review by the editors.

Jean, Nevada

It's tough for public art to stand out in the jarring cityscape of Las Vegas. Spectacular signs, structures, and statues quickly max out a person's novelty meter, and everything smears into noise. But a quieting contrast is only minutes away, in the desert.

Seven Magic Mountains.

Seven Magic Mountains is 20 miles south of the Las Vegas Welcome Sign, on South Las Vegas Boulevard. It's near the resident-free casino-and-gas-trap town of Jean, north of the Jean Dry Lake basin (a 1960s site for other land art).

Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone (who lives in New York) created his piece of site-specific "land art" in 2016 -- seven limestone boulder stacks, between 30 and 35 feet tall. Each boulder is painted in bright colors that seem to glow against the dull desert landscape.

The huge boulder pillars evoke the hipster rock balancing fad that has infested many natural sites. And the neon-bright, lucky Seven Magic Mountains are certainly a statement on the intrusion of Las Vegas itself into the natural landscape.

The symbolism and irony may be lost on many visitors, but the selfie appeal is obvious to all.

The easiest way to get there is to watch for the brown official highway signs on I-15, and more along the seven mile drive down South Las Vegas Boulevard to the dirt parking lot. We ventured early one Monday morning, and even at 8 am there were ten cars disgorging loads of personal documentarians. The site is free to enter -- there are no facilities or personnel.

Seven Magic Mountains.

Aside from seeing tourists, we'd arrived in the middle of a music video shoot by an Italian film crew. There was an attractive woman in a pink gown, running repeatedly through the rock sculptures, paced by steadicams. Many takes. "This time, do your sexy run!"

We wandered out to record a wider photo panorama of our own. Suddenly, a guy dressed in black waved us off: "You are in the shot."

The Seven Magic Mountains art installation was slated to stay only until 2018, but its popularity has led to interest in maintaining the spot "for several more years into the future," according to the project's website. It is due for painting restoration in June 2019.

Also see: Miami Mountain

Seven Magic Mountains

Address:
S Las Vegas Blvd., Jean, NV
Directions:
From Las Vegas: Drive south on I-15 to exit 25. Turn left, cross the freeway, then turn right onto Las Vegas Blvd. Drive south about seven miles. You'll see rocks on the left; theres a pull-out and parking area. From California: Drive north on I-15 to exit 12. Turn right on Hwy 161, then left onto Las Vegas Blvd. Drive north about five miles. You'll see rocks on the right; theres a pull-out and parking area.
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Giant Prospector TwinsGiant Prospector Twins, Jean, NV - 5 mi.
Haunted Pioneer SaloonHaunted Pioneer Saloon, Goodsprings, NV - 9 mi.
Lion Habitat RanchLion Habitat Ranch, Henderson, NV - 11 mi.
In the region:
World's Largest Gift Shop, Las Vegas, NV - 22 mi.

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October 19, 2019

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