It can get expensive to visit Las Vegas, with activities costing anywhere between fifteen and sixty USD, if not more. However, if you’re traveling on a tight budget, there are some great cheap and free options to be enjoyed, such as the Seven Magic Mountains public art installation.
Created by the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, Seven Magic Mountains has become a popular attraction with a constant flow of tourists all throughout the year.
The colorful boulders are entirely free to visit, making them an excellent addition to any day trip. It is also a top spot for taking pictures, granting it the title of a social media sensation.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about the Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas.
The Seven Magic Mountains Art Installation
Much like any other desert, Las Vegas’ Mojave Desert is home to very little vegetation, a lot of sand, and dry rock. It is located around the city and is known for its beautiful color palette of red, brown, and gold.
Here, about half an hour outside of Las Vegas, visitors have the chance to view one of the country’s most unusual and colorful art installations. Each Magic Mountain consists of limestone boulders painted in bright, ice cream-like colors and stacked on one another to create a structure that stretches up to thirty feet high. The seven towers are equal parts cheerful and eerie as their colored rocks contrast with the dull desert around them.
The towering structures create an awareness of human presence in the otherwise barren landscape. Visiting the Seven Magic Mountains is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience that some visitors even describe as spiritual.
Each boulder weighs around 10 to 25 tons, and it took the artist four years to complete the installation. His artwork was supported by the the Nevada Museum of Art and New York Art Production Fund.
The modern art installation was originally scheduled to be demolished in 2018. However, since its completion, it has gained such incredible success and popularity, that it was decided to keep the Magic Mountains open. It has become a permanent feature of the landscape.
There is also an official Seven Magic Mountains replica in front of Miami’s Bass Museum of Art – a further testament to its popularity.
Thousands of visitors flock here every day to take a look at the bright, towering structures. It is popular among social media and photography enthusiasts alike and makes for a great way to spend a free day in Las Vegas.
Location: S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89054, United States
Located in the Ivanpah Valley, around twenty-two miles off the Las Vegas Strip, Seven Magic Mountains is set in an area well-known in the art scene. It is located on Las Vegas Boulevard, near the picturesque Jean Dry Lake, which has been featured in many films. It is also located in the same area where Jean Tinguely and Michael Heizer showcased their own artworks in the 1960s.
Admission is free and there are plenty of spaces available in the on-site parking lot. Once there, visitors can take the paved pathway that will lead them directly to the installation. Keep in mind that visitors who make use of wheelchairs or mobility aids may find the pathway difficult to navigate, especially after it rains.
The best way to reach the Seven Magic Mountains is by car. If you don’t have a car or don’t plan on using a rental car, keep in mind that there is no public transportation that travels to the area. There are, however, some tours that run here.
It is entirely possible to visit Seven Magic Mountains for free. The installation is considered public art, which means that it is open and free to all visitors. There is also a free-to-use audio guide if you’d like a more in-depth look at the artwork and the process behind it.
However, if you have some money to spare, a great souvenir to purchase is the fifteen USD print of Giafranco Gorgoni’s Seven Magic Mountains.
If you plan on visiting the Seven Magic Mountains as part of a tour, keep in mind that these tours typically include other attractions as well, such as the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, national parks, and Red Rock Canyon. Tours like these will set you back around forty-five USD.
When To Visit
If you’re visiting Las Vegas during peak season, the best time to go is at dawn, when you’ll see some of the most beautiful views of this stunning desert landscape. This is also the best way to avoid crowds when you visit the Seven Magic Mountains.
Keep in mind that June to September is monsoon season, and there may be some flash floods in the area. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather if you visit during the rainy months.
If you visit Las Vegas during the off-season (July, August, November, and December) the best time to go to the mountains is early on a weekday. You will likely be alone with the artwork, which makes the experience even more memorable. The Nevada desert can get cold, so be sure to dress warmly.
What To Bring
During the summer months, temperatures in Las Vegas can go as high as one hundred degrees or more. Be sure to prepare for the heat if you travel to the area in June or July, by bringing enough water, and wearing sunscreen and protective clothing – like hats.
On the other hand, the winter months can get quite cold, so you would need to dress warm and even pack a thermos with a hot drink. If you plan on visiting the area while it’s snowing, be sure that your car can drive safely in snowy weather.
Spring and Autumn mornings in Las Vegas can also get chilly, so bring a jacket.
Keep in mind that there are no cafés, restaurants, or shops near the Seven Magic Mountains, so you’ll have to pack enough snacks and drinks for the duration of your visit.
Commercial photography is not allowed at Seven Magic Mountains, which means that visitors are not allowed to bring professional photography equipment like tripods or lighting. Visitors are allowed to take pictures for personal use, however, so remember to bring your phone or camera along on your trip.
Here are some rules and tips when visiting Seven Magic Mountains:
- The producers and the artist will not be liable for any injuries sustained by guests, so be extra careful when you visit
- Help to preserve the desert landscape by being mindful of things like protected cultural artifacts, sensitive plants, and endangered animals like the desert tortoise
- Keep an eye out for snakes
- Visitors are allowed to eat, but be sure to clean up after yourself
- Visitors are allowed to bring dogs, but be sure to clean up after them if they make a mess
- Make use of the parking lot on-site, rather than blocking the street
- There are no restroom facilities at the Magic Mountains, so make sure to go before your visit
- The closest store to the mountains (Pioneer Saloon in the Goodsprings Ghost Town) is sixteen minutes away by car, so pack everything you need
- Overnight camping in the area is not allowed, and visiting hours are after sunrise and before sunset
- Don’t move, climb on, or deface the artwork – it is considered a crime.
Is it worth it?
Most tourists thoroughly enjoy the experience of visiting the Seven Magic Mountains. If you are fond of sculpture or modern art, this is an ideal activity to enjoy on a trip to Las Vegas.
Even if you aren’t particularly fond of art, it is still a great place to stretch your legs and go for a short walk after a long day of driving or exploring. Here, you can take a picture or two and get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Sin City.
Be sure to visit in the morning, as summer afternoons can get busy and may even include trash on the ground, left there by visiting crowds.
The only downside to visiting Seven Magic Mountains is the lack of bathrooms and refreshments.
Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas FAQs
What is the meaning behind the Seven Magic Mountains?
Ugo Rondinone built the Seven Magic Mountains to give visitors a chance to appreciate the vastness of nature and consider all the humans that have traveled through or lived in the landscape.
How were the Magic Mountains built?
The towers were built using locally sourced limestone rocks. Each boulder weighs around ten to twenty-five tons, and the project required cranes to stack them on top of each other. There was also a group of fabricators and engineers involved.
How long should I stay at the Seven Magic Mountains?
Most frequent visitors agree that the optimal time to spend at this public art installation is around an hour. This gives you ample time to walk to and from the site and enjoy the brightly colored towers.
Can I visit the Seven Magic Mountains at nighttime?
While it is possible to visit the site at night, we recommend visiting during the daytime when there is ample natural lighting, and you can see the structures in all their glory. Visiting at nighttime means there will be no light, and you would need to carry a flashlight with you if you want to see the sculptures. There is also more danger of tripping over rocks, trampling precious flora, or coming across a dangerous snake.