A Bit of Colorful Happiness in the Nevada Desert

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The Seven Magic Mountains

If you've ever found yourself driving along I-15 through the Nevada Mojave Desert towards Las Vegas, it's likely you've found yourself yawning along the way. This main thoroughfare that is often traveled in both directions by Utah and California travelers headed to Vegas or Disneyland doesn't offer much for the senses that's extraordinary. In fact, the drive is downright hot and boring until the Seven Magic Mountains came along that is.

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I was intrigued the last time we made this journey to see neon colored pillars of rocks standing like a mirage out in the middle of the desert about 10 miles south from Las Vegas named by the artist as the Seven Magic Mountains.

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Inspired by the Hoodoos of Utah

These colorful rocks that stand about 25 - 35 ft. tall beckon curious visitors like with their eye-popping colors of orange, yellow, green, blue and hot pink. The bright colors are meant to act as a contradiction between the colors of nature and man's creations, and were chosen specifically for the colors of the rainbow plus black, white and silver.

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To me, the 33 rocks in total, that weigh about 40,000 pounds each stacked in 7 towers are reminiscent of giant blobs of Play-Doh or stacked candy Pop-Rocks and it feels as if there is something magical about them. While there, I observed kids making up stories, lovers kissing, friends hugging and the occasional gymnast doing a handstand against the rocks or cartwheeling in between.

This is one of the largest and newest pieces of land-art in the United States and something we haven't seen in about 40 years since the '60's and early '70's. It is the artist's attempt to bring back landart in the United States. Visit the sevenmagicmountains.com for information on how the Seven Magic Mountains sculptures were created.

Ugo Rondinone, Seven Magic Mountains.

Ugo Rondinone, Seven Magic Mountains. Photo via artnet

The artist, Ugo “Fingerpaint” Rondinone, known for other highly expensive, playful, and meditative rock sculptures, who has even created a miniature version at an art display exhibition in New York City's Gladstone Art Gallery, says his inspiration came from Utah's Hoodoos found in all their glory in Bryce Canyon. The Seven Magic Mountains have been strategically placed to offer a stunning view at sunrise and sunset.

Is this Las Vegas signal for Raider Football fans?

Black and Silver. Could it be a Las Vegas signal for Raider Football fans?

As a Utah girl I've often found inspiration in the these beautiful hoodoo formations in our Utah Canyons myself. Plus, the Oakland Raider fan in me couldn't help but wonder if the Black and Silver stones amidst all that color was meant as a tribute for Raider football fans.

The Seven Magic Mountain sculptures will be located in Nevada for just two years, and came at a whopping cost of 3.5 million that was mostly donated by independent contributions. They have already seen 1000's of visitors (it's free) since opening in May of 2016. And have even served as the backdrop for weddings (it is Vegas after all). The hefty cost may seem like a waste to some, my outing revealed, just like the colors themselves, a whole lot of happy people in the middle of the hot and dreary desert.

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It is a short walk from the parking area to the sculptures, but visitors should be wary of the possibility of venomous snakes. It's also very hot in the desert so you may want some water and sunscreen on hand. And last, be forewarned to mind the speed limit when entering and leaving the area. We spotted a couple of patrolmen hanging out along the frontage road waiting to give folks a, not so magical or happy, speeding ticket.


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