Twelve miles east of the California/Nevada border is Jean, a roadside oasis with a gas station, a restaurant and one hotel which has been closed by Covid-19. Traveling north or south, you will see signs along Interstate 15 pointing out the route through Jean to the Seven Magic Mountains. The seven-mile route follows the original road from LA to Las Vegas. Visible from the freeway are seven tall stacks of very large boulders, 35-40 feet high, painted in day-glo shades of primary colors. Close-up photos of the stone columns don’t mean much without including the surrounding expanse of desert. I wanted to move way back with my camera to show how small and isolated these seven stone stacks really are. I found a spot for my tripod and waited for groups of tourists to get their shots. It took over an hour for all of them to leave. I didn’t want anyone in my photos. If the parking lot is filled with tour buses on a sunny day, you’ll never get a magic photo without lots of tourists with phones. Arrive here very early or very late in the day. The Seven Magic Mountain project cost $3.5 million in private funds. No tax money was involved. This anomaly is something different, abnormal, not easily classified and not on my list of locations I plan to photograph in the desert around Las Vegas. These stone towers will probably be gone by the time I return to Las Vegas - I had to photograph them. Leaving the Seven Magic Mountains, stay off the freeway and continue driving northeast on the frontage road, right into Las Vegas.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.