How to do a Vegas Girls Trip Without Actually Setting Foot in a Casino!

I have been long overdue for a girls trip and also wanting to see Seven Magic Mountains in Jean, Nevada ever since it started popping up in my instagram feed a couple of years ago. A couple of girlfriends and I hit the road on a Saturday morning, a few hours later and we were there.  
This trip we were looking not to enter into the casino, but to instead enjoy more of the natural beauty that the Las Vegas environs have to offer. We settled on Red Rock in Summerlin, Nevada about 30 minutes from the strip, stopping off at Seven Magic Mountains on the way in from LA.
7 magic mountains in Nevada desert
Internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains is a large-scale site-specific public art installation located near Jean Dry Lake and Interstate 15, approximately ten miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada. Comprised of seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders standing more than thirty feet high, it's a truly impressive sight to behold. 

seven magic mountains Las Vegas Nevada desert neon totems

The exhibition opened May 11, 2016 and was originally scheduled to be on view for two years. There is now talk of extending it into a permanent exhibition. The installation site is a short distance from Jean Dry Lake where artists created legendary land art works in the 1960s. As bright as the totems are today, I can only imagine how bright they were when they were first installed two years ago. Find directions here.

seven magic mountains Nevada desert neon totems art installation

There are some who critique Seven Magic Mountains as being too commercial and that the sole purpose is for social media. It is that for sure but it's so much more. Seeing those bright totems as you race down a largely deserted stretch of desert creates a bright, happy swash of color in a largely desolate stretch of highway. Yes, it is full of people trying to get their 'gram but it is also bringing together visitors of different cultures, ages and socio-economic backgrounds. Everyone has a smile on their face and it's just plain fun. The world needs more happy places and reminders to smile and interact with each other not fewer of them!

janna Conner at seven magic mountains smiling laughing with neon art

Smile it's contagious! Janna Conner Ruby Oval Hoop Earrings, Thierry Lasry Sexy Sunglassesother mama Las Vegas bar  photo by Sabin Orr

 Photo by Sabin Orr.

Over the past 15 years, Vegas has become synonymous with fine dining. So much so, that pretty much every celebrity chef counts Vegas among their locations. There is no shortage of fine dining options, it's really just how much time and money you have. In the spirit of our non Vegas, Vegas trip we were curious to go a little more local and see where the chefs eat when they're off duty.  That led us to Other Mama, a newish seafood restaurant specializing in a raw bar but with plenty of cooked options as well. Small and intimate, it's casual ambience is welcoming with a friendly staff. After starting with a round of oysters, highlights included: spicy tuna tartare with waffle fries, shishito peppers with cauliflower and pistachios (the best I've ever had), and the whole fish with potatoes and rosemary. 

red rock nevada

We woke up bright and early the next morning to head out for our hike in Red Rock. About a 30 minutes drive outside of Summerlin, we wanted to get an early start to avoid some of the afternoon's heat and have some spa time when we returned. There are many hikes to choose from, ranging from easy to strenuous. We chose Calico Hills which is rated moderate and took about 3.5 hours.

hikers in red rock hiking nevada

Time for a brief geology lesson: Red Rock Canyon was once at the bottom of a deep ocean. Over time the sea receded and the earth's crust pushed upward to form the mountains. In the Jurassic period (about 180 million years ago) the region dried out and plants and wildlife became scarce. Water and winds shifted sands back and forth, vast fields of sand dunes accumulated, similar to the Sahara desert in Africa.  Over time, the layers of sand compressed together forming hard Aztec sandstone. The iron in the sand is oxidized and this process results in the swirls of color. The high concentration of iron results in the deep red color of the rocks seen at Calico Hills. There are short developed trails which offer closer looks at the Aztec sandstone, rated easy to moderate with a 400 foot elevation gain and vary two to six miles. Click to learn more about the geology 

rock climbing at red rock Nevada Rock climbing in the slot canyons at Red Rock, Nevada


three girl selfies at red rock canyon nevada

Selfie time!

red rock nevada hike natural formation of sandstone stairs 

Some of the stair formations on the way to the overlook. 

girl sitting at top red rock Nevada rock formation outlook peak

Taking a little time to enjoy the view

It took us a few hours to get up to the summit. We had accidentally parked at Calico 1 when we had intended to park at Calico 2. Very nice hike, just had to rush back for lunch and our spa appointments!

jacuzzi at red rock casino Nevada After our 6.5 mile hike, we needed some pampering. The Spa at Red Rock was really lovely, well designed and relaxing. The spa treatments were thoroughly enjoyable as well. I opted for a Hydra facial while my friends got massages. We were all thrilled with our experiences and then capped it off with a glass of rosé, poolside.

yoga room red rock casino  NevadaYoga room, poolside the spa. We didn't have time to take a class, but I definitely will make time to on my next visit!

luxxardo and grapefruits at masso osteria red rock casino NevadaRosé and Skinny Palomas were the drink of the weekend. I had an Italian Dragon at Masso Osteria, Scott Conant's new restaurant at Red Rock. Divine! I wasn't familiar with Luxardo but I think that was the key to taking this Italian version of  a Paloma to the next level. italian dragon Paloma cocktail masso osteria red rock

Ingredients: Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila, Luxardo Maraschino, fresh lime juice, San Pellegrino Pompelmo. I will be making this again!

 This trip was just what I needed to recharge and re-connect with old friends. I loved experiencing the natural beauty that Las Vegas has to offer. Since returning, I've heard that the Valley of Fire, north of Vegas has some amazing panoramas and hiking possibilities, next girl's trip?! 

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Seven Magic Mountains is indeed a great spot for social media but this is a simple beauty creating smiles to the people visiting…. This is a refreshing way to introduce Las Vegas other than how it is known… Gotta add it on my list to visit soon.. :) Thanks!

JM Kayne

vegas is one of my fave destinations, i gotta go stop by 7 magic mtns on my next trip. Hadn’t heard of it before!


Such an amazing place. So much more too it than just casinos. Thank you for sharing this, it’s made me want to visit even more now 💗


Thank you for showing that it’s possible to visit Vegas sans casinos! I had never heard of Seven Magic Mountains before, but it looks like such a cool place – I agree that we need more places and things that just make us smile – I will definitely visit the next time I am in the area. And that spa looks Ah-Mazing!

Susan Peck

I’d love to visit Vegas one day but I’m always wary about just how crazy it’ll all be so thanks for this post. I love the canyons at red rock, they are stunning and the spa, yes please!!!. Seems you had a fantastic time :)

Kamapala Chukwuka

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