Get outta town: The Lightning Field in Quemado is shockingly breathtaking

by Amanda Push

There’s nothing quite like watching lightning dance across the sky. An even better option than staring up during a storm, though, would be watching lightning strike 400 stainless steel poles set up as a grid on the vast plains of New Mexico.

This is where we ask if you’ve ever heard of “The Lightning Field” near Quemado, New Mexico. If you haven’t, let’s get you brushed up on your art knowledge. The Lightning Field is a piece of land art designed in 1977 by American sculptor Walter De Maria. It was commissioned by the Dia Art Foundation.

The exhibit is a massive array of 20-foot poles that stand 220 feet apart. The tips of the poles are pointed and the entire art piece extends one mile by one kilometer. We say it’s located “near” Quemado because technically, the exact location of the field is meant to be a secret, so you might have to do some exploring to find it.

Despite what the name would suggest, though, lightning strikes don’t actually happen very often at the site.

According to the website for the Dia Art Foundation:

“A sculpture to be walked in as well as viewed, The Lightning Field is intended to be experienced over an extended period of time. A full experience of The Lightning Field does not depend upon the occurrence of lightning, and visitors are encouraged to spend as much time as possible in the field, especially during sunset and sunrise. In order to provide this opportunity, Dia offers overnight visits during the months of May through October.”

And the process to see The Lightning Field is very official, indeed.

To start, you’ll have to make an advanced reservation for an overnight stay. To protect the secret of The Lightning Field, you’ll have to meet at Dia’s office in Quemado and check in. Then you’ll be taken on a 45-minute drive by Dia staff out to a log cabin where you’ll be staying. The cabin can hold up to six people and you’re not allowed to camp on the grounds. Sorry!

But, on the upside, you’ll get to hang out in the middle-of-nowhere with a view like no other.

Amanda Push


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