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Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field

Western New Mexico

Tall silver poles sticking up out of a grassy landscape, with purple storm clouds in the sky.

Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field, 1977. © Estate of Walter De Maria. Photo: John Cliett


The Lightning Field (1977), by the American sculptor Walter De Maria, is a work of Land Art situated in a remote area of the high desert of western New Mexico. It is comprised of 400 polished stainless-steel poles installed in a grid array measuring one mile by one kilometer. The poles—two inches in diameter and averaging 20 feet, 7½ inches in height—are spaced 220 feet apart and have solid, pointed tips that define a horizontal plane. 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.

Commissioned and maintained by Dia Art Foundation, The Lightning Field exemplifies Dia’s commitment to supporting art projects whose nature and scale exceed the limits normally available within the traditional museum or gallery.

Dia Art Foundation also maintains three other Walter De Maria projects: The Broken Kilometer (1979) and The New York Earth Room (1977), both in New York, as well as The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977), in Kassel, Germany.

Art: The Lightning Field, 1977

Visitor Information

Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field (1977) will be open from May 1 to October 31, 2024, for overnight visits by reservation only.

Booking for the 2024 visiting season will open on February 1, 2024, at midnight (12 am) Mountain Standard Time (MST). Please email starting at that time to request a reservation. Reservation requests must be made in writing and cannot be made over the phone.

Reservation are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, starting with requests submitted on February 1, and are limited to one night per visiting group. We appreciate your patience as it may take several weeks to process your request due to the high volume of email.

Please do not send multiple emails with the same request, or multiple requests from different email addresses, as it will only delay response time and will not guarantee a reservation offer.

See the Reservations section below for more information.

Reservations are limited to one night per party and are for overnight stays only. New reservation requests for the 2024 visiting season may be submitted via email to beginning on Thursday morning, February 1, 2024, at midnight (12 am) Mountain Standard Time (MST). Phone requests are not accepted.  

Requests must include size of party (up to 6 guests), a preferred date range, and alternate availability. Please note that Dia receives thousands of emails on February 1 at midnight and that reservations are offered in the order in which the requests land in the queue. Because demand far exceeds availability, Dia cannot guarantee every request will receive a reservation offer. If Dia is unable to offer an initial reservation, you may be placed on the waitlist for the 2024 season. 

Once a date has been agreed upon, registration and payment links will be sent and must be completed to confirm the hold. Reservations are nonrefundable unless the spot is rebooked by a party on the waitlist.  

Due to the remote nature of the site, children under five are not allowed. 
Day visits, camping, and pets are not permitted. 

See Cancellationssection for more information. 

To ensure guest and staff safety during multi-group visits in 2024, the following policies are in place for all visitors:

All visitors must comply with New Mexico state, local, and federal COVID-19 regulations current at their time of travel. To preserve guest and staff safety, please protect yourself and others from COVID-19 with the following recommendations:

  • Remain up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines and boosters before you travel
  • Follow CDC recommendations for masking in travel and public transportation settings
  • Consider getting tested before travel as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than 3 days)

Additional information is available on the CDC website, accessible here.

If a guest must cancel a reservation due to a positive COVID-19 test, please notify us via email at as soon as possible. Dia will refund the visitor fees upon receipt of proof of the positive test. No additional refunds for travel or other guest expenses will be provided.

May, June, September, and October

$150 per person per night

July and August

$250 per person per night

Students (with valid ID or proof of student status) and children under 18

$100 per person per night

The actual cost of maintaining The Lightning Field and accommodating visits greatly exceeds visitor fees. Contributions toward the operating expenses of The Lightning Field are appreciated, and donations beyond the listed rates are tax-deductible. Scroll down to the Support The Lightning Field section to make a donation. 

Once a date has been secured, visitors will receive an email with a registration link and instructions for payment and confirmation. 

A reservation is confirmed only upon receipt of the registration form and payment in full within five days of receiving the hold email. Payment is not accepted upon arrival in Quemado, New Mexico. If you need to cancel a booking after submitting a payment, please do so as soon as possible. If a booking is canceled for reasons other than those listed under the Cancellations section below, the reservation is nonrefundable unless the spot is rebooked by a party on the waitlist.

The Lightning Field is located in a remote area in the high desert in Western New Mexico. Extreme weather events can occur that cause The Lightning Field to pause operations on short notice. Please be aware that there is a risk your visit may be cancelled on short notice if we cannot safely access the visitor cabin due to such events. If your visit is cancelled due to extreme weather, Dia can attempt to rebook you later in the season (though we cannot guarantee availability), rebook your visit for the following season, or you can request a refund. No additional refund for cost of travel or other expenses will be provided.  

The Lightning Field operations may be paused on short notice due to changes in COVID-19 or other health and safety regulations from New Mexico state, local, or federal governments or in the case of a known COVID-19 exposure among staff or visitors. If Dia pauses operations due to health concerns, the cost of your stay will be refunded or your visit will be rebooked. No additional refund for cost of travel or other expenses will be provided.  

In the event that a visitor must cancel their reservation due to reasons other than those noted above, please email lightningfield@diaart.orgas soon as possible. Dia will make a good faith effort to rebook the visit with another party. If we can successfully rebook, visitor fees will be refunded to the original party. Please note that your reservation is nonrefundable unless we can rebook your visit with a new party. If you need to cancel, notify us as soon as possible so we can begin this process. 

Visits must be overnight, from May 1 to October 31, 2024. 

A visitor cabin adjacent to The Lightning Field provides shelter and simple meals during the overnight stay. Due to the remote nature of the site, children under five are not allowed.  

A Dia staff driver will greet visitors at the Dia office in Quemado and transport them to and from the cabin at The Lightning Field for their reservation.  

The cabin has three bedrooms and can accommodate up to six guests (two bedrooms with two twin beds each, and one bedroom with a double bed). There are two bathrooms with showers, a fully appointed kitchen, and a common room. Linens and blankets are provided, and the cabin is connected to all utilities, including water and electricity.  

Dia hosts multiple groups in the cabin. When requesting a reservation, visitors should keep in mind their comfort level in sharing the kitchen, bathroom, and common spaces. Specific bedrooms may not be requested or reserved.  

Meals are provided with all reservations. A simple supper is prepared and left with heating instructions along with a selection of breakfast items to prepare the next morning. For special dietary requirements, visitors are welcome to bring other food and beverage items. 
Visitors are asked to refrain from bringing loud electronic devices or anything that may disturb other visitors.  

Camping and day visits are not permitted.

Pets are not allowed.  

Visitors must arrive in Quemado no later than 2 pm on the day of the visit. Upon confirmation of the reservation and payment, visitors will receive driving instructions to the location, which is an approximately three-hour drive from Albuquerque. There is no public transportation available between Albuquerque and Quemado. 

Visitors will check in at Dia’s Quemado office, located in a white two-story building on the north side of the town’s main street. Transportation from Quemado to the site is provided by Dia and takes 45 minutesVisitors will leave their vehicle parked outside the office. The following day, Dia will drop off visitors in Quemado at approximately 12 pm.

It is important that visitors meet this schedule, as off-schedule trips cannot be accommodated. If arriving from Arizona, please note that during the summer months, New Mexico’s time is one hour later than Arizona’s time. 

Daytime trips and short visits cannot be accommodated. The Lightning Field may only be viewed through an overnight visit. 

Located in the high desert at an elevation of 7,200 feet, The Lightning Field is situated on a flat plain. Depending on the time of day and month, the weather ranges from 30 to 90 degrees. The terrain is generally flat but can be rough or muddy depending on weather conditions, and there are no improved trails. Visitors should be prepared to walk over flat but rough terrain and should bring a pair of sturdy walking shoes or boots. We also recommend sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, layers for varying temperatures, insect repellant, a raincoat/windbreaker, and a water bottle.

Although lightning storms typically occur in this area from mid-July through August and may also occur at other times during the visiting season, the probability of lightning during your visit cannot be predicted. 

The Lightning Field is located in a very remote part of western New Mexico. Health care facilities are not available locally, with the nearest hospitals located about a two-hour journey from the cabin location. There is no Wi-Fi or internet service at the cabin, and cellular service is extremely limited. Please be prepared for a remote experience and carefully plan your communications, attire, and food supplies (if needed to supplement what is provided). 

In keeping with the artist’s wishes, photography of The Lightning Field and the cabin is prohibited. The Lightning Field is protected by copyright. 

Images for educational use may be requested by contacting the Rights and Reproductions department at Images of The Lightning Field may be published with written consent from Dia Art Foundation.

Please direct all inquiries regarding The Lightning Field not answered here to the following: 


Telephone: 505 898 3335

Post: P.O. Box 7416, Albuquerque, NM 87194


Walter De Maria

Walter De Maria was born in Albany, California, in 1935. He died in Los Angeles in 2013.

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Support The Lightning Field

The Lightning Field (1977), by the American sculptor Walter De Maria, is a work of Land Art situated in a remote area of the high desert of western New Mexico. Commissioned and maintained by Dia Art Foundation, The Lightning Field is recognized internationally as one of the late-twentieth century's most significant works of art and exemplifies Dia's commitment to the support of art projects whose nature and scale exceed the limits normally available within the traditional museum or gallery.

The cost of maintaining The Lightning Field and accommodating visits greatly exceeds visitor fees. Contributions toward the operating expenses of The Lightning Field are appreciated, and are fully tax-deductible.

Support The Lightning Field


Walter De Maria: The Lightning Field

Edited by Stephen Hoban, Alexis Lowry, and Jessica Morgan. Contributions by John Cliett, Walter De Maria, Robert Fosdick, and Jessica Morgan

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Photo: Don Stahl

The Lightning Field Postcard Set

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