The first time I dropped acid, I knew I wanted to do it again on the Fourth of July and ideally time the peak for when the fireworks streaked across the sky. This, of course, proved to be an excellent idea and a grand way to enjoy America's birthday. That said, you don't need to wait till summer to experience a psychedelic spectacle—several spots around the globe offer brilliantly colorful spots for vibrant shroom and acid experiences. You might ask, is doing psychedelics in these places safe? Fuck no! Your risks include everything from dangerous hikes to drug prohibition, and that's before you even drop the acid. For the most adventurous travelers, though, here are seven colorful spots for peak prismatic psychedelia.
Quebrada de Humahuaca
Jujuy Province, Argentina
Stretching 100 miles between two mountain ridges in northern Argentina, this UNESCO-honored ravine bursts with color at spots like the Painter's Palette and the Hill of Seven Colors, which most Humahuaca tours visit. Go a bit further, however, and you'll reach the less-visited Hornacal, known in English as the 14-Colored Mountain. You will likely need to rent a car, and yes, it'll likely be a stick shift, but this added hassle gives you better chances of a tourist-free trip on the hills across from the multi-colored mountain.
Lake Hillier, Australia
Australia's flamingo-pink lake is a nightmare to reach, and it might cost a pretty penny to get there, but ocean-adjacent Lake Hillier provides plenty of trippy color to enhance the peak. The lake is found on Middle Island as part of an archipelago off the southern coast on the western half of the country. Hillier, which is surprisingly not the only pink lake in Australia, gets its color from the water's high-salt content, algae and halobacteria. The water is safe for swimmers, and the salt concentration provides added buoyancy that's like floating on liquefied bubblegum. Don't mix acid and water without a supervisor, but this certainly sounds like a trip within a trip. For those who love pink, other options include the colorful waters of Lake Retba in Senegal or the pink flower fields on Shibazakura Hill in Japan that start blooming around 4/20.
Grand Prismatic Spring
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Trippin' hard is complicated around families in Yellowstone National Park, so it might be worth starting early before the crowds arrive, but the Grand Prismatic Spring is a kaleidoscope of peak-worthy colors. Now consider the stats: the world's third-largest hot spring is 121-feet deep, 370 feet in diameter and radiates with rings of green, yellow, orange and blue colors. The park's deepest hot spring looks like a tunnel that stretches right to the center of the earth.
Coyote Buttes, Arizona
The good news is that The Wave is not fully packed like some nature sites, but the bad news is that the park issues a limited number of day permits through a lottery system. If you can score a permit, head to the Utah/Arizona straddling Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and find the Instagram-adored Wave. The famous land formation consists of U-shaped linear depressions in the sandstone, with the two main geological troughs measuring about 120' long by 60' wide and 52' long by 7' wide. The Wave's mesmerizing mix of golden yellow, pearly white and red-brick colors evolve throughout the day just like an acid trip, but time limits and hiking difficulty might necessitate mild or microdosed levels of LSD. Of course, this spot would be so much cooler if Arizona had legalized recreational cannabis.
East Java, Indonesia
Hanging out in a volcano complex certainly increases your risk of a bad trip, but Ijen dazzles the eyes with a turquoise (and highly toxic) lake, gloriously colorful sunrises and sulphuric clouds that look like blue lava. Here's the catch: Reaching the crater involves strenuous hiking, ever-changing temps, the possible use of gas masks and multi-day camping. Likewise, someone needs to babysit the trippers, but the upside is a peak atop a peak set in a stunning location that's unlikely to have police. That said, be extra careful with any drugs in Indonesia because their laws make Jeff Sessions look like a hippie.
Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park
Linze and Sunan Counties, China
Comparable to the colorful hills of Quebrada de Humahuaca, the so-called "eye candy of Zhangye" looks more like a colorfully imagined painting than actual mountains and landforms. Movement of tectonic plates over millions of years helped create the shapes, while sandstone erosion and oxidation helped produce the vibrant rainbow colors. Several of the landforms claim UNESCO inscriptions. The trick, of course, will be getting acid in China.
Arusha Region, Tanzania
In the Gregory Rift between the Somali and Nubian tectonic plates is a shallow lake fed by mineral-rich hot springs and loaded with salt and soda. During the dry season, the cyanobacteria turns the water dark shades of red, pink and orange. The hot-water lake is also home to millions of flamingos, but most living beings steer clear of the water or risk being turned into stone. Well, not exactly stone, but the photo book Across the Ravaged Land shows birds and animals that risked the water, and the soda and salt content apparently caused them to calcify. This place is a trip even without acid, and travelers can stay at several campgrounds near the lake. Though not recommended on acid, the campgrounds are also a good base for trekking up the very active Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, known in English as the Mountain of God.
So yeah, you'll be able to say you saw God on acid.