The location where the "Bliss" wallpaper for Windows XP was taken

Photo Location in Sonoma, California

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The location where Windows' "Bliss" wallpaper was taken

This is the location where the photograph for the iconic "Bliss" Windows XP wallpaper was taken.

It is situated on Highway 121 in Sonoma County, California, roughly 1.5 miles east of a small community called Schellville.

To find the exact location, you can use the coordinates that we have listed in the directions section below.

A man named Charles O'Rear snapped the photograph in January 1996 while he was driving westward along Highway 121 towards his girlfriend's house.

Highway 121
He was driving along this highway when he noticed the hill on his right.

That day, a storm had passed over northern California. Knowing that the weather conditions might provide him with a good photo opportunity, O'Rear took his camera with him and remained on the lookout for the perfect shot.

When he reached this section of the highway near Schellville, he noticed the bright green hill on his right and decided to pull over.

Aerial map of the Bliss wallpaper location
This aerial map shows the general location where Charles O'Rear (top left) stopped to take the photograph.

As he jumped out of his vehicle and grabbed his tripod, he had no way of knowing that he was about to take one of the most recognizable images in human history. Nor did the passersby who saw him standing on the side of the road.

Initially, O'Rear made it available online as a stock photo. However, in 2000, Microsoft contacted him and offered to buy all of the rights to his image for a six-figure sum.

The cost of buying the photo was so high that couriers refused to deliver the original film due to insurance reasons. Consequently, O'Rear had to fly to Microsoft's headquarters and hand-deliver it himself.

After buying the image, Microsoft named it "Bliss" and used it as the default wallpaper for Windows XP—a critically acclaimed operating system that sold 17 million copies in the first two months after its release.

Between 2001 and 2006, more than 400 million copies of Windows XP were sold.

This means that people all over the world have viewed O'Rear's photo billions of times.

Bliss wallpaper location

The address and the GPS coordinates for this location are as follows:


Highway 121, Sonoma, California, CA 95476, USA


To view directions on how to get there, you can use the Google Maps shortcut below:

Google Maps

GPS coordinates

The latitude and longitude coordinates for the site are:

38.248484, -122.410783


The hill in "Bliss" is on the northern side of the highway, about 250 yards east of the entrance to Ramal Road. The closest address is 3150 Highway 121, Sonoma. It is roughly 19 miles southeast of Santa Rosa.

Details about the general area

Sonoma County lies between Marin County and Mendocino County in northern California.


Photos of the site and other related images.

Bliss: Then and now

Bliss XP wallpaper location

The photograph for the "Bliss" wallpaper was taken in January 1996. The Google Street View image at the bottom is from April 2021—roughly 25 years later.

As you can see, the hill looks noticeably different these days due to the presence of vines.

Back in 1996, it was bare because the vines had recently been removed due to an infestation of insects called grape phylloxera, which feed on the roots and leaves.

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