Salvation Mountain (Near Salton Sea State Recreation Area)

Salvation Mountain is truly a unique inspirational place near the Salton Sea that Ashley and I had the chance to visit recently. Ashley and I had always wanted to visit Salvation Mountain since we first saw it featured on a re-run of California's Gold (with Huell Howser) and when we saw Salvation Mountain featured in the 2007 movie "Into the Wild", the movie based on the 1996 non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer about Christopher McCandless' travels. In that movie, McCandless met Leonard Knight, the creator of Salvation Mountain. Knight appears in a scene in the film as himself. Salvation Mountain is just outside of Slab City which Ashley and I briefly explored as well.  This place is a must visit because there is truly no other place like it on earth. For more pictures of Salvation Mountain make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Salvation Mountain: To get to Salvation Mountain from Los Angeles, take Interstate 10 to the 86S (just east of Indio.) Travel south (11 miles) to 66th Avenue (Hwy 195.) There is a big gas station and truck stop on the left. If you miss this turn, you'll end up on the wrong side of the Salton Sea. Turn left (east) and go about a ½ mile to Highway 111. Turn right (south) and go about 42 miles to Niland, California. Once in Niland California, Turn left (east) on Main Street (which eventually turns into Beal Road) and travel for a little over 3 miles. After you cross a series of train tracks, keep going a little farther and make sure to start looking to the East, you absolutely cannot miss it. There is no cost for parking at Salvation Mountain, however make sure to bring a cash donation to leave to help with the upkeep of Salvation Mountain.

Description of Trail: Salvation Mountain does not have any formal "hiking trails." This is a different type of review for Brian and Ashley's Hiking Blog. Salvation Mountain is roughly 50 feet tall and over 150 feet wide and any visit to Salvation Mountain, as far as walking is concern, is less than a quarter of a mile. While at Salvation Mounatin you can hike up to the top of Salvation Mountain utilizing the painted yellow brick road. The hike to the top of Salvation Mountain provides great views of the entire surrounding desert area. There are multiple side rooms and locations to explore inside Salvation Mountain as well.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I always wanted to visit Salvation Mountain after seeing the location featured on California's Gold and in the moving "Into the Wild".  On our recent January 2014 second anniversary trip to the Palm Springs area, we made sure to visit Salvation Mountain when we went to visit the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. We were amazed to see the number of people that were out visiting Salvation Mountain in January of 2014. This is truly a unique area and Leonard Knight's work has definitely made an impact on lives of many people.

Here is an expert taken from the official Salvation Mountain Website about Salvation Mountain: "Salvation Mountain is Leonard Knight's tribute to God and his gift to the world with its simple yet powerful message: "God Is Love." Leonard's passion has lovingly created this brilliant "outsider art " masterpiece resplendent with not only biblical and religious scripture such as the Lord's Prayer, John 3:16, and the Sinner's Prayer, but also including flowers, trees, waterfalls, suns, bluebirds, and many other fascinating and colorful objects. Salvation Mountain must be seen to be fully appreciated as those who have made the journey will attest. Its 50 foot height and 150 foot breadth is made totally of local adobe clay and donated paint and is truly unique in the United States and probably the world. From its Sea of Galilee at the bottom, to the big red heart in the middle, to the cross at the very top, the reoccurring theme of "Love" is everywhere at Salvation Mountain." For more information about Leonard Knight, click Here.

Sadly, Leonard Knight passed away on February 10, 2014 at the age of 82, just a month after we had the chance to visit Salvation Mountain.  For more information on his passing, the Los Angeles Times did a good article which can be found Here. Unfortunately, given Leonard Knight's passing, the future of Salvation Mountain might be in jeopardy (For a great article regarding the uncertainty of Salvation Mountain's future make sure to check out this News Article.) Preservation efforts have begun and a great way to stay up to date is through Salvation Mountain's Facebook Page which can be found Here.

Ashley and I really enjoyed visiting Salvation Mountain.  The conclusion that we have come to is there is no adequate way to truly explain what Salvation Mountain looks like, it is a place that needs to be seen! We would highly recommend a visit.

Rating: Elevation Gain: minimal. (Very Easy), Distance: less than 0.25 miles (Very Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: Less than 30 minutes.


Salvation Mountain (This Post)

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