Salvation Mountain

HikeSnobs rate this: 2thumb


Visited: November 2, 2013 & February 27, 2016

Description: As Barbara Boxer describes it, Salvation Mountain is “a unique and visionary sculpture… a national treasure… profoundly strange and beautifully accessible…”

Duration: 1-2 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Terrain: Dirt roads

Parking: Lot (33.254417, -115.473182)

Best time to go: It’s always a good time to turn to God ;P But seriously, anytime is a good time to visit.

Bring: Camera

Brief history:

Made from adobe, straw and thousands of gallons of lead-free paint, Salvation Mountain was created by Leonard Knight. The current Salvation Mountain is the second of its kind. The first one collapsed because it was extremely unstable. Knight saw it as a sign from God letting him know the mountain was unsafe. He began a second mountain and stated he had the chance to “do it with more smarts” this time. You can find more information here.

Knight passed away on February 10, 2014 and concern has been raised about the future of Salvation Mountain. Volunteers have been working to protect and maintain the site. Hopefully, this visionary environment lives on.

Before it became popular, we found Salvation Mountain during a trip to the Salton Sea. During a previous trip, we were able walk wherever we wanted. There’s a “yellow brick road” that you can follow. During our last visit, the volunteers hung out at the bottom of the hill and would yell at visitors to stay on the “yellow brick road.”

Back in 2013, Ricardo didn’t stick to it…

He is born again!

Back at the base of the mountain, if you head towards your right you’ll find pathways under the mountain. Don’t worry about it all collapsing on you… yet.


The paths lead you to little nooks with shrines. Filled with biblical verses and references, you see statements of love and Jesus throughout the area.


Just a few minutes east of Salvation Mountain are some water tanks (33.253156, -115.468337 and 33.249306, -115.468479) covered with interesting graffiti. 


We decided to drive there straight from behind Salvation Mountain instead of taking Telephone Road and Tank Road. Be careful, there are dips here where your car can get stuck or damaged. Luckily, we’re skilled drivers! And we had a rental car with full insurance so we didn’t really care 😀


If you need a restroom stop, it’s the perfect time to take a quick break! ;P


Visiting Salvation Mountain is a quick trip so definitely make plans to visit other sites around the area. See what else you can explore:

  • East Jesus: Just a 5 minute drive from Salvation Mountain, you’ll find East Jesus: a unique art community. Artists & musicians live, party and create art here. You’ll see everyday common objects recreated and reconstructed into uncommon art pieces.
  • Ladder Canyon: Slot Canyons with ladder obstacles in Palm Desert. If you get lost like us, you’ll might find yourself here instead.
  • Salton Sea: A popular escape for Los Angeles’s famous and wealthy in 50’s and 60’s. The salinity levels of the sea rose causing the fish and the wildlife to die off. Today you can find the post apocalyptic-like beach lined with a boneyard of dead fishes.
  • International Banana Museum: The largest and most”aPEELing” collection of bananas. Here you’ll find thousands of banana memorabilia and the most delicious banana milkshakes!!
    • Call ahead to make sure they will be open: 619 840 1429

@HikeSnobs Tips:

  • Bring your own lead-free paint to contribute to the artwork!

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave us a message below!

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