One of the things I really wanted to do while in Palm Springs was to visit Salvation Mountain. Ever since I heard about it I’ve always wanted to see it in person. If you’re thinking, “Salvation Mountain? What the heck is that? I’ve never heard of it.” You probably have, you just didn’t know it. It’s been featured a few times in mainstream media, like in a brief scene in the film “Into the Wild”, and even Kesha’s “Praying” video. So, what is it? It’s a super rad folk art piece that was created by a guy named Leonard Knight (1931-2014) after he had a spiritual awakening and wanted to spread his message of love with the world. Since 1989 he spent his days creating the man made mountain with cement, adobe clay, wood, trees, tires, hay, car parts, and a half a million gallons of latex paint. Sounds pretty amazing, right? So, on our second day we decided to venture out and see it!
It took about an hour to an hour and a half to get there from where we were staying. And the drive was pretty wild. The Salton Sea is HUGE. It seemed to go on for forever.
To get to Salvation Mountain you have to drive down a desolate two lane road and everything along the way is basically deserted desert town stuff and trailer parks. It’s pretty cool, but also kinda creepy and weird. Lil’ bit like “The Hills Have Eyes” vibes goin’ on for awhile there. Not gonna lie.
After a quick drive through a somewhat sketchy run down area, we were there!
The funny thing was as soon as we pulled up we noticed there was a low budget music video being filmed there. Luckily, they wrapped just as we were getting out of our car.
There’s a yellow path painted all throughout Salvation Mountain, and everywhere you look there’s signs telling you to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”. Pretty accurate reference since it is kind of like being in Oz! I think he did a really amazing job with this place. All I kept thinking was how this was like the ultimate fort you would dream up as a kid.
I think this is the “museum” part of the mountain. It’s like a little dome cave like thing. Kinda like a desert igloo.
Sadly because Leonard passed in 2014 the mountain isn’t being kept up as much as it was when he was alive (he actually lived here!), so there are some parts of it, like this part of the “yellow brick road” that are wearing down. Kind of a bummer, but there is a volunteer organization that’s up keeping it. You can check it out here.
This car 100% reminded me of being back at home in Kensington Market.
Overall the trip was pretty amazing. It’s definitely worth the drive. It’s really hard to capture it in pictures. I feel like it’s a place you definitely need to go see for yourself. It’s kind of mind-blowing and amazing that he just wanted to do this and did it. I think that’s the coolest part of the whole thing. I’d totally stop by here again if anyone ever wanted to venture out there with me!
Until next time.