Hello, my name is Lanny. Welcome to my article on Salvation Mountain. I was born in Indonesia and immigrated to the US in 2000. I have been living in San Francisco since. My job is a registered nurse. When I’m not working, I like to explore the world and see what is out there. This helps my growth.
I like to capture what I see with photography. After a friend told me that I should learn photography because I have a good eye, I started to practice more and improve my skills. I took on the challenge and it paid off!
Visiting Salvation Mountain in Southern California
What inspired me to visit Salvation Mountain was Instagram. I became fascinated by a picture of this colorful mountain and wanted to see it for myself. It so happened that a nurse friend of mine and I were looking for a getaway and we decided on Southern California. We made travel plans to visit Salvation Mountain as part of our itinerary. It did not disappoint!
Many Californians don’t even know about Salvation Mountain and I only stumbled across it because of Instagram. When I visited, I could see the mountain from afar. As I got closer, I was mesmerized by the beauty of its vibrant colors. It’s a man-made mountain, yet incredible and unique.
The late artist Leonard Knight built this mountain from scratch. He used discarded items such as tires, windows, car frames and many more things. Leonard dedicated his life to building this mountain “to spread God’s love”.
I loved walking around the different art forms and vantage points of the mountain. It was just amazing to learn how one person alone could build such a big mountain of art with discarded items. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we couldn’t see the inside or go to the top. Maybe next time!
My Favorite Memory from Salvation Mountain
I love driving, taking road trips and using the opportunity to see new places. To get to Salvation Mountain, I had to pass by Salton Sea and take a little detour. The scenery was gorgeous. On the way back, we were stopped at a checkpoint by Border Patrol. The officer asked us where we came from. The response from the officer became my favorite memory.
My friend and I answered in unison but differently. I said “San Francisco” while she said “Salvation Mountain.” Puzzled, the officer followed-up with, “so you drove all the way from San Francisco to Salvation Mountain?” And we blurted out, “yes!” The officer gave us an incredulous look like we were a pair of crazy chicks. I always smile when I think about that encounter.
Need to Know Before you Go
Salvation Mountain is located in a deserted area and there is not much around. I recommend staying near Palm Springs which is a popular area with many chic boutique hotels and Airbnbs. You can take a day trip from there to Salvation Mountain. You can also check out Indian Canyons.
With the exception of Salton Sea, I don’t think any other places around the mountain are worth visiting. However, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park are two popular places that are not far from there and worth a day trip each. I think basing yourself in Palm Springs is the best option. A couple of key tips to know before you visit Salvation Mountain:
- It’s free to visit but you can donate as an appreciation.
- Salvation Mountain is a deserted place far away from anywhere – so bring water, food, a hat, sunblock and sunglasses for protection.
- The area gets hot. I would recommend going in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is a little more tolerable.
- There is free road-side parking at the mountain.
- Enjoy the art!