Near the Salton Sea, in the middle of the Californian desert, you’ll find Salvation Mountain. A site you might know from the movie “Into the Wild” or the videogame “Grand Theft Auto V”. At this remote spot you’ll find a rich hippie culture, which gets very filmic because of the heat.
Salvation Mountain is Leonard Knight’s life’s work. Leonard Knight, like many other young American men, served in the US Army. Apparently, after his service god got through to him. Knight decided then and there that he would devote the rest of his life to God. And what better way to do that than to paint a mountain in the middle of the desert, right? So that’s exactly what he did. His first attempt failed actually, when his project collapsed. The current Salvation Mountain is therefore the second attempt. The artwork consists of adobe, straw and gallons of (lead-free) paint. It lies on the end of a long hill. Knight’s original plan was to paint the whole hill! But unfortunately, he passed away before he could finish his project. The part that you can visit today consists of thirty years of Knight’s hard work! Although Salvation Mountain lies in the middle of the desert, it’s very conveniently accessed by car. God bless America.
Near Salvation Mountain lies Slab City, a small hippie commune. Probably inspired by Knight, the residents live in trailers and spend their time creating the craziest art. Ask the caretaker at Salvation Mountain for directions. Just like Salvation Mountain, Slab City is a real must. Go ahead and take a look at East Jesus, a part of Slab City.
Hippies at Slab City
When you’re feeling like you could do with a relaxing little adventure, go to the canal near Slab City. Ask the caretaker at Salvation Mountain for some advice on this. You can drive your car to the canal. When you’re there, you’ll notice these stairs that go into the water. Drive a couple of stairs away from the drainage, you don’t want to end up there when you’re in the water! When you’re far enough away, enter the water using the stairs and enjoy the refreshing water. When you’re done, climb the stairs to exit the water. Again, ask the caretaker at Salvation Mountain for some advice on this, because this may not be legal at all times.
Salvation Mountain lies near Joshua Tree National Park and is a perfect stop on a road trip, for example from Los Angeles, Las Vegas or San Diego. Read our article on Joshua Tree National Park.