Salvation Mountain is probably one of the most unusual places to visit in the deserts of Southern California. Literally a big mountain full of religious art using latex paint and a big imagination. This place is located in the city of Niland and created by artist Leonard Knight. If you take this trip from LA, you will be driving for at least three hours, so be prepared to take plenty of water and snacks. I would not recommend coming here during the summer because it gets extremely hot. Salvation Mountain is free and parking is available at the entrance. They are open year round and close at dusk.
First stop before hitting the mountain is Salton Sea (largest lake in California). If you haven’t been here, you will be in for a surprise. Literally everything here is dead. The birds and fish are extinct and buildings are abandoned. You will encounter dead fish and bird bones. The smell here is foul as well. Bombay Beach ia located here and use to be popular in the 1950s. The history of the Salton Sea is very interesting and you can read more about it on this link Salton Sea. Nobody is around this area so you can park anywhere. There is no traffic and I did not see one person when I came. Kind of gives off a creepy vibe. Below are some pics of the sea near Bombay Beach.
Below are pictures of all the dead fish near the water where the sand is covered in fish bones all over.
I have only been to one side of the sea. I haven’t really got to see the whole area and I’m sure there is more to see. Nonetheless, I was able to capture some amazing pictures before heading out to Salvation Mountain which is 30 minutes away. When you get close to the mountain you will see a sign to follow and will encounter bumpy dirt roads. There is someone living on the property in a trailer and they are always making sure no one is stepping or damaging the paint.
This place is free as I mentioned but you can always donate to preserve the art Donate – Salvation Mountain. Below are pictures I captured of the mountain.
The adventure doesn’t have to end here. While heading back to LA, there are many abandoned areas that you can stop and take pictures. Heading back from Salvation Mountain, you will encounter the border patrol. You will have to stop and say you are an American citizen. You do not need proof, they just ask you and they let you go on your way.
Another spot you will come cross while heading back is a palm tree farm. You are not able to go in because you will be trespassing. I did enter to take a few pics but don’t recommend it because it is illegal but hey who am I to say not to go in.
I will be coming back to this area because there is another spot I forgot to visit. It’s called East Jesus and it is an experimental art installation located in the middle of nowhere in Slab city. I will be doing a future post about this place but for now, you can check out the link East Jesus.