What Is the Story Behind Salvation Mountain?

We’ve discovered some interesting places on our adventures. But few are as fascinating as Salvation Mountain.

Visitors from all over the world come to experience this unique tourist attraction. As with any work of art, the beauty of this creation is in the eye of the beholder.

Whether you’re hoping for a religious experience or admiring a work of art, a trip to Salvation Mountain is worth considering.

Dive in and learn more about the history of this creation!

What is Redemption Mountain?

Salvation Mountain is a work of art made of mud, straw and half a million gallons of paint.

The man-made mountain is one of the big draws of Slab City, a remote and nearly lawless town in the California desert. The artwork has intentional religious undertones.

The purpose of this luminous, multi-colored mountain is to convey a message of hope found in God’s love. Its popularity has grown over the past four decades as it has been featured in movies, music videos, and more than 100,000 posts on Instagram.

Who created Salvation Mountain?

The creator of Salvation Mountain was Leonard Knight, a Vermont resident. He first came to Slab City in 1984, intending to stay only a week. However, he was inspired to create this work of art, and the mountain took shape over the next few years.

Many people don’t know that today’s Salvation Mountain is actually Salvation Mountain 2.0. This is because in 1989 a heavy rainstorm caused the original structure to collapse.

Knight was not discouraged by this, but took it as a divine sign that the mountain was not safe. When completed, the mountain was over a hundred meters wide and several stories high.

Sadly, Knight was taken to a long-term care facility in December 2011 at the age of 80. He visited Salvation Mountain one last time in May 2013 and passed away on February 10, 2014.

While Knight has passed away, Salvation Mountain lives on. A group of volunteers formed Salvation Mountain Inc. and are responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the giant work of art.

Is it still possible to visit Salvation Mountain?

If you’re interested in folk art, it’s hard to do better than Salvation Mountain.

The site is open to the public year-round from sunrise to sunset. However, the official website states that the museum is closed due to damage.

While some art museums require a donation, Salvation Mountain is free to visit. Located just off Beal Road in Calipatria, California, the mountain is an inspiring place to visit. Take time to admire the intricate details of this unique work.

Is it safe to visit Salvation Mountain?

While Slab City has a rather negative reputation for seedy activities and lack of law enforcement presence, Salvation Mountain is safe. As long as you behave respectfully and responsibly when visiting the artwork, you should have no problems.

However, the area is very remote. Make sure you have enough water and gas in your tank before visiting. There are not many facilities in the area, and the few nearby are quite expensive. Also, make sure you have enough food on hand.

You can climb the monument, but it is very fragile. Some sections of the mountain are occasionally closed while volunteers make necessary repairs.

The desert environment can be very harsh on the mountain and your skin. So protect yourself with sunscreen and sunglasses and keep your skin covered as much as possible.

Pro Tip: On your road trip, use the Roadside America app to find unique tourist areas along the way!

Tips for visiting Salvation Mountain

If you’re planning a trip to Salvation Mountain, we have some tips to help you make the most of your visit. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should keep in mind when visiting this epic work of art.

Plan your visit

If you are planning a visit in the summer, remember that it is very hot in the region during this time.

Temperatures in the triple digits are not uncommon and can be a bit overwhelming, especially for those sensitive to heat. Consider the weather when planning your trip.

Also, make sure you have the right supplies regardless of the season. Food, water and gasoline are hard to come by in this area. Make sure you always have enough supplies no matter when you come. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a very dangerous situation.

Respect the site

As with any work of art, you must respect the site. Keep pets on a leash and clean up after them.

In addition, you must keep the entire area as clean as possible. Do not alter the mountain in any way, especially by graffiti.

In general, you and everyone who visits Salvation Mountain must use good judgment. If you are wondering if you should do something, you probably shouldn’t. This helps keep you, others, and the art safe.

Take your time

To truly appreciate this work of art, take your time. One of the main reasons Salvation Mountain is so incredible is the intricate details Knight took the time to create.

Even after multiple visits to the mountain, guests always find something they missed or didn’t notice on previous visits. Since you don’t have to pay entrance fees and have no time restrictions, you can treat yourself to a change of pace.

Learn more about the history

Salvation Mountain is more than just an ordinary work of art; it is a story. Take the time to learn about the personal life of Leonard Knight and his other artworks. Learn more about Slab City and how the surrounding area is a unique art-loving community.

If you understand and know the history of the area, you can better appreciate the effort Knight and many others put into the site. It’s a story that may inspire you to create your own work of art for others to enjoy.

Please note: The next Superbloom is just around the corner! Here’s how you can safely experience the 2023 California Superbloom

Follow the rules

Stay away from restricted areas and follow all rules set by volunteers. Those who care about Salvation Mountain want your visit to be safe, for you and for the mountains. You are not an exception to the rules and must follow them.

Is Salvation Mountain worth it?

Salvation Mountain is an inspiring story about the realization of one man’s vision. It may not be the most accessible area, but it’s worth it, especially if you appreciate folk art.

Take the time to prepare for a visit to this area. You could find yourself in a dicey situation if you don’t have the right equipment. Take some common sense safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings; then you probably won’t have any problems.

Have you visited this unique work of art yet? Or are you planning to include Salvation Mountain in your future travel plans?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *