Salvation Mountain, Niland

#5 of 11 in Historic Sites in California Desert
Salvation Mountain is a visionary environment covering a hill in the Colorado Desert, north of Calipatria near Slab City, and several miles from the Salton Sea. It is in Imperial County, California.The artwork is made from adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of lead-free paint. Salvation Mountain was created by local resident Leonard Knight (1931–2014). It encompasses numerous murals and areas painted with Christian sayings and Bible verses, though its philosophy was built around the Sinner's Prayer.The Folk Art Society of America declared it "a folk art site worthy of preservation and protection" in the year 2000. In an address to the United States Congress on May 15, 2002, California Senator Barbara Boxer described it as "a unique and visionary sculpture... a national treasure... profoundly strange and beautifully accessible, and worthy of the international acclaim it receives".In December 2011, the 80-year-old Knight was placed in a long-term care facility in El Cajon for dementia. Leonard Knight died February 10, 2014, in El Cajon.Concern has been raised for the future of the site, which requires constant maintenance due to the harsh surrounding environment. Many visitors bring paint to donate to the project, and a group of volunteers has been working to protect and maintain the site. In 2012, a public charity, Salvation Mountain, Inc., was established to support the project.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
261 reviews
  • August 10, 2017
    Wow, the artist must have been so very dedicated to this work to have spent time in the extreme heat, and the extreme cold, completing this amazing, religious based artwork. Even getting out of the ai...  more »
  • August 10, 2017
    This beautiful, is something different and colorful. It makes you reflect. It is good to wear sneakers or comfortable shoes to climb the mountain. It is too much heat which do, since it is in place no shade and no trees.
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  • August 10, 2017
    Salvation mountain is a work of art from a man who was very religiously dedicated to Christianity. While he is no longer around, this site has caretakers to maintain his creation dedicated to God.  more »
  • April 28, 2017
    This is something unique and quirky to do, and provides a great photo opportunity. You can scurry up to Monument to the top and poke your head through the "O" in "GOD", but make sure to stay on the yellow painted trail. California Senator Barbara Boxer said it best when she described Salvation Monument as "a unique and visionary sculpture... a national treasure... profoundly strange and beautifully accessible, and worthy of the international acclaim it receives.” Enjoy!
  • June 22, 2017
    A quirky stop and must-see for a desert road trip. Respect the rules and stay on the yellow-brick road, this is an art piece and people take great care to keep it maintained. Makes a great photo op!
  • June 14, 2017
    Came here with my boyfriend on a morning to check out the place which is featured in many films and video games. It was nice going in the morning since it's way too hot in the days time from May to September. But for best lighting the sunset is the best time
  • June 21, 2017
    Must see n a visit to Palm Springs. An incredible testament to the power of people. Simple man power and dedication by Leonard Knight created this amazing place. If you go in summer like my wife and I did then just remember to go early to beat the heat. Also if you go make sure you are respectful. After all it is a religious place. Your Instagram post is not worth it.
  • February 22, 2017
    Awesome California Landmark with a great message as well. Be careful to respect this place or it won't last forever. My kids enjoyed coming here and I did too. FYI there is only one little outhouse here so try using the bathroom before you come.

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