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Salvation Mountain, Niland

(4.5/5 based on 220+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Decided to head to Salvation Mountain after spending some time in Palm Springs. We headed out around 2pm it took us about 2.5 hrs to get there, with some traffic when passing through the small towns. ...  more »
  • My husband surprised me with a side trip to Salvation Mountain. I didn't even knew it existed but it is a very interesting and quirky attraction. It was started by a gentleman who took Jesus as his sa...  more »
  • One of the most unique experiences you could imagine in the Salton Sea area. Now recognized as a national folk art treasure, you will be amazed by the dedication of the creator of this artful oasis in...  more »
Google
  • It is an interesting piece of religious folk art and worth the drive to see. Please remember that it is a work of art and should be respected as such. Some of the art pieces are delicate (the flowers) and should not be stood on or touched. I saw the caretakers having to remind people of this repeatedly particularly children. It is not a jungle gym or a playground.
  • I was in awe the entire time spent at Salvation Mountain. I had recently watched Into the Wild and had some exposure to it. We were in the Salton Sea area and knew this was a must see. It didn't disappoint. There are so many areas tucked away in the various structures/vehicles such as bible verses, pictures, and trinkets visitors have left to pay homage. What an amazing individual to spend his life's work creating such a masterpiece. I have the utmost respect for him and the caretakers who now manage the property. Keeping his spirit alive so that generations to come can view and appreciate his legacy to all.
  • Salvation mountain was probably the coolest thing I've ever seen/done in my life. I got some good insta-gram pictures which is always a bonus. THe only faults to the place: it takes forever to get there because it is quite literally in the middle of no where- it kinda smells like urine, but I read that there is no running water near which puts two and two together- and slab city which is the area surrounding it is kinda surreal because it's a place for people to get off the grid or what not, very mad max-- But besides that it's quite a lovely and beautiful spot, but the hipsters and youths are starting to take it over, so be warned.
  • I won't be coming back other than to critique the art. The caretakers living in the trailer at the base of salvation mountain are rude and nosy. We arrived for the first time just before sunset and one of the caretakers who was doing repair work on the mountain did not waste any time kicking people out as soon as the sun set. There was a couple sitting by the cross that sits on top of salvation mountain and the caretaker told them salvation mountain is open from sunrise to sunset, so if you want to start walking down now. Also overheard him yelling at some kids saying they needed to be with an adult to be exploring salvation mountain and to stay off the flowers...which are not real but painted onto the floor. I told him this is supposed to be a religious place, to which he replied arrogantly," oh it's just beautiful isn't it?" My impression is that the people living at salvation mountain are unhappy about receiving many visitors daily because they live there. It's their home. So they are rude to people. I forgive the man for his nasty behavior, but why do they live there anyways?
  • inspiring and unique. a bit off the main road but worth the visit if you like weird art.