Visit Date: March 23, 2015
Have you been to Salvation Mountain?
The mountain is Leonard Knight's tribute to God and his gift to the world with its simple yet powerful message: "God Is Love." The mountain is made from adobe, bales of straw and thousands of gallons of paint. It stands some 50-feet tall and measures 150-feet across at its base and is covered with flowers, trees, waterfalls, bluebirds and scriptures. It is really something that has to be seen in person to fully appreciate.
I was able to visit the magic mountain on a recent trip to the Salton Sea. I had first learned of Salvation Mountain from an episode of Huell Howser's California Gold. And after finally visiting the place, I'll have to quote Huell and say, "it's amazing!" Click HERE to see the episode for yourself. It's entitled "Slab City," after the community of desert dwellers located right nearby.
To learn about the man behind Salvation Mountain and his unique story, click HERE to visit the official website.
There are a number of vehicles scattered about the parking area for Salvation Mountain, and they all have Bible verses painted on them. A couple of the trucks have home-made shelters built on their beds, providing a place to live inside.
This is Salvation Mountain. The Sea of Galilee is in front. You can follow the Yellow Brick Road up the right side of the mountain to climb to the top.
A bed of flowers.
On the right side of the mountain is another structure, built of straw bales, telephone poles, tree branches, adobe and lots of paint. This one you can walk inside of. However, if you take a left turn after walking through the pearly gates, there are a couple small alcoves or shrines where people have left messages and artwork talking about Salvation Mountain.
A right turn after passing through the gates will take you inside. This section appears to have been a work in progress, not completed before Leonard Knight's death.
A short video of the inside of the structure.
The Yellow Brick Road leads to the top of the 50-foot mountain. The steps could use a little tender loving care, as the paint is beginning to wear off in some spots, leaving the earth underneath open to the elements.
It almost looks like a slide going down the mountain, but visitors are requested to stay on the paths and not climb anywhere else on the mountain.
Looking behind and out towards the Chocolate Mountains from the top of Salvation Mountain. This area is known as "Slab City." It's an abandoned Marine base which is now home to many people. There's no rent, the land is free to live on. But there are no utilities or conveniences out there and with temperatures that can approach 120 degrees in the summer, it's not an hospitable place. The name Slab City is derived from the cement slabs left over from the Marine Base. The Chocolate Mountains in the distance are off-limits, as they are an actively used military weapons range.
You never know what you will find in the desert.