I’ve been dreaming about visiting Salvation Mountain for some time now, but I just never had the time to make the trek out. I’m going to be straight with you, it is a little bit of a journey. Even from Palm Springs, it’s about an hour and a half, if not a little further, to get to Salvation Mountain. You do pass by the Salton Sea on the way also so that’s like two great sites for the trip.
If you're going to be in Palm Springs, or just are up for a fun little road trip, I will tell you why it is worth the trek to visit Salvation Mountain!
A little background for you - Salvation Mountain is a man-made mountain that took artist Leonard Knight 28 years to build and paint. Yes, Leonard actually physically built this mountain, as well. He used a combination of things that included hay-bales, tires, car windows and even telephone poles to create this literal mountain that was then covered with cement and painted with bright patterns and religious statements. Leonard was able to create this piece of artwork by only donations.
It is now maintained by volunteers who tirelessly paint and repaint the mountain to keep its vibrant shades. If it wasn’t looked after by these selfless volunteers, the mountain would fade and eventually be just that, a mountain. We talked to one of the volunteers who had just repainted part of the yellow brick road the previous day. Surprisingly, with all of the foot traffic and weather, just one day later there was barely any evidence of it. It didn't even look yellow! These volunteers still survive off of generous donations from patrons.
I was so excited driving up to Salvation Mountain. Boy, is it a sight to see. It is larger than I thought it was going to be and way more colorful and bright than I expected. I think it’s important to note that, yes, it is a large religious monument. You can’t really escape that fact - I mean it does say God is Love front and center on the mountain. However, I think you can definitely still appreciate the handwork and beauty of it even if you’re not religious.
I think the sheer awe of the structure is what makes it so impressive. How could one man build a mountain with his bare hands? Also, how could one man keep at this for 28 years? To say it took determination is an understatement.
Don't miss this beautiful, colorful piece of art!
Yours Truly // Shannon