Salvation Mountain • Niland, CA

This month, I kicked off my spring break in California with a little drive out to the desert, accompanied by my friend Christina and our lovely San Diego hostess and friend, Annalee.

Ever since I saw the movie (and read the book) Into The Wild, I wanted to visit the Salton Sea. This area of the desert is a photographer’s paradise, as many of the buildings and motels were built in the 1950s and for the most part have been abandoned.

Created by Leonard Knight in the 1980s, Salvation Mountain is tucked away along a dirt road in Niland, California, past a sign that reads “SLAB CITY - ALMOST THERE!” It has become recognized all over the world as a great work of folk art. The mountain stands about three stories tall, is made of adobe, and is coated in over 100,000 gallons of paint (and counting). 

This place is otherworldly, and incredibly beautiful. The passionate Leonard Knight’s presence was felt strongly throughout his colorful creation. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to visit such a picturesque place which I originally admired from the silver screen. 

“If somebody gave me $100,000 a week to move somewhere and live in a mansion and be a big shot, I’d refuse it. I want to be right here. It’s amazing, isn’t it?” -Leonard Knight (1931-2014)